Augmented Reality, or AR as it is quickly becoming referred to in the tech space, is currently making quite a splash on the scene, yet has remarkably been within our reach for over 30 years. AR, a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image with our view of the real world using sound, video, graphics, or GPS, enhances the way we perceive reality.
Technically speaking, AR adds layers of digital information on top of physical, tangible items we see in the world around us. A Boeing researcher, Tom Caudell, first coined the term in 1990, referring to a version of the technology used by aircraft electricians. What makes the technology different today is that it can be used by anyone. Developers have the technology to create it and with a smart phone or tablet, we have the technology to use it.
AR is virtually everywhere; you just have to look. Sports coverage on TV, for example, is a form of AR. Slow motion and the virtual image on a TV screen of a first down line in football are older forms of AR that require much larger systems. Now, we can constantly be connected to the internet and have access to devices that fit in our hands, like the iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets with video capabilities. We can easily overlay information on top of a video or picture with just the click of a button.
The app world is a perfect example of where AR is growing and thriving. Whether it is used for applications, like Computer Science professor Steve Feiner and PhD candidate Steve Henderson’s AR project for the military, or used with apps for the sake of fashion, like Cassette Playa’s T-shirts at Paris Fashion Week, Augmented Reality is changing the way we visualize the world in front of us.
At Ninthlink, we’re having a lot of fun with AR. Our designers and developers are constantly researching and tinkering with the technology and we’re currently in the process of integrating AR into some of our projects. One of our clients, Qualcomm, the brains behind the Vuforia platform that enables best in class AR app experiences, is a perfect example of the way AR is escalating. You can check out more about Qualcomm’s Vuforia platform at vuforia.com