Augmented reality, shortened to AR, is a technology that adds computer-generated content into a user’s view of the real world. AR blends interactive digital elements into real world environments. These computer-generated additions can appeal to many senses and include visuals (sight), auditory (sound), hepatic (touch), somatosensory (brain), and olfactory (smell) elements. These sensory elements can add to the natural environment or hide the natural environment. Some other words to describe AR include virtual reality, mixed reality, and computer-mediated reality.
You may be familiar with some forms of augmented reality already. For example, photo filters on Facebook and Snapchat, especially the ones that engage when you do a specific thing are considered AR. The photo filter where you get dog ears and then a dog tongue when you stick out your tongue is a type of AR. You are not really a dog but the altered reality adds these features and reacts to your movement.
Pokémon Go is another way to access AR. Players have the option to turn the camera on their device on so it looks like they are catching a Pokémon in the park or on Dad’s head as he’s washing dishes.
Can you think of other examples of augmented reality?
- Astronaut Scott Kelly used an AR-enabled dashboard to report his view from space back to Mission Control.
- The line you see on the screen to indicate the yardage needed to get a 1st down in a football game on TV is an early form of AR.
- Any movie that has cartoon elements inside a live action movie is also AR.