According to one of the most popular dictionaries around the verb “augment” means “to add something to (somethinga) in order to improve or complete it”. Augmented reality is created by adding something to the real world. It is an escalated form of the real world where the escalation is done by image processing. Snapchat is an extreme and an immanent example of augmented reality.
Whereas in case of virtual reality the environment the user is seeing is created from scratch. The word virtual means almost near to something described or shown. It is a very close imitation of reality. There is a very much visible borderline between virtual reality and the real world you are experiencing at the moment you are experiencing to date.
The preliminary idea of augmented reality is that it aims at the superimposition of computer-aided graphics with the real world you are in at the moment. You might have this experience already with televisions but those effects were not good enough to be called augmented reality. The researcher in this field is targeting to create an augmented reality from the images the system gets and creating a reality for the perspective of individual users in real time.
How Augmented Reality Actually Works
Most of the augmented reality gadgets are see-through goggles or glasses. Users see the system generated graphics and the light of the real world via this gadget. Most of the augmented reality gadgets don’t need a separate processing unit to operate. There is an enormous amount of output device for augmented reality starting from your handheld cell phone to billboard on the roadside. Sony has already developed and patented a lens which features an augmented reality.
Integral Components of Augmented Reality Gadgets
Now that we have had the basic idea of this developing technology let’s get into the internal architecture of this
- Sensors: There are a bunch of sensors on this type of gadget for pretty obvious reasons. A lot of time there is thermistor to sense the temperature around the user. Again, sometimes there is Global positioning system to locate the user to give information about his surroundings. These sensors are usually on the outside. The data perceived by the sensors is transmitted to other peripherals for processing. Some contain an accelerometer to determine the speed at which the user is moving, some have gyroscope to measure the tilt of the device again some have a magnetometer to function as a compass.
- Camera: Camera for pretty obvious reason is on the outside. This is used to get a graphical data about the users surrounding. This data goes through image processing to spot the location of the physical objects of the users surrounding. By means of this data, the graphical output is determined. Besides this, there is also depth-sensing cameras in some gadgets.
- Projectors: A category of augmented reality gadgets has a projector to diminish the importance of screen real estate. It enables any surface to serve the purpose of a monitor. Then you will not feel the need to get your tab to play some games, you can get it done on a table top. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an even surface like a table top. It can even be the palm of your hand or even somebody’s face. The cameras come into play to determine the output in this case.
- Processors: These devices are somewhat comparable to a mini-supercomputer compressed into wearable devices due to the blessings of advancing technology. This has the same basic components every other computer out there. It hosts CPU, GPU, RAM, flash memory etc. For the stuff, this thing has to do it needs a fast working CPU and also a GPU.
Augmented Reality in your day to day Apps
Many augmented reality features are available in your everyday Apps. There is currently an app going by the name ‘Layar’. What the augmented reality component of the app does is, if you hold the camera of your cell phone pointing at a building.
Augmented Reality inDefense
As usual, the U.S. military has a head start in this field as well. The United States military has purchased gadgets from a Canadian Company with features of Augmented Reality. It is a head-mounted device much like the virtual reality gadgets out there. It enables the soldier scouting in an enemy territory to see the blueprint of the area.
Everything comes with their pros and cons. Augmented reality might feel the need for a tour guide in the very recent future. Engineers working on projects might be able to leave notes for their teammates to understand what has been done to the projects. Just imagine that you just arrived in a completely geographical position and you get to understand every single thing that’s around.
There are obvious flaws in everything. Social scientists believe that augmented reality might elevate internet addiction and take people away from the personal touch of others. People will get to know a lot about a person just by pointing their phone camera at them which might not be all that well all the time.
The origin of Virtual Reality Dates back to the 1950s. Virtual reality is a completely computer simulated environment where nothing is augmented to the reality and created. It houses various sensors to understand the tilt of the device, acceleration of the device and so on. This is the next big thing. It gives a sense of physical presence in the virtual world. The users get to roam around in this, just like I said it gives a presentation of a being to the user. Some Virtual reality systems went as far as to include a haptic system i.e. giving a sense of touch or vibration to the user this is done using force feedback.
Virtual Reality Devices
All modern virtual reality devices use the technologies of a standard smartphone, there are gyroscopes, stereoscopes for display purpose. And also houses the mandatory processing unit. These components enable the user to access this access these technologies at a limited price. Some of the VR devices in the market are Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift and some are on their way to the market e.g. HTC Vive and SONY’s Morpheus.
Virtual reality got a big hit in the gaming arena. PlayStation VR is one of them. The inputs are taken through multimodal devices such as the wired gloves, omnidirectional treadmill, and countless other devices. Gamers are always looking for a presence in the virtual world quite different from reality.
Virtual Reality in Entertainment
Cinema production companies such as FOX Searchlight Pictures and Skyboundhas started to create virtual reality cinemas. Virtual reality entered the world of sports broadcast in late 2016. The title of first sports broadcast was taken by FOX Sports. These broadcasts only offered 180 degrees rotation.
Social Scientists and Virtual Reality
Social scientists are using virtual reality in their research. They are experimenting with interactions in a controlled environment. Virtual Reality facilitates a person to embody an avatar this gives a different feeling to a person. This got the interest of many researchers.
Virtual Reality in Healthcare
Virtual Reality enables med students to practice surgery without actually doing surgery. This reduces unwanted accidents and even mortality rate to some degree.
Virtual Reality in Education
Virtual Reality enables students to develop real-world skills without going through the after effect of failure. Japan has an online school where classes are conducted through virtual reality. This enable student get a real feeling of the presence of the class without the having to travel hundreds of miles for it.
Virtual Reality in Military
Virtual reality is saving millions of dollars and hundreds of lives in the military. The military is using virtual reality for their training. Flight simulation has helped the military a great deal. Pilots are flying planes without actually flying planes, crashing without actually crashing and shooting missiles without actually shooting this is saving millions of dollars.
Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality
In virtual reality, everything the user sees is rendered by the system whereas in the augmented reality some graphics are augmented to the real images of the reality. The sole purpose of the creation of the two of them differs to great extent. The objectives of each of them are almost the opposite of the another.
Virtual reality has its very own reality created from the core. It is able to give sensation to the user which the augmented reality will be unable to do. The output devices of augmented reality are usually head mounted devices enabling to take the user to the virtual world and also enables the users to navigate in that reality.
The hardware components for utilizing the technologies is almost the same.
Both of these techs were a fantasy for many for so long. Now that it has come to reality it holds an immense potential to take over the industry. In the recent past, it was thought to be an impossible feat to achieve.
Augmented reality is augmenting i.e. adding something to the already present reality and presenting it to the users whereas in case of virtual reality there is no augmenting everything is created from the core. Both of these have a wide range of similarities and dissimilarities but their main objective is completely different.
Augmented Reality works through many see-through devices. Augmented Reality is used in many day-to-day apps. The integral components of augmented reality devices are processors, projectors, camera and various sensors. Augmented reality has huge application in defense and surgical procedures i.e. health care. Virtual Reality has been brought to reality through many virtual reality devices. Virtual Reality has application in Gaming, Entertainment, research of Social Scientists, Healthcare, Education, and Military.