Augmented Reality: Reality Gets Better Essay

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AUGMENTED REALITY: REALITY GETS BETTER Many of us are familiar with the concept of virtual reality, either from films like Avatar and The Matrix, or from science fiction novels and video games. Virtual reality is a computer-generated, interactive, three-dimensional environment in which people become immersed. But in the past few years, a new spin on virtual reality known as augmented reality has emerged as a major focus of many companies’ marketing efforts. More than just science fiction, augmented reality is an exciting new way of creating richer, more interactive experiences with users and future customers. Augmented reality differs from traditional virtual reality because users of augmented reality (also called AR) tools maintain a presence in the real world. In virtual reality, users are completely immersed in a computer-generated environment, and often use head-mounted displays that facilitate the immersion and eliminate any interference from the real world. Augmented reality mixes real-life images with graphics or other effects and can use any of three major display techniques—headmounteddisplays, just as with virtual reality, spatial displays, which display graphical information on physical objects, and handheld displays. Almost everyone has already encountered some form of AR technology. Sports fans are familiar with the yellow first-down markers shown on televised football games, or the special markings denoting the location and direction of hockey pucks in hockey games. These are examples of augmented reality. Other common usages of AR include medical procedures like image-guided surgery, where data acquired from computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans or from ultrasound imaging are superimposed on the patient in the operating room. Other industries where AR has caught on include military training, engineering design,

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