Introduction to Augmented Reality

POSTED BY   Abraham Coetzee
17th March 2016

Augmented Reality (AR), also referred to as hybrid or Mixed Reality (MR), is when physical reality is supplemented with digital content. A camera sees physical reality as a series of 2D photos. Computer vision algorithms then ‘make sense’ of those photos, so that digital content can be made to appear to interact with the real world. The uptake of AR will result in a complete paradigm shift as our physical and digital lives merge into one, which really excites us!

The camera can be a webcam, a tablet or mobile phone camera, or a dedicated AR device such as Microsoft’s Hololens or the Meta 2 which are both being released this year. Unfortunately these headsets are still too expensive for them to become ubiquitous consumer devices anytime soon, but the magic of AR can already be experienced by anyone with an average smartphone. As a basic demonstration, here is a viking, one of our low-polygon-count game characters, posing on our business card, as seen through a phone camera:

Ideas for AR applications range from entertainment such as games, head-up displays (HUDs) that allow you to see through solid objects such as a vehicle bonnet or door, remote assistance from technicians, and much, much more. Hyundai’s AR replacement of the vehicle owner’s instruction manual is another excellent example. And take a look at the Hololens video at the top of this post.

AR applications are only limited by our collective imagination. If you are interested in Augmented Reality or have an idea for an AR app in mind, be sure to get hold of us.

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Abraham Coetzee

Abraham Coetzee

Abraham is a playful, puzzle-loving philomath. Apart from creative applications of technology at Sozo Labs, he also pursues permaculture-based computational sustainability, and playful environments for constructionist learning. He has a degree in theoretical physics and a master's degree in computer science.

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