Augmented Reality is not a new concept, it has come a long way from science fiction films to a science-based reality. The oxford dictionary defines Augmented Reality as follows
A technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
The word Augmented comes from augmenting which means to add or enhance something. In the case of augmented reality, sound, 3D graphics, touch feedback etc. are added to the real world to enhance user experience¹.
“Augmented Reality is a variation of the virtual environment or more commonly known as virtual reality.”²
In Virtual Environment, a user is completely immersed into a virtual world and unable to see the real-world whereas augmented reality allows the user to see the real world and virtual objects suspended over it. It allows the virtual objects and the real objects co-exist in the same view. Milgram and Kishino in 1994 were the first persons who clearly formulated this taxonomy and presented the clean terminology of co-existence of virtual and real-world within Reality-Virtuality Continuum³.
The terminology of co-existence of the virtual and real-world within Reality-Virtuality Continuum by Milgram and Kishino³
Augmented Reality Vs Virtual Reality Vs Mixed Reality
Augmented Reality(AR) and Virtual Reality(VR) are two ways in which technology can change the way we look at the world today. Although they are very much similar to each other they are not at all the same term. Augmented Reality is defined as follows:
“An enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to add digital information to something”⁴
Whereas virtual reality is defined as
“The use of technology to create a simulated world”⁴
The main difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is that in VR a user is completely inside the virtual world, they do not know what goes in the real world whereas in AR the virtual objects are layered over the real-time objects. A very good example of AR is Pokémon Go or Snapchat lenses using your smartphone. A user can immerse him/her in virtual reality using VR devices such as HTC vibe, Oculus Rift etc. On combining experience of augmented reality with virtual reality, mixed reality experience is created. In mixed reality, the user can interact with the real world as well as virtual objects. It is a new concept and Microsoft HoloLens is a very good example of it⁵.
Introducing Microsoft HoloLens 2
: B. Bell, S. Feiner and T. Hollerer, “Information at a glance [augmented reality user interfaces],” in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 6–9, July-Aug. 2002. DOI:10.1109/MCG.2002.1016691
: A Survey of Augmented Reality by Ronald T. Azuma, Hughes Research Laboratories, In Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 6, 4 (August 1997), 355–385
: Paul Milgram. A taxonomy of mixed reality visual displays. 1994.
: M. Braitmaier and D. Kyriazis, “Virtual and Augmented Reality: Improved User Experience through a Service Oriented Infrastructure,” 2011 Third International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications, Athens, 2011, pp. 40–46. DOI: 10.1109/VS-GAMES.2011.12
: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AR, VR, AND MR?, The Franklin Institute, 2018, https://www.fi.edu/difference-between-ar-vr-and-mr