What is Augmented Reality Technology?
Augmented reality technology has stepped out science-fiction theories to science-based reality. Owing to the large investment of designers, there remain a barrier to work on it. But today everything has changed. Augmented reality technology is now available even in a mobile handset. That is now we can depend on augmented reality technology for all shapes and sizes of UX designers.
Augmented reality gives the clear-cut images of the real, physical world where things are enhanced by the computer-generated input. These inputs can be sound, video, graphics, GPS overlays and so on. In 1901, augmented reality concept came into light in a novel written by Frank L Baum in where a pair of electronic glasses mapped data into people. It was named as character marker. At present, augmented reality technology is a real thing and not an imaginary science-fiction concept.
History of Augmented Reality Technology
First successful achievement of Augmented reality technology was in 1957, by a cinematographer named Morton Heilig. He developed something called as Sensorama which can deliver visuals, sounds, vibration and smell to the viewer. It is not computer controlled technology. But it was the very first example of giving additional data to the viewers.
In 1968, a researcher, Ivan Sutherland whose was on his computer related research with the help of internet (the internet at its initial stage of development) developed a head-mounted display like a kind of window into a virtual world. Wide use and practice of this technology were not practical at that time.
It was in 1975, an American computer scientist named Myron Krueger invented the first virtual reality interface in the form of Video. This allowed the users to manipulate and interact with the virtual objects and to do the same in real-time.
In 1980, Steve Mann, a computer, and internet researcher developed the world’s first wearable computing.
In 1989, the word “virtual reality” was coined by Jaron Lanier and in 1990. It was Thomas P Caudell of Boeing coined the phrase “augmented reality”.
In 1992, in USAF Armstrong’s Research Lab the research scholar Louis Rosenberg developed the very first functioning AR system. This was called as Virtual Fixtures and was an incredibly complex and sophisticated robotic system which was invented to compensate for the lack of high-speed 3D graphics processing power. In this overlay of sensory information was possible on a workspace which improved improve human productivity.
The other notable milestones in augmented reality technology between here and today includes:
2000, Bruce Thomas developed an outdoor mobile AR game called ARQuake
2009, ARToolkit (a design tool) being made available in Adobe Flash
2013, Google announced its open beta of Google Glass (a project with mixed successes)
2015, Microsoft launched augmented reality support and their augmented reality headset HoloLens
Current Status of Augmented Reality Technology
With the development of technology, a good platform has been laid for Augmented reality. These can be implemented on their own or in conjunction with each other to create the most immersive projection augmented reality technology. It includes
General hardware components – General hardware components includes the processor, the display, the sensors and input devices. Typically a smartphone contains a processor, a display, accelerometers, GPS, camera, microphone and contains all the hardware required for an AR device.
Displays – Monitor is perfectly enough of displaying AR data. There are many other options like optical projection systems, head-mounted displays, eyeglasses, contact lenses, the HUD (heads up display), virtual retinal displays, EyeTap (a device which changes the rays of light captured from the environment and substitutes them with computer generated ones), Spatial Augmented Reality (SAR – which uses ordinary projection techniques as a substitute for a display of any kind) and handheld displays.
Sensors and input devices include – GPS, gyroscopes, accelerometers, compasses, RFID, wireless sensors, touch recognition, speech recognition, eye tracking, and peripherals.
Software –There is an Augmented Reality Markup Language (ARML) which is used to standardize XML grammar for virtual reality. There are several other software development kits (SDK) which also gives simple and favorable environments for AR development.
There are numerous applications available for AR Technology in nearly every industrial sector which includes
- Archaeology, Art, Architecture
- Commerce, Office
- Construction, Industrial Design
- Education, Translation
- Emergency Management, Disaster Recovery, Medical and Search and Rescue
- Games, Sports, Entertainment, Tourism
Future of Augmented Reality Technology
Mobile phones are now an integral part of our lives that they might as well be extensions of our bodies. As technology can be further integrated into our lives without being intrusive. It is fact that the augmented reality technology provides a wide range of opportunities to enhance user experiences beyond measuring scale.
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UX designers in their path of developing AR need to seriously consider the present experience, along with its issues so that all those can be much improved.
The future will surely in the hands of AR when it improves task efficiency or the quality of the output to the user and that is definitely a key challenge of the 21st century UX profession.