What Is Augmented Reality? The Complete Guide

What Is Augmented Reality

Each year, the business research and advising giant Gartner releases a graph they call the Hype Cycle. This line chart signifies which emerging technologies are going to make the biggest splash in the upcoming months.

On 2020’s Hype Cycle chart, though, one surprising technology was missing: augmented reality (AR). In fact, AR reached a maturity too high for the Hype Cycle a while ago—the last time it appeared was in 2018. That means this technology is no longer a dream, it’s a reality we can use in our everyday lives.

What is augmented reality and what is its place in the world today? Read on to find out more about this amazing technology.

What Is Augmented Reality?

The simple definition of augmented reality has three parts. Every AR software program includes:

  1. A combination of virtual components and the real world
  2. Accurate 3D modeling of real and digital objects
  3. Interaction in real-time

To use augmented reality, you need some type of device with a camera—most often a specialized headset or your smartphone. The camera captures your surroundings and adds animations on top of it. To users, it looks like the animation is part of the real world (think Pokemon Go).

What Is Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality?

If you’re familiar with another technology that emerged around the same time, you might be asking, “What is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?”

While AR and VR do have some similarities, they’re very different beasts. In virtual reality, your entire line of sight comes from an animated game or landscape—there’s no view of the outside world. In augmented reality, the digital images are overlaid on top of what you’re physically seeing in front of you.

Real-World Uses for Augmented Reality

Anyone can use their iPhone or Android device to experience a taste of augmented reality. Games like Pokemon Go, Temple Treasure Hunt, and Zombies, Go! let you bring their worlds to life within your own.

AR isn’t only for fun and games, though—it’s an indispensable part of today’s professional world. Some of the industries that use augmented reality include:

  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Architecture
  • Archaeology
  • Air Force pilots
  • City planning and design
  • Fine arts
  • Entertainment
  • Healthcare training
  • Tourism and travel
  • Fitness
  • Advertising and business

Even workers in a warehouse can use AR to keep track of where items are located and their respective delivery times. There’s almost no industry where AR can’t make the work easier or more efficient.

Does Augmented Reality Have a Place in Your Life?

AR is just as fun for everyday people to play around with as it is useful for Air Force pilots and archaeologists. Now if your friends ask you, “what is augmented reality,” you’ll be able to answer them with the facts you learned in this article.

If you still have questions like “what is needed for augmented reality?” or “what is augmented reality on iPhone?” you’re in the right place. Keep reading through the other articles on our site for more on this and other innovative technologies.

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About the Author: Amanda Byers

Amanda Byers is a graduate of Columbia, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Zubuz’s entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Buzz worthy.