What is Augmented Reality and What Can It Be Used For?

When browsing online or watching the news, you are more than likely to at least hear mention of virtual reality. Most people have heard of, or even have used some sort of virtual reality before. What people are less likely to have heard of is augmented reality. Many people have never even heard of augmented reality. Even among those who have heard of it, not everyone knows what it is or how it works. Some people assume that it is just another name for virtual reality, it is not.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is an enhanced version of reality that combines real life with computer generated images. AR generates an image over the users view of the real word, changing the way they perceive it. This is different from virtual reality, that generates a completely new reality for the user. (Click here to learn more about virtual reality)

This can be done by using a program on your phone that then uses your phone’s camera to display what is actually there, but then uses software to add additional pieces of information. AR is also accessible through the use of AR goggles, similar to those used for virtual reality.


What is Augmented Reality good for?

So you may be wondering what the augmented reality can actually be used for, since it appears to be a less immersive version of virtual reality. But the fact that AR allows you to remain connected to the real world, while adding some virtual substance means it has great potential.

One of the most potential uses of AR is among learning. Allowing users to view information and steps of a procedure in real time.  This could be used for something as simple as putting together furniture where you can see exactly where each piece is meant to go, to as complex as assisting during surgery.

Currently one of the biggest uses of augmented reality is in the entertainment industry. Most people remember the Pokemon GO craze that started in 2016, Pokemon GO is a great example of AR. It allowed the users to see Pokemon in the real world through their mobile iPhone’s or android phones.

Another great use for AR is a mix entertainment and learning.  AR can provide people with information about what they are currently looking at. For example, some museums may offer apps that a visitor could download, that allowed them to use their phone to provide information about certain displays by pointing their camera at it.

Augmented reality is a completely different entity from virtual reality, but has just as much potential. While it may lack the ability to fully immerse you that VR can offer, the ability to enhance reality is just as promising.

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