Augmented Reality - Today’s uses

Augmented Reality - Today’s uses

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Introduction 

Augmented reality (AR) is one of the current trending technologies, that adds information to the real world by the appearance of digital content such as navigation, 3D data, and videos in the real world when viewed through a smartphone or AR glass. AR is currently used for games and events in the entertainment field, for surgery planning and patient treatment and helps explain complex medical situations to patients and their relatives, for improving operational efficiency and productivity in the industrial field, and for corporate advertising, promotion, and sales promotion in the business field as well. It offers a new approach in many fields due to its wide range.

AR is one of the subclasses of Mixed Reality (MR). Which refers to (1) Augmented Reality (AR), (2) Virtual Reality (VR), (3) Telepresence and many other related areas. Computer generated 3D environments that allow the user to enter and interact with artificial environments are referred to as Virtual Reality (VR). It leads to a real-world experience and also will help to create difficult scenarios. Telepresence aims to achieve the illusion of physical presents in a remote area. It is a system in which the operator receives sufficient information about the task environment, feels the physical presents at a remote site. While designing an AR system we have to consider three main aspects

  1. Registration in 3D
  2. Combination of real and virtual world
  3. Real time interaction.

Other than the three mentioned areas we need to consider another important factor that is portability. Due to system limitation the user may not be able to explore/go around much in detail. Thus, the portability becomes an issue.

Components of AR

The three main components of AR are

  1. Display
  2. Scene Generator 
  3. Tracking system

Display

Based on the type we can classify them into four categories


  1. Optical see-through Head Mounted Device
  2. Video see-through Head Mounted Device
  3. Virtual Retinal Systems
  4. Monitor Based 
  5. Projection Displays
Optical see-through Head Mounted Device

It uses a transparent Head Mounted Display in front of the user’s eye to show the virtual world. It enables the user to see the real and the virtual world at the same time.

Example of optical see through Head mounted Device is The MIT image Guided Surgery.

Video see through Head Mounted System

It uses an opaque Head Mounted System to display merged video of the Virtual world and view from the camera on the Head Mounted Device. It’s a little more complex than optical see through systems because we need to fix the camera on position. 

 
Virtual Retinal Systems

The Virtual Retinal Display (VRD) was invented by Human Interfaces Technology Lab (HIT) in 1991. The aim of the design was to produce full colour, high resolution, high brightness, wide field of view and low-cost virtual display. The area of applications of this technology are in medical and military areas.

 
Monitor Based AR

Monitor Based AR is made up of conventional display devices such as handheld display or even a monitor. However, it’s the simplest setup it eliminates all the issues with the Head Mounted Devices, it also uses to merge the video streams. The application includes the placing of advertising logos into various broadcasts.

 
Projection Displays

Projection Displays Based AR uses real world objects as the projection surface for the virtual environment. The project-based AR is well suited for the multiple user situations. The applications of the project-based AR includes industrial assembly product visualization etc.

Scene Generator

The role of the scene generator in AR is the rendering of the screen. But in AR the rendering process is not a big challenge because only a few virtual objects have to be drawn in the scene and it may not look like a real-world entity.

Tracking system

This is one of the most important parts of the AR, because of the registration problem. The object in both the real and virtual world must align properly. Otherwise, the coexistence of the two worlds (Real world and Virtual world) existence will be compromised. In practice, the registration needs high accuracy, especially in the medical field.

How AR Works

Augmented reality (AR) adds digital content to a live camera feed, that makes you feel like you are part of the world around you. Basically, location information in AR is judged from two points: the surrounding environment and your location. By identifying the exact location, you can set the position that AR displays. There are two main technologies for displaying AR in a specific location.

Vision Based AR

Vision based AR displays information by recognizing digital information using technologies related to image recognition and space recognition acquired from the camera. Vision based AR is a type of AR technology that analyses AR markers acquired from a camera and displays digital information. This method is suitable for indoor and paper use. Vision-based AR can be divided into marker type and markerless type.

Marker based AR looks for a specific image pattern that superimposes the virtual object such as QR code, or an ordinary photo or image on top of it. The shape used for the marker is a square with a black border. The marker is detected in the black frame, and the marker is identified by the pattern inside the frame. Colour or white can be used for the pattern in the black frame.

Markerless AR places virtual 3D objects in the physical environment based on the actual characteristics of the environment by scanning the surrounding environment. It allows you to try different combinations of objects, styles and location. Markerless AR experiences are possible because of advances in cameras, sensors, processors, and algorithms that are able to accurately detect and map the real world. 

Location-based AR

Location-based AR refers to a method of displaying information on the screen based on acquired location information such as GPS. AR content will appear when you hold your smartphone or tablet over the specified area. It is suitable for outdoor use where it is difficult to add an AR marker, or for planning to display multiple ARs in a wide range.  Location-based AR is increasingly being used in tour-type game content and tourism apps.

Applications

Augmented reality has a wide range of applications in various fields including education, healthcare, entertainment, manufacturing and engineering.   

Healthcare

Augmented reality is one of the most promising technologies in the digital healthcare field, now it is used in medical training, patient awareness, and surgery planning. Its applications range from vein visualization for injection to performing highly delicate surgery. With AR-enabled tools, this information can be applied more effectively than ever before. Healthcare workers need to learn a lot about anatomy and how the body works. AR applications give learners the ability to visualize and interact with 3D representations of bodies. 

AccuVein for example projects a vein map of a patient into their skin, which eliminates the difficulty to find a vein for injection.

Retail

In the physical retail environment, shoppers use more smartphones than ever before to compare prices or look for more information about the products they are browsing. Harley-Davidson, a world-renowned motorcycle brand, is a prime example of how shoppers can make the most of this trend by developing an AR app that can be used in store. Users can view a motorcycle they want to buy in the showroom and customize it with the app to see the colors and features they like.

Tourism Industry

In recent years, the tourism industry has been positively affected by the technology industry, from review sites like TripAdvisor to informative websites like Lonely Planet. AR offers a great opportunity for travel brands and agents to give tourists a more in-depth experience before traveling. Imagine taking a virtual “walkabout” Australia in AR glasses before booking a ticket to Sydney, or a leisurely stroll around Paris to see museums or cafes you want to visit. AR promises to make sales trips, excursions, and vacations much easier in the future.

Manufacturing, Maintenance and Repair

Augmented reality (AR) can be used to integrate virtual solutions for instant visualization of critical data related to technical metrics. Thus, this technology offers the ability to select a suitable technique and diagnose potential factors with a high probability of success. This is the best way to make an investment in digitizing content in this field.

Augmented Reality (AR) permits users to enhance their field of view with real time digital information. It allows users to obtain any information about an asset or step by step instructions on how to repair an asset.

Entertainment

Augmented reality (AR) has the potential to expand the screen area beyond the rigid frames of televisions. Chroma key image synthesis from images A and B makes a particular dimension of image B transparent and reflects image A in it, and the chroma key which can synchronize an object with the desired background realizes an effect that the object seems to exist in that background. By merging virtual information with real information in this process and applying AR technology to increase information delivery, an inexpensive and convenient HD virtual studio can be applied.

For example, whenever you see a weather report, the reporter stands in front of a changing weather map, but he stands in front of a green screen, this real image is augmented with the computer-generated maps.

Engineering Design

In engineering design, engineers can show their clients the prototype of the design, allowing the client to navigate through the prototype they have built and made corrections if necessary. This will lead to greater satisfaction for the client and the engineer.

Classroom Education

While technology such as tablets has become widespread in many schools and classrooms, teachers and educators are now actively using AR to improve the learning experience of students. Aurasma is one of the famous classroom apps, where students can view their classes on a smartphone or tablet for a richer learning environment. Students studying astronomy can see a complete map of the solar system, or those in a music class might be able to see musical notes in real time as they learn to play an instrument.

Conclusion 

In recent years, AR (Augmented Reality) technology has attracted extensive attention from researchers. Driven by computer vision and artificial intelligence technology, AR technology has shown a strong momentum of development. Both the display equipment performance, tracking registration accuracy and the nature of human-computer interaction have been greatly improved. However, it can be seen that there are still many problems to be solved in augmented reality technology. In the case of tracking registration technology, the current tracking registration technology can only make use of a small amount of information in the scene, such as feature point information, which leads to an incomplete understanding of the system to the environment. In terms of display technology, the size and price of augmented reality glasses that can provide users with a high sense of submergence cannot meet the demand of the public. In the case of interaction mode, the more natural and multi-user AR interaction technology remains to be studied.

For more details on the topic go to Innovature’s Health care page.

Innovature's experienced Software engineer with an excellent years of experiences and also very enthusiastic to learn and adapt new technology. Skilled in Java, Spring, Angular, Cakephp, DevOps tools, and Cloud Technologies

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