Augmented Reality

Updated Sept 29, 2020 · 4 min read

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a type of interactive experience that changes the physical world through imagery and content. It transforms one's view of the world by enhancing or masking their natural environment. AR has applications in education, entertainment, fashion, fitness, and medicine.

The Pokemon Go mobile game by Niantic is one application for augmented reality. It lets users view the real world on a mobile device while interweaving the gameplay. The immersive game sends users walking through the physical world in search of Pokemon.

Snapchat uses augmented reality to enhance their photo and video sharing application by enabling users to add glasses and other images on their face.

Comparison to virtual reality

Augmented reality alters a user’s ongoing perception without replacing it, while virtual reality (VR) completely replaces the user’s surroundings with a virtual environment. With virtual reality, the user is fully immersed in a simulation using computers and sensory devices.

For example, interior designers use augmented reality to superimpose furniture in a room to get a feel for how the furniture fits with what’s in the room. The same interior designers would use virtual reality to fully immerse themselves in a walkthrough of the interior of a well-designed room.

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