Augmented Reality and Mobile Technologies

Augmented Reality and Mobile Technologies

Grant Potter (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-511-7.ch012


Unlike Virtual Reality (VR) that attempts to replace the perception of an immediate environment with an artificial one, Augmented Reality (AR) applications aim to enhance a person’s perception of their immediate environment. A blend of both the virtual and the real, AR application interfaces on mobile devices display information that is dependent on users’ time and location. AR applications are not necessarily an entirely new technology and have been emerging in various sectors over the past 5 years. For example, in aviation, AR in the form of ‘heads-up-displays’ has been used to display important data to pilots for decades. As mobile devices diversify in their speed, power consumption needs, network connectivity, and locative functions, developers are able to port AR applications to next generation mobile handsets, opening a wide range of utility and potential across public and private sectors.
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Augmented reality (AR) is an emergent field of computer research developing hardware and software capable of blending situated, real world experience with computer generated data. To date, most AR research involves integrating processed live video imagery which is “augmented” through the addition of graphics and textual information. Advanced research includes the use of pattern recognition via digital optics, motion tracking, and the generation of controlled environments via sensors.

Figure 1.

Technologies employed by AR


AR is generally aligned opposite of VR such that rather than attempting to immerse a user into a entirely computer generated environment, the goal of AR is to augment a user's immediate environment with information access and management capabilities. Augmented reality is considered a specific element of the more general concept of computer mediated reality (Med-R). MR pursues the development of technologies that effectively filter a users' vision of their immediate environment through digital overlays on a display placed within a users’ field of view. AR applications growing in popularity spurred by the rapid developments in personal mobile technologies offer placement of virtual elements in digital overlays and are more augmentations than direct mediations of users' environmental experience. One of the key characteristics of AR is the manner in which a users' locus of interaction is no longer limited to a specific zone of influence, but also encompasses a user's immediate and extended environment. Interactivity is not defined as a screen to face connection, but rather a more fluid dynamic between a user, environmental feedbacks, surrounding objects and spaces, thereby facilitating access to information flows that are no longer exclusively a directive and intentional act.

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