Augmented Reality(AR) — moving to another level!

Augmented reality or AR! Heard of it?  Is it related to virtual reality? No idea? Lets see….

Before trying to understand what is augmented reality, First of all, let me explain you what it’s root words stand for i.e. augment and reality. Augment as per Oxford dictionaries means to make (something) greater by adding (anything) to it or to increase and reality  pretty much is a self-explanatory term.

From the above mentions, even a person from a non-technical background can easily understand that Augmented reality means to “add something to the real world to make it better or more illustrious“.

Technically, Augmented Reality (AR) is a real-time view of a real-world environment whose “elements” are augmented by machine enhanced effects such as video, sound or location oriented data. In virtual reality, machines simulate a complete graphical environment using a VR headset which cover entire eyes in contrast to AR where changes are made in the existing real-time ambience using transparent smartglass like in Microsoft HoloLens.

Hardware used in AR:

AR utilizes a processor, a display, few sensors and input devices. Smartphones and tablets have camera and common sensors like accelerometer, GPS and compass which makes them suitable AR platforms.

Software and Algorithms used in AR:

The software uses processes like image registration and other methods of computer vision which are largely related to video tracking.

The two basic steps used by the softwares are:

  • The first step involves detection of interest points, fiducial markers or optical flow in the camera images. It helps in feature detection, corner detection, edge detection with the help of image processing methods.

A fiducial marker or fiducial is an object placed in the field of view of an imaging system which appears in the image produced to be as a point of reference or a measure.

  • The second step restores a real world coordinate system from the data fetched from the first step using the features like fiducials.

Since we have developed our basic understanding of augmented reality,now we will try to look at some common everyday example of augmented reality.

Snapchat introducing youth to an AR-like experience:

The simplest and closest example today we have for augmented reality is Snapchat, a social media android app which uses  lenses or filters to add real-time effects to a picture or video. MSQRD is also an example for such a simple augmented reality experience

In this picture Snapchat uses software and algorithms to detect the face of the person(element). Consequently, different features like a distorted mouth or nerdy spectacles are added to the element.

Picture credits:

It also uses GPS to gather the coordinate details. It displays information like time, temperature at a place or even speed of moving objects.

Image source:

Microsoft HoloLens is an important device which will help us to use augmented reality in our day to day life. It is result of Project Baraboo, Hololens is a pair of mixed reality-augmented reality with a head mounted display smartglass. It was realeased on March 30, 2016(dev edition) for $3000.

microsoft hololens photo
Photo by dalbera


This was a basic and brief article to give you an idea about augmented reality. Hope you understood it.

Thanks a lot for visiting. Happy reading!