What Is Augmented Reality (AR) and How Does It Work?
Augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements onto a smartphone camera, creating an illusion that holographic content is a part of the physical world around you. In contrast with Virtual Reality (VR), you are not immersed in the whole artificial environment. AR alters the surroundings a bit by adding 3D objects, sounds, videos, graphics to it.
AR can be applied differently, so you can use it for making your face look like a cute kitten or find directions in shopping malls. Augmented reality allows you to virtually try on glasses or see how home appliances will look on your table. Such apps must differentiate between the physical and digital world to place virtual objects onto the right area. This is possible using computer vision algorithms that provide mobile apps with a high-level understanding of digital images or videos.
Globalization and the latest developments have made this AR accessible for the ordinary user. Mobile devices are the most available and best fit for AR mobile apps. You may opt for special AR devices like head-up displays or smart glasses.
How Does Augmented Reality Work?
To show the relevant content to the user AR uses computer vision, simultaneous localization, mapping and depth tracking (sensor data calculating the distance to the objects). This allows cameras to collect, send and process data in order to show digital content relevant to what the user is looking at.
For instance, imagine that you are using AR navigation, like in the picture above. First, computer vision processes the location and objects captured by the camera and recognizes it. Then, the program puts labels onto the surface. The process happens every time the user holds a phone camera in front of the location that has been previously mapped. This type of AR is markerless.
Another example is a soccer game. The app recognizes a person’s foot, by setting virtual footprint on the actual foot and its motion, so the user could kick the virtual soccer ball down the alley on the screen and ‘remember’ the player’s foot to keep scores for each session. Thanks to the function of object recognition, the user’s foot can be detected, allowing the program to identify each player and offer a new game for another user respectively.
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Why Does AR Need Computer Vision?
For an augmented reality to start working cameras must see things be capable enough to figure out what they are seeing and further categorize it.
The whole process of computer seeing real world includes the machine representing colors by numbers, identifying a similar group of colors and then segmenting the image, searching for lines that meet at object angles and covering a specific part of the image, finding textures, and matching the image with those present in the database.
Augmented reality requires discerning objects around the user in terms of both semantics and 3D geometry. Semantics recognizes the object, while geometry figures out where the object is placed.
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Retail, healthcare, education and real estate companies already benefit from augmented reality and today is your turn.
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