What is Augmented Reality and How Does It Work - 15 Best Tools for AR Development

Augmented reality (AR) is one of the biggest technology trends to synthesize information and digital content that can be 3D images, texts, sounds, and videos and to enhance the user's interactive experience of a real-world environment.
Augmented reality is somewhat different from virtual reality.
Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality adds to the normal reality you would normally see, rather than replace it.

What is Augmented Reality and How Does It Work - 15 Best Tools for AR Development

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Augmented Reality (AR) is the result of using technology to synthesize information and digital content that can be 3D images, texts, sounds, and videos and to enhance the user's real-world experience- on the world we see.

The augmented reality system generates a composite view of the user that combines the real scene that the user looks at and the virtual scene created by the computer that enhances the real scene with additional information.

Augmented Reality aims to create a system in which the difference between the real world and what was added using Augmented Reality cannot be perceived. 

When someone uses AR technology to look at their surroundings, objects in that environment are fitted with information that swims around and integrates with the image the person looks at.
Imagine the interaction pattern in films like Minority Report or Iron Man.

Today, AR technology is used in entertainment, military training, engineering design, robotics, manufacturing, and other industries, and is gradually being integrated into education.

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is somewhat different from virtual reality (VR)
Virtual reality is an imaginary environment that your computer has created for you to interact with and immerse in.
Otherwise, Augmented Reality adds to the normal reality you would normally see, rather than replace it.

How Augmented Reality Technology Works

In the beginning, AR technology shows digital elements in the real world and allows you to interact with them using your phone or glasses.

Augmented Reality is related to the concept of real-time interaction as if you were watching a video but with the ability to change the latest one and as if digital elements are part of the physical world around you. 

AR technology overlays computer-generated video over video captured with the camera in such a way that computer-generated imagery (CGI) objects appear to have a perfect location in the real world. 
In practice, this can be anything from overlaying digital directions onto physical roads around you to making your face resemble a giraffe for example.

Types of Augmented Reality

There are four types of augmented reality today:

1. Marker-based AR

2. Markerless AR

3. Projection-based AR

4. Superimposition-based AR

Below, we have explored four types of augmented reality technologies that make an augmented reality:

Marker-based AR

Marker-based AR is mainly based on the recognition of a still image in front of the camera, and this image may be anything you think (a person's picture - something image - QR code) or otherwise. 
The device determines the coordinates and orientation of this image and then shows the 3D elements.

Markerless AR

Markerless AR is an augmented reality system based on location or position, i.e. it may depend on your geographic location and the global positioning system (GPS).
In simple terms, Marker-less AR is used to indicate an AR application that does not require prior knowledge of the user's environment to place three-dimensional content at a fixed point in space and overlay that 3D content in a scene.

The "Pokemon Go" game is the best example of Marker-less AR. This game is based on augmented reality which uses the map, compass, gyroscope, and accelerometer to provide data based on the user's location.

Projection-based AR

Projection-based AR projects light or images on a physical surface and allows interaction with them, such as an optical keyboard.
Where the appropriate light for the experiment is projected and human interaction with it is sensed by comparing the original projection to the shape resulted from user interaction.
This type of augmented reality is very flexible, scalable, and customizable.
So it provides the capability to assembly lines on the factory floor and the ability to integrate into workstations.

Superimposition-based AR

Superimposition-based augmented reality concept is based on a total or partial replacement of a pre-existing element in front of the camera.
The most prominent example of which is the "IKEA application" that allows its catalog to be replaced with virtual home furnishings.

Augmented Reality Devices

Mobile Devices (smartphones and tablets): The most used AR devices in the world.

Augmented Reality Glasses (or smart glasses): These glasses can show notifications from the phone and easily support interoperability.

Augmented Reality Contact Lenses: They are enhanced technologies to make augmented reality easier to see.

Special AR devices designed to support AR technology: front screens that allow interaction in front of them.

Virtual retinal displays (VRD): A virtual retinal display (VRD) is a modern display technology that draws a dot-matrix display directly on the eye retina for creating visual images. 

Possible applications of Augmented Reality

AR in Education: AR technology bridges the gap between the virtual and real-world and builds interactive models for educational purposes and provides new ways of teaching and learning.

AR in Medicine: VR technology is used in various fields of healthcare such as diagnosis, monitoring, counseling and treatment, e.g. rehab, and surgery.
VR technology is also used to train the next generation of paramedics, doctors, and other medical personnel.

AR in Home Furniture: VR technology enhances a two-dimensional image by converting it into a 3D model.
3D views help offer speed, stability, incredible realism, and product configuration options and review how the furniture looks before you buy it.

AR in Maintenance: VR technology provides users with the ability to quickly obtain information about specific assets and offers visual support to assist in maintenance with the help of a remote specialist.
Some proven benefits of AR technology in maintenance include - Reduced execution time, reduced cost, reduced breakdowns, reduced human errors, increased operation speed, increased productivity and increased fix rates.

AR in Construction and Architecture: AR technology places a three-dimensional model of the proposed design on the existing location using mobile devices and displays and controls buildings before and during execution.

AR in Tourism: AR technology allows tourists to enhance their information on tourist areas and artifacts, in real-time.

AR in Entertainment: AR technology is used effectively in public relations campaigns and marketing initiatives for television, motion picture, video game live streaming, and other media promotional campaigns.

15 Best Tools for AR Development - Augmented Reality SDKs

There are a large number of libraries and software development kits (SDKs) to develop augmented reality applications. 
The best tools and SDKs for developing AR applications may include:

1. ARToolKit: An open-source computer tracking system for building powerful AR applications

2. Apple ARKit: Apple's AR platform for iOS devices

3. EasyAR: The best engine for AR development

4. MAXST: The right choice SDK for AR development

5. Wikitude: The world's leading cross-platform AR SDK 

6. Kundan: A one-stop-shop for AR application development

7. DeepAR: Probabilistic forecasting based autoregressive neural network.

8. ARCore: Google's proprietary augmented reality SDK

9. Vuforia: an augmented reality SDK for mobile devices

10. Amazon Sumerian: a platform for building AR, VR, and 3D apps.

11. Xzimg: An AR SDK for face recognition and image processing

12. DroidAR: An open-source SDK that supports location-based AR and image tracking as well as markers.

13. AR.js: A JavaScript-based opensource AR SDK.

14. AugMara CMS: AR Content Management System

15. Pikkart AR SDK: An easy to use, innovative, stable and reliable SDK.

The Future of Augmented Reality

Mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are the most-used AR devices in the world.
This does not mean that they are the only way to apply augmented reality, research is continuing in full swing to introduce augmented reality in contact lenses, and other wearable devices.

The primary goal of AR is to create a proper and natural immersion, so it is likely to replace phones and tablets, although it is not clear what. Even glasses may take on a new look, as “smart glasses” are developed for the blind.

Like any new technology, augmented reality has many political and moral problems.
 Google glasses, for example, have raised privacy concerns, some worrying about recording conversations or sneaking photos or being recognized by face recognition technology.
However, augmented reality glasses, lenses and more like Glass-X and Google glasses are moving forward in manufacturing and sales.

The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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