Augmented Reality: The Present & The Future

Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the two technologies that make up extended reality. The other technology is Virtual Reality or VR for short. AR is the technology of overlaying digitally created elements, data, or graphics on to the real world – hence “augmenting the physical environment.” As such, AR makes a digitally enhanced world while fully immersing users into a digital environment.

AR changes the surroundings by adding computer-generated data such as video, graphics, sounds, and 3D objects onto the display view of special wearable devices such as headsets and smart glasses, and smartphones.

A Brief History

While most of the world population has heard of augmented reality with it being ground-breaking or future technology, few people realize that AR has a long history. In fact, Bob Sproull and Ivan Sutherland developed the first semblance of modern-day augmented reality in 1960. They created The Sword of Damocles, a simple head-mounted gadget that displayed crude graphics.

The next development came in the form of Video place, an augmented reality laboratory developed by Myron Krueger in 1975. In 9180, Steve Mann created the EyeTap, a portable device designed to be worn in front of one’s eyes. The device recorded the scene and superimposed effects later on. In 1987 Robert Morris and Douglas George prototyped the first heads-up-display (HUD) and used it to display information data over the sky.

Since the 1990s, the field of augmented reality has grown in limps and bounds thanks in part to the military industry and private industry.

How Does Augmented Reality Work?

The implementation of AR takes place in four stages:

#1. Data Collection – The first stage is capturing data using cameras and other sensors mounted on smartphones, tablets, and smart glasses.

#2. Processing – The captured data is processed to identify a point in the scenery to overlay additional data, including information, graphics, or 3D models.

#3. The next step is to request content to overlay over reality and, therefore, augment the reality.

#4. Projection – Using processed data from the sensors, the appropriate data is projected on to a surface view, resulting in an image of the world that consists of a real-world background and digital information.

While these are the fundamental processes behind AR, there are different implementations of the technology, namely:

  • Marker-based AR
  • Markerless AR (also known as location-based AR)
  • Projection-based AR
  • Superimposition-based AR

The Application of Augmented Reality Technology

With the AR technology maturing fast, it has found use in a myriad of fields, industries, and applications. One of the most beneficial uses of AR is in the healthcare industry. App developers have deployed augmented healthcare apps for medical students to use as an additional tool to facilitate their studies. The technology has also found use in the telemedicine field, enhancing remote diagnosis and creating treatment plans.

Augmented reality and virtual reality has also been extensively used in the entertainment industry, especially in the form of or integrated into mobile applications. There are plenty of mobile applications that rely on AR  and VR for some of their features.Visit here for more information.

AR has been used in the military industry for decades, and the technology is finding new and more uses. Case in point, the military planes have used HUD displays for decades now. However, the advancements of the technology have led to novel uses of AR.

The most noteworthy and successful use of the technology is in the helmet of F-35 pilots. AR allows pilots to see through their cockpit while still getting the vast majority of the information generated by the different sensors on their helmet visor display.

What Is the Future of Augmented Reality Technology?

It has been forecasted that AR will hit $70 to $75 billion in revenue by 2023 on the back of increased integration of the technology into smartphones and an improvement in cellular networks. Furthermore, the smart glass market segment is projected to increase access to AR technology. A combination of smartphones and smart glasses will create an install base of over 2.5 billion devices by 2023 (see

This is bound to make the AR technology ubiquitous, which will create an opportunity for app developers to create consumer apps, for instance, augmented healthcare apps, AR classroom apps, AR shopping apps, and AR entertainment apps.

In the military industry, it is natural that AR will find more uses and increased integration into the current technologies.

Khuwalid Khalid
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