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Misconceptions about Augmented Reality

Recently, augmented reality has been getting a lot of media attention thanks in part to companies like Google and Microsoft producing their own augmented reality enabled glasses.  Even so, there is still a lot of confusion and misconceptions about augmented reality.

Before going through the top misconceptions, what is augmented reality exactly?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital information, such as images, 3d models and videos, in a real-time environment. Augmented reality superimposes virtual objects on a view of the physical world. Therefore, AR supplements and enhances reality. Today, Augmented Reality is used in engineering, design, manufacturing, architecture, and other industries.

Now that the concept of AR is a bit more clear. Let’s clarify some of the common misconceptions.

1) Augmented reality and virtual reality are the same

One of the biggest confusions around AR is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality.  Virtual reality (VR) immerses the user in a virtual world that he or she can interact with.  The virtual world is designed so the user finds it difficult to differentiate from what is real and what is not. To experience VR, the user wears a head-mounted display like Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

On the contrary, AR’s goal is not to completely immerse the user in a virtual environment.  Augmented reality combines digital elements and the real world.

2) Augmented reality is brand new 

Augmented reality has actually been around for years.  The term “augmented reality” was coined at Boeing in 1990 by researcher Tom Caudell. In search for an alternative to the expensive diagrams and marking devices then used to guide workers on the factory floor.  Caudell and his colleague developed a complex software that could overlay a plane’s specific schematics through high-tech eye ware and project them onto reusable boards.

However, it wasn’t until recent that augmented reality experienced a huge surge.  This is thanks to mobile technology improvements in built-in camera, sensors, and computational resources that have made it possible on mobile devices.

Siemens- Misconceptions about Augmented Reality

3) No one is using augmented reality yet

Augmented reality’s diverse applications have made it increasingly popular.  Not only do consumers love augmented reality because of its wow factor, but also companies like Coca-Cola, Siemens, and L’Oreal are turning to AR to solve their business challenges.  For instance, Coca-Cola Germany equips its sales people with augmented reality as a sales tool to better visualize their coolers.  Similarly, Siemens is using AR to simulate complex products at tradeshows.  Indeed, industry experts to suggest that the enterprise augmented reality app market will reach $2.4 billion by 2019, growing tenfold from 2014.

4) Augmented reality is difficult to use

With this development and the proliferation of smart devices, there has been a tremendous rise in augmented reality mobile applications.  These applications are easy to use and make augmented reality readily accessible.  There is no special hardware or special skills required to get AR.  It is as easy as downloading the mobile application off the app store.

5) You can only overlay images or text over what the user sees

Overlaying images or text is part of augmented reality, but you can overlay so much more!  AR allows you to superimpose all sorts digital elements onto the real environment.  Commonly, users of augmented reality superimpose their 3D models of real products in the real environment.  An interior designer, for instance, can showcase furniture to a client in real time and determine if the layout works with the size and design of the room.

Misconceptions about Augmented Reality

6) If you want to use 3D models, the mobile augmented reality application automatically creates them.  

An AR application like Augment does not create 3D models.  If you have your own 3D models, you upload them to the platform.  Then, you are able to view them in the application through your smartphone or tablet.

If you don’t have 3D models, typing in key phrases like “free 3d models download” will give you a multitude of websites from which to download.  You can also download a Sample 3D Model here.

7) Augmented reality requires a special headset like Google Glass

Today, there are a number of platforms including AR glasses and mobile devices from which augmented reality content can be accessed. Augmented reality glasses and head-mounted displays have received a fair share of media attention due in part to companies like Google and Microsoft.  However, you don’t need a headset to use augmented reality.

Today, the use of mobile and tablet devices to access augmented reality content is arguably the most common method. The two main advantages of mobile AR is the portable nature of handheld devices and pervasive nature of smart phones.

Download Augment now to try it free on your mobile device.  Augment is available on the Google Play and Apple stores.