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Augmented reality

Augmented  reality
Highlights

The latest comments, from an interview the Apple chief gave to The Independent, indicate that Tim Cook sees augmented reality (AR) as a fundamental,...

The latest comments, from an interview the Apple chief gave to The Independent, indicate that Tim Cook sees augmented reality (AR) as a fundamental, revolutionary technology similar to the smartphone:"I regard it as a big idea, like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don't have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone.

I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining. Cook goes on to say that he views AR like the silicon used in the iPhone’s chips, in other words as a “core technology” and “not a product per se.” Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one, writes Wikipedia. VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds, explains marxentlabs.com.

Boeing researcher Thomas Caudell coined the term augmented reality in 1990, to describe how the head-mounted displays that electricians used when assembling complicated wiring harnesses worked. One of the first commercial applications of AR technology was the yellow "first down" line that began appearing in televised football games sometime in 1998. Today, Google glass and heads-up displays in car windshields are perhaps the most well-known consumer AR products.

AR applications for smartphones typically include GPS to pinpoint the user's location and its compass to detect device orientation, according to whatis.com. Providing an example, creativeguerrillamarketing.com states that in the summer of 2013, IKEA launched their augmented reality catalogue to enable shoppers to visualise how certain pieces of furniture could look inside their home. Not only that, but the app measures the size of the products against the surrounding room and fixtures to offer a true-to-life size where possible.

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