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Definition and key information on AR

Page history last edited by Lara Jongedijk 14 years, 2 months ago


Definition of AR


Augmented Reality (AR) is

"a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and "augmented" by the addition of computer-generated graphics"
(Wikipedia, 2008).

Ronald Azuma's definition of AR is widely accepted as the benchmark for describing AR technologies. Azuma describes Augmented Reality as:


"an environment that includes both virtual reality and real-world elements. For instance, an AR user might wear translucent goggles; through these, he could see the real world, as well as computer-generated images projected on top of that world." (Azuma, 1997).






  In short , an AR environment :

                      Combines real and virtual environments,

                      Is interactive in real-time

                      Is registered in four dimensions (three dimensional space and time)

                      The virtual objects can be stationary or be manipulated

                      There is interactivity between the object and the real world.

                      Abstract concepts can be made visible, understanding is enhanced.



Augmented Reality (AR) is an environment where a real life is enhanced by virtual elements in real time. The purpose of AR is to enhance the information we naturally receive through our five senses, by adding superimposed, constructed virtual elements to bring complementary information and meaning that may not be possible to see by natural means. 


For many of those interested in AR, one of its most important characteristics is the way in which it  creates an interactive environment between computer system and user. Today‚Äôs AR environments create interactive systems that are no longer simply a face-to-screen exchange, but an interaction within the whole environment.


Elements of an Augmented Reality System: How it works


AR Sample 1:


AR sample 1:  One of the most common ways of producing an augmented reality is to add graphics to the normal field of view of a person. This is enabled by a viewer wearing transparent goggles or similar form of head-mounted display, which shows graphics generated by an attached computer. This enables the viewer to see both the real world, and the complementary information. The system must register the graphics to the real world scene, keeping in mind the viewer's perspective as they move their head and eyes.


AR Elements required:

head-mounted display

tracking system

mobile computing power  (www.virtualworldlets.net)



 AR Sample 2:


AR sample 2: Another configuration for AR is a more stationary approach, where a virtual object is viewed in real space, such as a book with 3D moving illustrations,

or a vehicle model. These systems require a desktop and display device, and are more simple for the user than the mobile AR system described above.  


AR Elements required:

visual display piece



 Contextualizing AR with other Virtual Reality Technologies



Milgrim's Reality-Virtuality Continuum Spectrum is useful when contextualizing AR with in the context between reality and virtual reality. AR is a blended reality, combining elements of both reality and virtual reality. As such AR is considered a "Mixed Reality".


Milgram's Reality-Virtuality Continuum


  Milgram's Reality-Virtuality Continuum (Milgram, P. and F. Kishino, 1994).



As a next step in navigating this Wiki, we recommend reading the page "History of AR and Key Researchers" 



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