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augmented reality (AR)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: From blockchain to RPA: A look at cutting-edge tech and the enterprise

Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user's environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.

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, but the technology is used in many industries including healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism and marketing.

Augmented reality apps are written in special 3D programs that allow the developer to tie animation or contextual digital information in the computer program to an augmented reality "marker" in the real world. When a computing device's AR app or browser plug-in receives digital information from a known marker, it begins to execute the marker's code and layer the correct image or images.

AR applications for smartphones typically include global positioning system (GPS) to pinpoint the user's location and its compass to detect device orientation. Sophisticated AR programs used by the military for training may include machine vision, object recognition and gesture recognition technologies.

Learn how augmented reality is being used by phlebotomists:

This was last updated in February 2016

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It's really awesome!
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Is virtual reality same as augmented reality?
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Virtual reality is the concept of a virtual world that does not exist and is purely designed. Augmented reality is virtual overlapping real life, such as The game Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game
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Wow I was surprised to see it. I think that AR is one of the keys of the future. AR allows us to do a lot cool things.
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Augmented reality is one of the main aspects of our future. Just imagine what can be accomplished if we use it in the right way. All those futuristic movies are coming to reality right now!
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I would suggest that the first AR technology was the Heads Up Displays (HUDs) pioneered in military aircraft, elements of which go back to the late 1930's. The first true HUD that incorporated instrumentation wasn't really developed until the 1960's, though (prior to this its use was mostly for gun sights - the first HUD element was the reflector gunsight developed just prior to WWII). It's use spread quickly to civilian aviation in the 1970's.
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I'm a big fan of virtual reality technologies. I wonder which way it will wander, but I will honestly say that so far I have not been trusted on my smartphone. I hope it can be when a real project is done, but for now only some nice kind with editing type like in Marvel and everything, but in fact it does not work like that.
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