Augmented Reality (AR) can be described as one of the technologies that can develop a “next-generation, reality-based interface”. The term was first used by Morton Heilig in the 1950d. He created a model of his idea in 1962 that he named ‘The Cinema of the Future’, and in 1968 Ivan Sutherland created the very first working prototype of the AR system. It became a recognized field of study in 1997.
Augmented reality is a type of virtual environment, which is placed into the real world. This is not to be confused with virtual reality, which is slightly different. If you were looking at a chair in virtual reality, you would see all of the room the chair is in. But in augmented reality, you would see the chair inside the room you were currently in. So while virtual reality creates an entire virtual scene, augmented reality puts a virtual object inside reality. One way to recognize AR is with the following three characteristics; combining real and virtual life, being interactive in real-time and finally, being registered in 3D.
AR works in four stages; scene capture, identification, processing and finally the visualition of the augmented object/scene. The scene capture occurs by a specific device, typically through video
devices (such as mobile phones) or see-through devices (like head mounted displays). The second stage (and arguably the most important) is the scene identification. Here, the scenario is classified by a marker-based approach (uses visual tags in the scene), or a non-marker-based approach. Non-based markers use internet-type browsers to gather the information that is necessary. Scene processing is where the system looks for the corresponding virtual model to appy to the markers. Finally, the visualisation scene is where the augmented reality image is produced.
Our Current Reality; Augmented
One area where AR is used is actually for training in the medicine industry, but it would be interesting to consider it’s use in actual Lab. Typically, lab experiments are completed by people physically present in the building with their apparatus and tools around them. But this grew increasingly difficult as the pandemic hit. It is important to note that remote-access has been used in engineering for decades before now, so it may be about time for actual Lab-work to play catch up.The idea is that virtual labatories could be used, which would be based on mathmetical models of data.
A questionnare-based survey was passed around various universities to annonymously rate their experience using two AR systems. The majority of respondents admitted it was their first time using AR technology that they were aware of, and a staggering 46% stated that they felt they lacked the adequate experience to provide a sufficient opinion. Besides that, 41% found the quality acceptable, and less than 8% thought negatively. More specifically, 4.8% had an excellent impression of the rendering quality of the AR applications, and 2.88% had an excellent impression of the fidelity of the applications.
That’s not the only test that’s been done to see the use pf AR in medine, however. One study (considting of 20 7th grade students) looked at the use of AR in their training. Ultimatley, the results were positive, and reccommended the continued use of AR for training in medical scenarios, especially given the shortcomings of the education system that was currently being used (most important of which, being the students lack of understanding of what they were being taught).
An Augmented Reality for the Future
With its ability to let us see things that aren’t really there, it’s being seriously considered for a variety of industries.
Tourism is one of the most relevant industries to date in terms of economic growth, and with this comes steady competition. When competition is involved, most companies aim to be the most modern and technologically advanced. In fact, it has been said that companies which fail to adopt modern technology such as AR will be unable to keep up with the competition. Carlsson and Walden even went so far as to argue that advantages in the tourist competition is all geared towards the most effective uses of these technologies. And this isn’t even just theory; Palumbo et al held one study that proved that the use of AR increased visitor numbers and target audience. Despite this, most companies fail to actually make this dream come to reality, and fully understand its potential. Kleef et al said that the value (the key concept of a business model) is likely to be non-financial in terms of AR.
In a case study of Geever looking at the five stakeholder groups, it was found that most of the respondents had moderate knowledge of augmented reality. There is a lack of sufficient framework, model, or guide for anyone in the industry to try and implement AR without taking large risks that some can’t afford. With all this uncertainty and the risks involved with trying it, it’s hard to say that tourism’s take on AR will change in the near future. It’s time for someone to branch out and take a bullet for the team, but with today’s climate, it’s really hard to justify throwing money into the unknown.
Do you think you would be ready to embrace augmented reality in the workplace, having read this article? Having written this, I get the feeling that AR is one of those things we use all the time without actually knowing it, but when it comes to having to properly embrace it, we’re left stumped as we stare into the unknwowing abyss. But isn’t it the same with all emerging technology? We probaby use it a lot as we scroll around our mobile phone, but when we’re faced with the cold hard facts we’re left with nothing but confusion. The reality is, that most people use Augmented Reality every day as they scroll the internet for facial filters, even going as far as trying on virtual clothing. But Augmented Reality still has a long way to go when it comes to innovation.
It is only my hope, that as time goes by we learn to be more accepting of these technologies and brace ourselves to step into the future.
Alkhamisi, A., and Monowar, M. (2013). Rise of Augmented Reality: Current and Future Application Areas. International Journal of Internet and Distributed Systems. Available at: https://www.scirp.org/pdf/IJIDS_2013112914255991.pdf (Accessed: October 25, 2022)
Azuma, R. (1997) A survey of Augmented Reality, Cierto. Available at: http://cierto.org/pdf/ARpresence.pdf (Accessed: October 25, 2022).
Onime, C. and Abiona, O. (2016) 3D Mobile Augmented Reality Interface for Labatory Experiments, International Journal of Communications, Network and System Services. Available at: https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=65966. Accessed: October 30th, 2022
E, E., Cranmer, M., Dieck, C. and Jung, T. (n.d.) How can Tourist Attractions Profit from Augmented Reality? International Augmented and Virtual Reality Scientific Committee. Available at: https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/80209644/978-3-319-64027-3-with-cover-page-v2.pdf?Expires=1666715084&Signature=Ey31smJbDgbOIfKAwQD0gHK~xFlGyOXwTAme4ciZltKwdICSNG9G4eKzAlAbs6Q2npEjFi6TeAHe8BEv82mGqululx~yYC0WkmHNuABD3qnxQDc46ugPAbyF86jeh3~6HmbYAPd3-yB-aJ~hFdaM2S2P~eqZugf~QSXNC~nVVPmby4xAKVSTj15BW5BU-tNtsZK1Us8wphxZs-8gfKhbG9vlPTsUriB5ZoULmKca9X97EIhHooeuk5rbm1V66UdZjpgi1tQbRsOm8BphxL-XutETNDRMS1uEsHrkmz5F7nZnx3DRlPSERQgCBnVxv9h9medAJuOSGtOGfq2JXNqLmw__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA (Accessed: October 25th , 2022)