How Does Augmented Reality Work

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With the development of technology, augmented reality (AR) is no longer something new to people and it has been widely used. The worldwide popular game Pokémon Go for example, has applied the AR technology. But do you have any idea about what augmented reality is and how it works? Well, Wikipedia gives a clear definition—-it is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by video, graphics or GPS data. As to how it works, you’ll find the answer after reading this article.

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Generally speaking, when you aim the webcam of a computer or the camera of your mobile device (like a tablet or a smartphone) at something, the webcam or camera will capture the information encoded in that thing and send the information to your computer or mobile device. Then the computer or mobile device will recognize the information and overlay the thing with an image. To the viewer it appears as if the image was created by magic.

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Mobile device showing augmented reality

Augmented reality technology works in mainly 3 ways: AR Viewers, AR Browsers and AR Games. And the following are detail descriptions of each role.

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AR Viewers
AR Viewers allow users to place life-size 3D models in the environment with or without the use of trackers in real time. Let’s take the Snapshot Showroom app which enables you to see what potential furniture may look like in the house for example. With this app, you should take a photo of the room you need to furnish at first, then browse and place assorted furniture from the likes of big-name retailers such as IKEA, Crate&Barrel, Horchow and so forth. After that, you can resize and reposition of the furniture to see whether or not it fits the room well. If you need more than one piece of furniture, just try different color combinations to determine which decoration scheme is better. What’s more, you can even purchase the furniture you are satisfied with within the app if you don’t want waste time searching in the furniture shop. AR Viewer do facilitate our life, don’t you think so?

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AR Browsers
AR Browsers enrich your camera display with a lot of information about malls, hotels, historic buildings and so forth, which enables you to see digital content that augments the physical world. You might have heard about Wikitude, an AR Browser app that is incredibly useful every time you came to a new place. When using your smartphone’s camera, it allows you to build an AR world filled with details and information about your vicinity by offering you any geographically-relevant information you may need which is from the internet. With AR Browsers, even the most unfamiliar areas will soon become familiar to us, and we can better enjoy each travel.

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AR Games
AR Games bring you immersive gaming experiences that differ from normal games by utilizing your actual surroundings. Have you watched the Japanese anime Pokémon? Do you want to own your own Pokémon? If so, the worldwide popular AR Game—- Pokémon Go, which I have mentioned at the beginning of this article, may be a good tool for you to get some entertainment and achieve your childhood dream. In this game, player uses the mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle and train Pokémon, which appear on the screen as if it was in the same real-world location as the player. Thanks to AR technology, games have become much more interesting.

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The AR technology has brought a lot of surprises and great changes to our life, most of which are beneficial. Let’s appreciate the sweet fruit of the advanced technology and make good use of it.

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