Instead of computer-generated environments to interact with as virtual reality does, augmented reality (AR) enhances the real physical world achieved through the use of digital elements, whether it is sound or other sensory stimuli. It is a growing trend among companies involved in mobile computing and business applications in particular. In simpler terms, augmented reality adds to the reality you would ordinarily see.
Often presented as a kind of futuristic technology, it has been around for years. In the early 21st century, various labs and companies built devices that gave us AR. In 2013, Google came up with Google Glass, a moving AR to a more wearable interface, which is eyeglasses. It displays on the user's lens screen via a small projector and responds to voice commands, overlaying images, videos, and sounds onto the screen.
Another interesting AR version is Vito Technology's Star Walk app, which allows a user to point their phone or tablet camera at the sky and see the names of planets and constellations superimposed on the image. Another app called PlantSnap lets the user focus their camera on a plant, leaf, or flower to ascertain the name of the species.
One more popular way that AR has entered everyday life is through mobile games. In 2016, "Pokemon Go" became a sensation worldwide, with over 100 million estimated users at its peak. The game allowed users to see Pokemon characters around in their own environment. The goal was to capture these pocket monsters, then use them to battle others, locally, in AR gyms.
Not just these, augmented reality also helps the retail or healthcare sector as well. A consumer can check whether the furniture lying in a store suits their drawing room or not by superimposing technique. Similarly, in the healthcare sector, AR can be a boon for students or trainees to understand the human body and chemical compositions with much ease.
But just like any new technology, AR has ethical and political issues as well. For example, Google pulled out the device in December 2015 due to privacy concerns.