Applications And Concerns


Augmented Reality Today

Augmented reality technology is increasingly driven by wireless mobile devices. At first, AR required headsets and kept users mostly tethered to their computers. Now, AR is available anywhere, anytime. Cell phones now have cameras and screens allowing the combination of real world data to intertwine with virtual data.

Augmented Reality in the Arts



There are numerous applications of augmented reality in the arts. Users can…

  • create art in real-time over real paintings, drawings, or models.
  • simulate planned construction projects.
  • create virtual objects—on locations and in museums, exhibitions, theme park attractions, and games.
  • launch interactive AR music videos (The group Lost Valentinos was one of the first to do this).
  • project AR into musical stage shows.

Recently, the group Duran Duran used used a real time 3D visual effects system consisting of a Windows 2000 based desktop PC, a Winnov Videum capture card, and professional grade video cameras. Using software based on the Microsoft Vision SDK and OpenGL libraries, the system captured live video of the band or the audience and composited it with real time 3D graphic imagery. The results were projected onto a large screen where the audience could view the results. Simple animations were pre-programmed and triggered based on the lead singer’s requests during the concert. This process enabled animated characters to appear live with the band on a large projection screen. The system created an augmented reality effect that convincingly mixed 3D graphics with the audience’s real world view of the band.2

  • visit historical sites and see maps and information about how the location looked at different points in history.

An application currently in development by the European-funded Intelligent Tourism and Cultural Information through Ubiquitous Services Project will allow visitors to pan a location such as the Coliseum and see what it looked like during an event with spectators and competing athletes.3

Augmented Reality in Education



Augmented reality has the potential to provide powerful contextual, explorative, and discovery learning experiences

  • AR shows network learning—the connective nature of information in the real world.

It facilitates collaboration among distributed team members via conferences with real and virtual participants.

  • AR creates 3D graphic images or footage of curriculum content (like human body systems or WWII)
  • Wikitude overlays factual information from Wikipedia and other sources onto a view of the real world5
  • AR gaming can be used to teach critical thinking, archaeology, history, or geography by using a game board that becomes a 3D setting when viewed through a mobile device or webcam.
  • AR books can be used to enhance learning by showing globes that pop out of the page, but the books are printed normally.
  • Models can be generated using AR showing how an item can be seen in different settings.

One app can transfer sketches into 3D objects that can help students explore physical properties and interactions with objects. Architect students could use them to show scale models of buildings cutting time down for construction and presentation proposal.

Other Applications of AR

Combining the digital and physical worlds, augmented reality offers brands a unique new opportunity to interact with consumers. AR can be used to promote products and places via interactive AR applications, such as tours of city buildings, car specifications, retail circulars with AR code, or outdoor advertising. In Disneyland, for example, as you walk near one of the ‘Prince of Persia’ outdoor posters and open the layer, the beautiful movie-character Tamina speaks to you and explains that you should watch the movie trailer and enter the augmented reality game to answer 3 questions.6

Augmented reality has the power to bring an image, product label or even shop window to life. Customers can see brands and their stock in a new way and engage with them on a completely new level. AR allows companies to assist consumers on location when shopping and dining by providing ratings, reviews, menus, and other types of information.
Some examples of AR use in marketing are an on-location city search application with locations and reviews, and a social shopper application where consumers can actually “try on” clothes. They can see how the clothes will look on their own bodies.7

Augmented reality applications have the power to compare the data of digital mock-ups with physical mock-ups for discrepancies and quality assurance. Mechanics in the military and companies, like Boeing, use AR goggles while working on vehicles to see each step in the repair, show needed tools, and provide instructions. Furthermore, instructional usage applications could help train or retrain mechanics on different vehicles.8

Augmented reality can be used to visualize architectural, meteorological, medical, and biological 3D phenomena. AR applications can also display interactive analysis of terrain characteristics for hydrology, ecology, and geology 3D maps.

The Future of AR

Some pending or future AR applications are:

  • Expanding PC operation to eye movements or gestures on virtual icons
  • “Holodecks” fictional technology seen on Star Trek are computer-generated imagery that interacts with live entertainers and audience
  • Replacing cell phone and vehicle navigation screens with eye-dialing, insertion guiding lines directly on the road, or enhancements like "X-ray“ views
  • Virtual plants, wallpapers, panoramic views, artwork, decorations, windows, posters, traffic signs, advertisement towers, etc
  • Virtual gadgetry (replacement of data-oriented physical devices, such as clocks, radios, and PDAs)
  • Subscriptions to group-specific AR feeds (work place instructions, public event information, etc.)
  • A virtual retinal display is a head-mounted display system that projects an image directly onto the human retina with low-energy lasers or LCDs giving the user the illusion of viewing a typical screen-sized display hovering in the air several feet away.

Ethical Considerations

The Effect on Behavior: AR could cause social detachment

  • AR done right may enhance social interactions by adding new and exciting elements that don’t impose heavily on human experience.
  • Done wrong, AR could separate users further by normalizing inorganic digital interactions, limiting real-life communication, or blurring the lines between what’s real and artificial.

The Power of Persuasion: AR could be manipulative.

  • Already, there are some very cool advertisements using AR that come to life via smartphone or tablet, which are innovative in AR’s early stages.
  • While using this kind of tool can be fun and even helpful, it can also be used to mold our perceptions when corporations want to persuade us to buy things.

The Issue of Privacy: AR could abuse data context

  • Besides giving users the ability to easily record and share material, potentially unlawfully or immorally, AR also presents the issue of social data used out of context. For example, the app “Girls Around Me” uses Foursquare information to allow users to find the location and profile information of random individuals, and even contact them.
  • Add AR into the mix, and you could have yourself a situation similar to what is depicted in the short film “Sight.” It shows a man using his AR to (almost successfully) seduce his date by using tips from an app on his device that reads her body language, alcohol intake, and info from her online profile.9

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