Definition of Augmented Reality – What Is It And How Does It Work?

The whole world is going crazy for virtual reality. But, what about the definition of augmented reality? A lot of people don’t know this, but it is a concept that could change our lives for the better.

Augmented reality is difficult to define, but is getting more and more use in the real-world. Heck, even the US military uses it for some classified purposes. And with using AR (augmented reality), various tasks and processes could be immensely improved. The use of AR is virtually endless.

To begin comprehending what AR is, we must first focus on the definition of Augmented Reality. So, let’s get started and dive into the world of AR.


Definition of Augmented Reality and it’s Use

Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data”. Whoa, now that is a mouthful, right?

Let’s break it down so we can understand what is happening here, Augmented Reality takes a live video stream from the world, and then overlays certain graphical elements. The most simple example is Google Glass. Yes, although they are a failed experiment, Google Glass was the closest AR has come to the market.




Google Glass has a semi-transparent screen, which allows you to see the real-world, but also see information from the digital world. This information is an overlay, and doesn’t suppose to distract you from doing what you need to do. It should help you do it. So, augmented reality uses positional data, such as GPS, to guide you through the real-world. It gives you directional tracking, special effects and many more things. There are plenty of purposes, but the most common one is guidance.

For example, NASA overlays AR elements on their jets. The purpose here is to show pilots the runway, even through thick clouds. This way, they can navigate space and the sky in a very efficient manner.




As you move with your head, the AR overlay stays focused and guides you to the runway. Pretty impressive, right? The same technology is already used in cars, where you can see important information on the windshield. Which brings us to the next point.


Definition of Augmented Reality in the Real World

How can you benefit from AR, today? Well, expect from downloading a few apps,  you actually can’t. This is a technology that is still in development. And with the recent surge of popularity of VR (Virtual Reality), it kinda got forgotten.

PlayStation 3 had an excellent example of Augmented Reality. When playing card games, you got full-blown digital battles on your screen. The creatures from the cards came alive, and fought on your screen. Sounds awesome, right?




PlayStation 3 also had another “game”. Well, we say game, because it was actually a book, that you read on the screen. And as you go through the pages, each page came alive and you saw awesome scenes get reenacted. This was a heaven for smaller kids, who went nuts for the product! Then, how come the augmented reality software was a failure?

Well, for the Augmented Reality to work, you needed a PlayStation 3 and a Move controller. It had a hefty price, so people were turned off by it. And when people don’t buy it, the product fails. But, it had such a huge potential.


Definition of Augmented Reality for Education

Let’s get serious for a moment. Augmented reality should not be just used for commercial application. It should not be just a gimmick to show off to your friends, or to impress your children. It can have a real and meaningful impact on the world.

For example, there are certain augmented reality applications and products that are used in the field of education. Imagine students being able to see famous battles as they open their book, or to have mountains pop-out of the geography map. Basically, this would be like Google Earth, but in real-time. This would make studying very interesting and attractive, even for the most disinterested students in the class.

We should not stop here! What about the definition of augmented reality for hospitals? Doctors in several US hospitals are already testing augmented reality with real-life patients. The greatest benefit is being able to see data in real-time, as the doctors examine the patient with a monitor. So, when they move near their knee, they get information about knee injuries. As they examine their heads, they get specific information for this area. This will save a lot of time, as well as a lot of lives!

So, what is next for augmented reality? As it becomes more and more popular, we can expect it to enter the mainstream market. However, we don’t expect any real impact and rise in popularity until 2020.