The Augmented Reality (often called AR) is used to enhance reality with virtual content. Augmented reality is in fact the overlapping of layers with information (of different types such as video and graphics 2D, 3D, audio) to the real environment. The elements added to the reality can be made through the use of various devices such as a workstation equipped with a webcam (workstation, PC, Mac), camera-equipped mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) or special viewers (smart glasses). The camera “reads” the surroundings and shows the augmented reality through the recognition of some targets. The different AR currently available software rework the live video stream in real time and integrate the multimedia info to the context. The application of AR is now widespread in various fields: marketing, retail, events, education, culture, tourism, architecture, design, medicine and automation.
Interactive brochures, augmented packaging, multimedia advergames are some of the new products thanks to the AR.
The objects contained in a catalog or in a newspaper, for example, they show on the video display in three-dimensional form. The packaging of a product can provide additional information on the content. Another example of easy application is represented by a paper that could turn a game or a contest.
AR and shopping instead are one of the combinations that will be used more in the future. Screens transformed into mirrors, for example, can help the customer in choosing an accessory or a dress. The same process is possible with the webcam on your computer or with the camera of your smartphone or tablet.
Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, supplied geolocation systems, may instead lead us to the dealer.
Books, magazines, posters, touristic panels, etc. can be “increased” thanks to this new technology. The information provided through the paper are enriched on the screen with virtual and interactive elements. Pages or posters, framed by a video camera, open the door to a world on the border between real and virtual, where the contents come alive by encouraging learning. Scientific papers can be enriched with 3D models, videos or any other digital information difficult to see on paper.
Some of the fields currently most successful are education and culture. Tourist maps, educational books can come to life showing a 3D monument reconstructed through digital anastylosis, or touristic paths can be used with new digital information that changes the classic concept of a tourist guide; information and further details may be added to the real environment to help tourists to interact with the cultural environment.
Augmented reality is a important tool for the work of professionals such as architects, engineers, geologists, archaeologists and designers. The AR is a valuable support in assessing the impact of their projects and relationships with the buildings and surrounding spaces. Solutions for professionals have already been developed and allow you to view and interact with virtual models in places inside or outside.
It is also possible to watch a preview of any piece of furniture from the comfort of home, to assess their impact, the choice and then purchase.