There’s a lot of excitement around Augmented Reality (AR) right now, but there are also some misconceptions. In this article, we’ll explore what AR is and what it isn’t so that you can better understand the technology and how it might fit into your next project.
Augmented Reality is not virtual reality
Augmented reality is not virtual reality.
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a headset with stereoscopic screens and motion tracking devices. Augmented reality (AR) adds elements to the existing environment around you, like text overlays on top of objects or 3D models appearing in front of you.
Augmented Reality is not a filter
Augmented reality is not a filter.
It’s true that you can use an AR app to add effects to your photos, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same as applying a filter on Instagram or Snapchat. Filters are meant to change the way something looks or feels–they’re used primarily for aesthetics. But augmented reality adds information and context to the real world around us, rather than changing its appearance.
If someone tells me they’re wearing “augmented reality glasses,” I’ll assume they mean Google Glasses (the first mainstream implementation of AR). But if someone says they want their next phone case to be “augmented reality,” I’d expect them not only to see my point about how confusing this terminology is but also understand why no one would ever need such a thing as an “augmented reality phone case.”
Augmented Reality is not a copy
Augmented reality is not a copy of the real world. It’s a way to make it more interesting and useful.
If you’ve ever played Pokemon Go, you know what I mean–that game uses your phone’s GPS and camera to show Pokemon in real time as they appear around you on your screen. The idea is that if you see something cool outside (like an Eevee), then you can catch it! But it also adds an element of mystery: Where will these critters pop up next? Will they be hiding under this bench? Or maybe behind this tree? It’s like having your own personal zoo wherever you go!
Augmented Reality does not replace physical objects
Augmented Reality is not a replacement for physical objects.
AR is not a replacement for real life.
AR is not a replacement for the real world.
AR is not a replacement for reality.
Augmented Reality does not make things bigger or smaller than they are
Augmented Reality is not a copy. It’s not an image that you look at and see through to the actual world, as if you’re wearing special glasses or goggles. Augmented reality doesn’t make things bigger or smaller than they are, either: if you see an object in front of you with AR, it will still appear to be the same size as it would without AR–you won’t have to lean in closer just to see its details (unless those details are really small).
AR is also not a filter that makes everything around us look different from how we’d normally perceive them–like how Instagram filters can make your photos look like paintings from centuries ago or how Snapchat lenses distort your face into something unrecognizable.
There are some misconceptions about what augmented reality is and what it isn’t.
- Augmented reality is not virtual reality.
- Augmented reality is not a filter.
- It’s not just for selfies, either–augmented reality has the potential to change everything from how we shop to how we study and work.
- AR doesn’t replace physical objects; it enhances them with digital information that makes them more useful or informative than they otherwise would be on their own. For example, when you hold up your phone at a concert venue or sports stadium and see where you need to go next instead of having no idea where anything is (or even if there are bathrooms nearby).
The augmented reality market is still very new and has a lot of room to grow. We’re just beginning to see how it will impact our everyday lives, but one thing is clear: the technology behind this trend has huge potential for changing how we live, work and play.