The Ultimate Guide to Augmented Reality (AR) Technology

Augmented Reality

In May of 2014, Google announced that their wearable augmented reality glasses, Google Glass, would be available to the public. Exactly eight months later, Google stopped its production and tentatively set its return date to sometime in 2017. Google Glass was an absolute failure. The glasses costed $1,500, but not even a price tag that high could save the company from major losses. Google X lost over $280 million in 2015 partly because of the lack of revenue generated by the glasses. What happened? Why did a technologically advanced product from a reputable company flop so badly? And why does augmented reality have such a large amount of public support now, only three years later? To answer these questions, one has to understand the path that augmented reality has followed during the past decade.


The term ‘augmented reality’ was first coined in 1990 by a Boeing researcher named Tom Caudell. Prior to that point, augmented reality was used in very particular industries. The military used AR to create wearable units for soldiers. Sportsvision put a yellow line over football fields during games to indicate a first down. Naturally, NASA was also using augmented reality technology before it was cool. Map data would be overlaid to improve navigation during flights in certain aircraft.
When Caudell first used the phrase, it was meant to describe a digital display used by aircraft electricians that blended virtual graphics onto a physical reality. That definition actually holds relatively well to this day. Today, augmented reality is known as “the interaction of superimposed graphics, audio and other sense enhancements over a real-world environment that’s displayed in real-time”. Whether you’re looking through a cellphone camera or AR glasses, information will pop up on the screen. That can come in the form of helpful tips, directions and suggestions, or it can be as entertaining as dinosaurs and zombies virtually roaming around the streets.

How does Augmented Reality work?

Firstly your camera detects the target image and will figure it out how close or far, and at what angle, the target image is from the camera using sensors.

Then the AR app will project the digital information onto to that image and tada – Augmented reality.

Well, this isn’t the only approach how AR is produced. Here are few other approaches:

SLAM: SLAM simultaneously localizes sensors with respect to their surroundings, while at the same time mapping the structure of the environment
Location Based: Location-based AR relies on a GPS, digital compass, velocity meter, or accelerometer to provide actual information about the location and the augmented reality visualizations are activated based on these inputs.

Reality Technology Guides

Different Types of Reality Technologies

Augmented Reality is only one pillar of reality technologies. Further explore the depth of these technologies by continuing with one of our other “Ultimate Guide to Understanding” web resources on Mixed Reality or Virtual Reality.

Ultimate Guide to Understanding
Mixed Reality

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