Augmented Reality Overview for Startups

by Thursday, June 23, 2016 0 comments

Augmented Reality


Augment Reality is the art of superimposing computer generated content over the live view of
the world. It is the integration of digital information with live video or user’s environment in
real time.
Augmented reality apps build upon the world around us by displaying information overlays and
digital content tied to physical objects and locations. For example, with games like Pokemon
Go , you can capture and train digital creatures in the real world. You can also bring a static print
ad to life, watch a movie trailer by pointing your smartphone camera at a poster, or discover
nearby establishments and landmarks with your mobile device.


what augmented reality actually is?

It’s adding a layer of digital information on top of physical world around us. One of the smartest way we are using this augmented reality is through smartphone technology. Smartphones have a lot of features that makes augmented reality more attractive, effective
and easier to implement.

So, how it works?

Augmented Reality works with the use of Smartphone features such as Camera,
Compass, Hardware sensors. With the use of this, smartphones figures out where your are in relation to the world around you. It figures out the orientation, environment where you are now, your present location, direction on which the device is pointing through. So once you know where you are, you can start overlaying information on top of the real world and this is how Augmented reality stuffs are made through.


     In the year 1966 , Prof. Ivan Sutherland invented head mounted display which was the first step in making AR a possibility. 

     In the year 1990, Prof. Tom Caudell coined the name “Augmented Reality” and developed the complex software at Boeing to help technicians assemble cables into the aircraft.

     Until 1999, Augmented Reality remained a very much toy of the scientists since it was expensive, complex and bulky. In 1999, Hirokazu Kato of Nara Institute of Science and Technology released the ARToolkit to the open Source Community.

     After the sudden increase of public interest in smart phones, mobilizy was among the pioneers to develop the apps using Augmented Reality concepts with the help of mobile sensors and camera. Once ARToolkit was ported to Adobe flash, the journey reaches where we are with the Augmented Reality technology.




Found in smartphones and tablets. Uses device GPS, compass and high speed wireless networks. Provides useful local web content information and added services in 2D location of the geo location of the user. Fairly imprecise due to the current inaccuracy of the GPS location.


Marker based AR uses a Camera and a visual marker to determine the center, orientation and range of its spherical coordinate system. ARToolkit is the first full featured toolkit for marker based tracking.


This is one of best methods for tracking currently. It performs active tracking and recognition of real environment on any type of support without using special placed markers. Allows more complex application of Augmented Reality concept.


Just like anything else which is beyond our reach, projection based AR feels more attractive (at least as of now) compared to an AR app you can install on your phone. As is obvious by its name, projection based AR functions using projection onto objects. What makes it interesting is the wide array of possibilities.

One of the simplest is projection of light on a surface. Speaking of lights, surfaces and AR, did you ever think those lines on your fingers (which divide each finger into three parts) can create 12 buttons? Have a look at the image and you would quickly grasp what we’re talking about. The picture depicts one of the simplest uses of projection based AR where light is fired onto a surface and the interaction is done by touching the projected surface with hand. The detection of where the user has touched the surface is done by differentiating between an expected (or known) projection image and the projection altered by interference of user’s hand.

One of the widespread uses of projection based AR techniques is noninteractive. Projection on objects can be used to create deception about the position, orientation and depth of an object. In such a case an object is taken into consideration and its structure is studied in depth. The object’s distance from the projection is calculated and the projection light sequence is then designed carefully to deceive the viewer’s mind.


Recognition based AR focuses on recognition of objects and then provide us more information about the object. e.g. when using your mobile phone to scan a barcode or QR code, you actually use object recognition technology. Fact is, except location based AR systems, all other types do use some type of recognition system to detect the type of object over which augmentation has to be done.

Recognition based AR technology has varied uses as well. One of them is to detect the object in front of the camera and provide information about the object on screen. This is something similar to the AR apps for travellers (location browsers). However, the difference lies in the fact that the AR location browsers usually do not know about the objects that they see while recognition based AR apps do.

A second type of recognitionbased AR application is to recognize the object and replace it with something else. The applications, once again are in abundance and possibilities endless. Some examples are given below:

* Simulation of objects in 3D. In this case, printed version of a recognizable object (such as a card with QR code printed on it, or a picture provided by the app printed on paper) is shown to the camera. This printed version is called “Augmented Reality Marker” and acts as a reference for the AR app running on the system. The augmentation app detects and recognizes the marker and tries to understand the distance and orientation of the print.

Once the recognition is complete, it replaces the marker on screen with a 3D version of the corresponding object. This allows the user to investigate the object in more detail and from various angles. Rotating the marker would rotate the 3D imagery as well.

* Yet another famous use of recognition AR tech is translation of words on the fly. In this case, the app reads the words seen by the camera and tries to recognize the words using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology and then replaces the words on screen with their translated versions. This can be immensely useful for tourists when travelling to places where the locally prevalent language is not known.

* Recognition based AR can also be used in education. Markers of more than two objects are kept together. The app detects the multiple markers and tries to simulate relationships among them. For example, one can use printed cards to represent atoms (in say chemistry class) and based on their mutual distance the AR app can show how a reaction would take place; and that would be just one use of AR in education. Detection of drawings and sketches by more intelligent apps can help teach small children. e.g. a picture of a giraffe be replaced with a living 3D version of a giraffe and children could see how it looks in reality and they could interact with the same on a touchscreen!

* Recognition of printed versions of 3D objects can help create 3D simulations of those objects without having to actually build a physical model. This can be of great aid to people who constantly work with 3D applications such as architects and animators. We will talk about them in later chapters.

* Recognition based AR can be used in projectors to automatically detect a projectable surface and project on only the projectable area. The projection can be made interactive by using dynamic objects in the surroundings to command the projector. This can eventually be used with the projection mapping technique to autodetect various types of objects and send out projection imagery according to the size, distance and colour of the surface on which projection could be done. 

With projection based AR, your imagination is the only limit. There is a lot of research going on in this field and with time, more and more applications would pour in. If you are really excited about how you can create something like that of your own, we have tips for you at the end of
this book. For now, let us see the location based AR.


It would be an injustice not to mention this category when talking about AR. Location based augmented reality is one of most widely implemented applications of AR. The strongest force behind this is the easy availability of smartphones and the features that they provide in terms of location detection. Location based AR is mostly used to help travellers in their journey.

Location based AR in most cases is used for AR location browsers which help users discover interesting places within their current location. This method works by detecting the user’s location and orientation by reading data from the mobile’s GPS, digital compass and accelerometer and predicting where the user is looking; then adding related information on screen about the objects that can be seen from the camera.

Outlining AR

Though the human eye is known to be the best camera in the world, there are limitations. We cannot look at things for too long. We cannot see well in low light conditions and sure as anything, your eye cannot see in infrared. For such cases, special cameras were built. Augmented reality apps which perform outlining use such cameras. Once again, object recognition sits behind all that outlining AR can do. Let us begin with a lifesaving implementation example.

When driving a car on a road in foggy weather, the boundaries of the road may not be very visible to the human eye, leading to mishaps. Advanced cameras tuned specially to see the surroundings in low light conditions can be used to outline the road boundaries within which the car should stay. Such a system would prove very useful in avoiding accidents. With extra sensors capable of detecting objects around (e.g. by using ultrasound) the overall risk of hitting
some living object can be minimized as well.The technology can help you save pedestrian lives as well. Outlining people crossing the road on a HUD (Heads Up Display) windscreen can be more useful than having a separate infrared video feed.


Superimposition based AR provides an ‘alternate’ view of the object in concern, either by replacing the entire view with an augmented view of the object or by replacing a portion of the object view with an augmented view. In this case, once again, object recognition plays a vital role logically, if the application does not know what it is looking at, it most certainly cannot replace the original view with an augmented one.

Depending on what type of view is required, the technology can be used for multiple purposes.

* Doctors can use the technology to examine the patient from various angles in realtime. A live feed from an XRay machine can be used to superimpose the XRay view of the patient‘s body part on the real image to provide better understanding of the damage to bones. The application can be made to work via a head mounted display or special goggles. In other uses, the view can be shown on a screen where the video feed is taken from a real camera and XRay
vision can be imposed on it.

* In military applications, superimposition based AR can provide multiple views of a target object without showing extra information in text and blocking the vision of soldier from other important objects around. If you have been shooting enemies via your computer mouse, you’d already know how it would appear. Superimposition of infrared view or radioactive view of an object or an area can help save lives; or win wars! 

* Superimposition of ancient pictures over real ones can provide interesting views of historical places. Broken monuments can come back to life in all their original glory. Perhaps different eras complete with landscapes can be relived
with AR.

* To allow a tiger or snake near you might be a horrifying experience with hazardous consequences, except when superimposition AR is used to bring them to you. Placing a person in a location or situation which is otherwise dangerous can be can be safely accomplished via superimposition AR! 

* Superimposing a real object with its internal view can be helpful in education as well, for instance, to study bone structure. Though we have touched some of the most important types of augmented reality, there are a few others which cannot be easily classified to fall in one of the above said ones.


  •  Marketing and Advertisement
  •  Medical
  •  Education
  •  Entertainment, toys and games
  •  Military
  •  Navigation
  •  Product Launches
  •  Presentations


  •  Real world Gaming applications
  •  DIY Car repair
  •  Sales and Marketing
  •  Home constructions and designs
  •  In real world games such as Cricket, footballs.


  •  Better visualization of products by scanning barcodes, QR codes or by pure object recognition.
  •  Learning tools in schools
  •  City Planning and Architecture
  •  Political campaigns
  •  Gaming Industry
  •  Manufacturing
  •  Interior designing.


Thus, Augmented Reality is an evolving technology with tons of cool features and in future
it’s going to be a revolution in gaming and designing environment.

Karthik KPN


Welcome to Android-Action Blog. I’m a normal guy, who is passionate about Mobile Coding. Here I am writing about Android. Happy learning


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