It’s nearly the end of another year where we’ve seen yet more awe-inspiring technological breakthroughs such as cloud-based AI services and quantum computing moving into the real world. With an overwhelming abundance in new tech comes the inevitable daunting supply of terminology that might actually scare the average person away from using emerging technologies to their full advantage.
Despite moving into the mainstream over the last few years with global sensations such as the Pokemon Go! Mobile AR game and Auggd’s client branded design apps, the full potential of Augmented Reality is still unknown to a large portion of today’s society. Let’s follow you through 9 essential terms to help you grasp Augmented Reality.
We’ve started on a simple one to kick things off but it’s one of the most commonly used and important terms in Augmented Reality. Once you have your AR app downloaded onto your phone/tablet and you’re ready to get started, you need your design, or printed material to prompt the 3D content once your device is pointed at it. For your augmented reality to be stable and coordinated, the mobile device requires a trigger to lock to its position and know where/when to place the content.
Also described as a marker, a trigger should have the following characteristics to assist the app in recognising which experience corresponds to the correct trigger.
- Uniqueness – the trigger acts like a digital fingerprint with the camera seeing it as a series of unique dots.
- Multiple exclusive features – elaborating on the first step so that various areas of the trigger can be tracked individually
- Visible contrast and size of exclusive features – you don’t want to be halted by different lighting and distances that could cause the app to lose your trigger.
Triggers come in the form of books, posters, business cards, stickers, billboards, and even displayed on digital screens. With no limitations on size either, a trigger can be as small as a stamp or as large as a billboard. Unsure whether you have an adequate trigger for your application? Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.
- Render engine
All AR experiences that depend upon displaying 3D content need a real-time engine to display the content. Unity and Unreal are commonly used examples which generate the graphical output for the AR industry.
A render engine displays the 3D model on your device’s screen and “live-creates” the data as you move through and interact with the 3D content.
- Motion Capture
Synonymous with animation studios and modern video game development, motion capture measures and records the movement of a person/ animal/object. Either by wearing a suit lined with attached sensors or using a multi-camera system, every move is documented and reproduced using animation or any humanoid character a la avatar.
At Auggd we prefer a simpler approach, using green screen video as a technique to create fast hologram like experiences without the need of a motion capture studio or suit attached to a digital avatar.
- GPS trigger
Whether you’re a complete novice or already getting your hands stuck into Augmented Reality, the concept of a GPS trigger should be familiar to most of you for one reason alone, if not more – Pokemon Go!
The AR game which took the world by storm a few years back makes primary use of GPS triggers. Developers plot GPS points on a global map which directs the app where to show the 3D content once someone has their camera over that specific predetermined point.
This technology has been integrated into educational applications too such as the Walking with Dinosaurs 3D app where children and adults alike can open the app, scan the environment, discover and learn about different species of dinosaurs. Sounds fun, right!?
If your project requires GPS, or is a custom experience, please get in touch as we have many years developing world class apps and experiences.
- Live render
3D content comes in two separate models. Live Render is highly interactive 3D content and remarkably entertaining, however it does suffer in quality. The computer is learning, building and reacting to whatever actions are presented to it and all in real time, similar to a game. As the circumstances change around it, the computer will react.
A fantastic example of Live Render in Augmented Reality was presented at Comic Con in London where an AR Alien would react to people as they walked up to him, held him, shook his hand and even gave him a massage! Live Render is an example of what many in the industry call a “magic mirror” and is yet another essential term you really need to know in Augmented Reality.
Now that you have a good understanding of the wonders of Live Render, Pre-Render should be a breeze. That’s right, it’s the polar opposite of it’s Live cousin.
A pre-render sequence is very similar to a recording or roll of film. It runs along a defined progression and cannot be changed in real time with any kind of interaction. Hence, pre-render quality is generally of much higher quality in terms of, texture, colour and detail.
An amazing display of pre-render AR was carried by the famous Guinness World Records where the public would view themselves in the big screen in front of them along with many of the record holders playing out the roles that distinguished them, bringing their stories to life. That being said, the crowd did not have any effect on the AR no matter what they did.
Other great examples of magic mirror AR experiences have been created by National Geographic and Lynx. Our team at Auggd had the pleasure of creating a magic mirror experience for children to learn good energy practices at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo with the experiences sponsored by Ausgrid.
We have also built portable magic mirrors for Telstra Thanks (Australian Telecommunication company) that were transported around Australia to allow people to interact with the stars from the hollywood movies, “Man of Steel” and “The Smurfs”, and socially share their augmented photos to promote the films.
- Gesture Control
With Microsoft’s XBox Kinect and Sony’s Playstation Move sweeping through households across the developed world, Gesture Control should be a term known to many of us. This technology uses state-of-the-art cameras to recognise the movements of the individual or object in front of them to control the content displayed on screen without any actual physical interaction.
This fascinating technology is changing everyday life through changing the tv channel with a mere hand gesture to controlling the devices in your car without having to take your eyes of the road. Even O.R. Tambo International Airport in South Africa had a coffee company install a machine that dispensed free coffee to each travelling customer that yawned when ordering a caffeinated delight.
The technology is the cornerstone to interactions in digital AR eyewear produced by Microsoft called the “Hololens” which allows for hands free interactions of digital content, predominately for enterprise applications of mixed reality. The Hololens is a great example of how the XBox Kinect was miniaturised to fit into a wearable device allowing it to not only scan (in real-time) the real-world to create amazing AR experiences, but it allows for gesture control and interactions within these digital augmentations.
- Mobile AR
Feeling more clued up yet? We have two more terms to touch on starting with Mobile AR. Essentially, this term describes all Augmented Reality activity performed on an iOS or Android mobile device where an AR app is downloaded and installed, much like any other mobile phone application.
Mobile AR has grown immensely since Apple’s App Store was first released back in 2008 with the numbers reaching over 20,000 augmented reality apps for iOS alone while Android users enjoy around 2,000 applications.
It’s growth can be deduced down to the drive of 3 use cases: Creative, Contextual and Connected Apps. Creative apps give users the ability to create and enhance content. Filmr is a great example of a Mobile AR app which enables quick and simple film editing through a combination of their editing tools with an array of AR effects and animated 3D characters.
AR developers are now able to overlay content and data to enhance your knowledge of your surroundings through contextual applications like the norwegian transportation app, Entur. Using optical devices such as Google Lens, a user can gather data at bus stops, train stations etc. of times, delays, travel schedules and more just by being in the vicinity of the respective transportation area.
Connected apps allow the user to connect with service providers. Streem is a connected app that enables users to connect with service professionals with a tap of a button and have them solve their household problems such as plumbing. Through the app, the user will visually display what the problem is and the professional will visually display the specific areas that need attention and how to rectify them.
All of this over our mobile device. You can see why it is becoming ever popular, can’t you? And it’s only going to get bigger and better with 500 million AR enabled smartphones reported to be in circulation across the world already.
At Auggd, we have built over 300 custom branded applications for our clients. As all of our work is white labelled, the majority of you have probably never heard of Auggd, however, we are able to get a custom app in your hands in less than a week and available to your customers in as little as two.
- Mixed Reality
A popular term coined by Microsoft ends our list (for now). Mixed reality is the magical description created to encompass all immersive experiences.
Imagine a line with the real world environment at one end and the virtual at the other end. As we are all well aware, Virtual Reality is when you take yourself and completely immerse yourself in a virtual world. Hence why its at the opposite end to the real world. Augmented Reality is when you take digital information and integrate it into the real environment, hence why it’s closer to that end of the spectrum. The more digital that replaces the real world, the more AR heads towards VR and so on and so forth.
Portal experiences are a great example of a digital doorway that can appear in AR, however, when the user walks into the AR doorway experience it becomes VR. When the user turns and sees the doorway, and the camera view back into the real world, that is when you’re in Augmented Virtuality (AV).
Mixed reality, either as a singular concept or used to describe the entire spectrum of cases between actual real world reality and virtual reality, attempts to incorporate the best of both virtual reality and augmented reality. When both real and virtual worlds are merged together, new environments and visualisations become possible where physical and digital objects can coexist and interact in real time.
If you have an ARKit supported iPhone or iPad, why not experience portal experiences from the AR app we developed for Transurban.
Augmented Reality in 2019…
At Auggd we’re constantly innovating and adding new features to our cloud based Content Manager (CMS) platform. This year one of the many new features we added was full support for ARkit experiences allowing for these triggerless experiences to not just be 3D static content. They can be animated, made interactive, and more immersive with support for full size digital green screen (holograms), popups, videos and interactive panoramas.
Augmented Reality is growing, improving and evolving from year to year and 2019 is set for even further expansion