Augmented reality (AR)
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computer science crazy
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21-09-2008, 11:02 AM

Augmented reality (AR) refers to computer displays that add virtual information to a user's sensory perceptions. Most AR research focuses on see-through devices, usually worn on the head that overlay graphics and text on the user's view of his or her surroundings. In general it superimposes graphics over a real world environment in real time.
Getting the right information at the right time and the right place is key in all these applications. Personal digital assistants such as the Palm and the Pocket PC can provide timely information using wireless networking and Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers that constantly track the handheld devices. But what makes augmented reality different is how the information is presented: not on a separate display but integrated with the user's perceptions. This kind of interface minimizes the extra mental effort that a user has to expend when switching his or her attention back and forth between real-world tasks and a computer screen. In augmented reality, the user's view of the world and the computer interface literally become one.

Between the extremes of real life and Virtual Reality lies the spectrum of Mixed Reality, in which views of the real world are combined in some proportion with views of a virtual environment. Combining direct view, stereoscopic video, and stereoscopic graphics, Augmented Reality describes that class of displays that consists primarily of a real environment, with graphic enhancements or augmentations.In Augmented Virtuality, real objects are added to a virtual environment. In Augmented reality, virtual objects are added to real world. An AR system supplements the real world with virtual (computer generated) objects that appear to co-exist in the same space as the real world. Virtual Reality is a synthetic environment Comparison between AR and virtual environments.The overall requirements of AR can be summarized by comparing them against the requirements for Virtual Environments, for the three basic subsystems that they require.

1) Scene generator: Rendering is not currently one of the major problems in AR. VE systems have much higher requirements for realistic images because they completely replace the real world with the virtual environment. In AR, the virtual images only supplement the real world. Therefore, fewer virtual objects need to be drawn, and they do not necessarily have to be realistically rendered in order to serve the purposes of the application.

2) Display device: The display devices used in AR may have less stringent requirements than VE systems demand, again because AR does not replace the real world. For example, monochrome displays may be adequate for some AR applications, while virtually all VE systems today use full color. Optical see-through HMDs with a small field-of-view may be satisfactory because the user can still see the real world with his peripheral vision; the see-through HMD does not shut off the user's normal field-of-view. Furthermore, the resolution of the monitor in an optical see-through HMD might be lower than what a user would tolerate in a VE application, since the optical see-through HMD does not reduce the resolution of the real environment.

3) Tracking and sensing: While in the previous two cases AR had lower requirements than VE, that is not the case for tracking and sensing. In this area, the requirements for AR are much stricter than those for VE systems. A major reason for this is the registration problem.
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