What is augmented reality, anyway?
Posted by admin on 16th November 2018

Augmented reality systems show virtual objects in the real world – like cat ears and whiskers on a Snapchat selfie, or how well a particular chair might fit in a room. The first big break for AR was the “Pokémon GO” game, released in 2016 with a feature that let players see virtual Pokémon standing in front of them, ready to be captured and played with. Now, technology companies like Microsoft and Mozilla – the company behind the Firefox browser – and even retail businesses like IKEA and Lego are exploring the potential of AR.

Where I do research, an AR lab at the University of Michigan School of Information, it seems everyone knows about AR and is excited about the technology becoming popular among the general public. My colleagues and I watch videos of impressive AR demonstrations, try out new applications and play with new devices. The research community’s enthusiasm may be why several experts – including some I talk with – say they expect AR to be commonplace in five years, or envision AR glasses replacing smartphones within a decade.