Augmented Reality

Enable Artificial Intelligence to Reason and Act

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is an experience where designers enhance parts of users’ physical world with computer-generated input. Designers create inputs—ranging from sound to video, to graphics to GPS overlays and more—in digital content which responds in real time to changes in the user’s environment, typically movement.

Search what you see with AR Lens.

Sometimes the things we want to search for are hard to describe in a search box. Other times, words are precisely the thing we’re interested in. Just point your camera and AR Lens can help.

AR’s Place in the World of Extended Reality

Augmented reality has science-fiction roots dating to 1901. However, Thomas Caudell described the term as a technology only in 1990 while designing to help Boeing workers visualize intricate aircraft systems. A major advance came in 1992 with Louis Rosenberg’s complex Virtual Fixtures AR system for the US Air Force. AR releases followed in the consumer world, most notably the ARQuake game (2000) and the design tool ARToolkit (2009). The 2010s witnessed a technological explosion—for example, with Microsoft’s HoloLens in 2015—that stretched beyond AR in the classical sense, while AR software itself became increasingly sophisticated, popular and affordable.

With advances in AR technology, these examples are not that different from what might already be available for your smartphone. Augmented reality is, in fact, readily available and being used in a myriad of ways including as Snapchat lenses, in apps that help you find your car in a crowded parking lot, and in variety of shopping apps that let you try on clothes without even leaving home.

Perhaps the most famous example of AR technology is the mobile app Pokemon Go, which was released in 2016 and quickly became an inescapable sensation. In the game, players locate and capture Pokemon characters that pop up in the real world—on your sidewalk, in a fountain, even in your own bathroom.

Games aside, there are as many uses for AR in our everyday lives as there are Pikachu on the loose in Pokemon GO. Here are just a few examples:

How to Take Digitalized Steps in the Analogue World

You have numerous design considerations, namely:
Safety
Remember users’ real-world contexts; don’t distract/mislead them into danger.
Overkill
Beware of drowning users’ senses with meaningless data; keep experiences contextualized.
Environment
Unlike desktop experiences, AR happens anywhere. So, aim primarily for users’ contexts regarding whether they’re outdoors/indoors and moving/static
Comfort
Make comfortable designs to prevent physical strains and reduce cognitive load.
Security
AR data is rich; so, design to ensure users’ data is secure.