Technical Terms: Augmented Reality

Apple is using the term Augmented Reality to describe the combination of camera, 3D graphics and motion detection to view the world through your iPhone and see additional added elements. This can be used for practical purposes or entertainment.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Technical Terms: Augmented Reality.

So let's take a look at a term that Apple has been using a lot recently in their marketing. The term is Augmented Reality. Very often this is abbreviated simply AR. But what is augmented reality? How is it related to virtual reality? What do you use it for? What equipment do you need to use augmented reality?

Basically, this is a technology right now that's primarily on the iPhone and also on the iPad. It combines three different elements. The first element is the camera. This is why it's something that you really need to use on your iPhone or iPad. You need to actually hold the device in front of you. The camera is recording what's in front and just showing it on your screen. The same way you go to take a picture you're actually using your screen as a view finder. So you look at the screen and the camera looks at the world beyond so you're kind of looking through, like you would look through binoculars or a telescope or something. But you're looking through your iPhone looking at the screen which is showing you what's on the camera on the other side.

Now the reason it does this is that it can add something to it. Augment the reality that you're seeing. What it's adding to it is going to be, usually, 3D graphics. So it's putting a 3D object in the scene. So you may be looking say at a table but it's actually putting a 3D object, say a chessboard, on the table. It's not really there when you look at the table with your eyes but when you look through the iPhone's camera you will actually see the object there on it could be like text. It could be labels. For instance augmented reality might be looking down the street and a label appears in front of each building to tell you what's in them or what the address is or something like that.

But there's a third element to it. It's not just static. It's actually live. So there's motion detection here. The idea is as you move your iPhone, and thus the camera and the viewpoint that you're looking at, the objects will react to that. So it's not just taking a static image of a table and putting a chessboard on it. It's actually taking this live image of the table and as you move the camera around the object seems to remain in the same place.

Here is something that's going to be an iOS 12. It's in the public beta now. It's a measurement app. It comes with the iPhone. Basically it shows you what you see through the camera and then it allows you to measure things. It actually locks onto things. So here it's measuring my white board in my office. This is a very simple application of augmented reality.

Apple has a great page that shows you all sorts of videos and examples of things with augmented reality. So you can look through it and you can see some of the examples here. Notice how it's using all three of these objects. It's using the camera. It's using 3D items that are being placed into this reality to augment it. It's using the motion of the iPhone so the objects seem to stay in the same place even if your viewpoint is changing slightly. If you want to see more of these examples just go to the page that Apple's got. It's You can go and look at the examples that they've got there.

Now with iOS 11 there's already a bunch of different apps that you can search for of augmented reality in the App Store. There are a few free ones to try out. A lot of little games, little utilities. Things like that. This stuff is going to become more and more common, I think, especially if Apple keeps pushing it like this. There could be some really interesting uses. Imagine, also, joint augmented reality. This is going to be something in iOS 12 where you'll actually have two people looking through two different iOS devices but seeing the same object like say a chessboard or a billiard table in the same location and being able to play a game or interact with virtual objects at the same time through their connected devices.

Comments: One Response to “Technical Terms: Augmented Reality”

    Vaman Kale
    9 months ago

    Thanks for this video. I am quite excited about AR and keep thinking of the practical uses it can be put to, besides entertainment. In particular, sharing an object and its GPS location is something I was hoping for, so that the other person gets to see it/ interact with it on their phone.

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