Definition — What is AR?
The term AR means Augmented Reality, this technology expands the real world with extra layers of digital information projected into it. AR combines the physical world with computer-generated virtual elements overlay. These 2D or 3D virtual content are projected in reality within people’s field of view (through smartphone camera or smartglasses), with the intent to make the physical and virtual world recognize each other and interact together with the help of computer vision and machine learning. This makes us understand why AR is technically a huge challenge: the virtual and real-world must coexist perfectly, and digital information has to recognize the real world, with its obstacles, natural objects, buildings, or people’s gestures, faces, etc. To permit smooth interactions with it, all this in real-time, which remains quite complicated for now. AR technology was invented in 1968, with Ivan Sutherland’s development of the first head-mounted display system. However, the term ‘Augmented Reality’ wasn’t coined until 1990 by Boeing researcher Thomas Caudell.
Today we see that the boundaries between digital and physical worlds are blurring. AR is quickly advancing into a new phase of enabling context-rich user experiences that combine sensors, wearable computing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence. That capability is a unique opportunity for value creation. AR technology will bring significant transformation to many areas of our economies in terms of productivity, competitiveness as well as the provision of new and innovative services for end-consumers.