What is augmented reality

Geschiedenis van augmented reality

The possibilities and future of Augmented Reality

What is augmented reality?

We've been using it for years, we see it everywhere, but what exactly is augmented reality and what do we use it for?

In recent years we have been bombarded with new developments and new technologies, things that seemed unimaginable 20 years ago. The hardest part, of course, is to keep abreast of all these new developments. Sometimes it seems like time is passing you by and all these new gadgets appear out of nowhere. What if I told you this isn't the case? That most “new technologies” have often been around for years, but have only recently become affordable for the ordinary private individual?

To this day, augmented reality is already visible on TV every day. Whether you're watching football or following the news AR is automatically included and has been for years. Does that seem crazy? Then read on and let yourself be carried away by the wonders of this technology that is available to everyone today.


The difference between virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality

Het verschil tussen virtual reality, augmented Reality en mixed reality

There are 3 concepts in which there are many overlaps. Despite the differences, they all come from roughly the same concept.

mixed reality:

You combine reality and virtuality in a very nice way, this allows for example in games to transform the room into a battlefield. You are still in the same room, but everything around you has been replaced by a simulated fantasy world. This brings together both augmented reality and virtual reality.

Virtual reality:

You end up in a fully simulated environment thanks to the VR glasses. The only difference with mixed reality is that it is fully simulated and therefore has no similarities with your environment. It is great fun for both games and military training purposes. The downside is that this technology isn't ready yet. It can be harmful to the eyes, and nausea can be caused by middle ear malfunction.

What is augmented reality and what are the possibilities?

With augmented reality you place a piece virtually in reality. In football, for example, this is the score that you can follow during the match. That score is not in front of the camera, but you can follow it perfectly.

The most famous form of AR is Pokemon GO and IKEA. When you find a pokemon you can see it in your room, a live image of your room with suddenly your new asset on the coffee table. And I think everyone has decorated their home with IKEA furniture? You can test the furniture via the website before you go to the store, you place your piece of furniture in the desired space and you see that it fits, simple, right?


A little bit of history

Augmented reality has been around longer than you think

Geschiedenis van augmented reality

The history of augmented reality

1968: Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproull are developing VR glasses, which of course formed a very primitive image. This device, called sword of damocles, was our first experience with what would become AR.

1975: Myron Krueger developed a system to manipulate digital images through human movements. This project was named Videoplace.

1980: In the beginning, Steve Mann developed the first portable computer called EyeTap. It is the primitive predecessor of the smart glass.

1987: Here Douglas George and Robert Morris discovered the first form of HUD (heads-up display) where you could view astronomical data in the sky.

1990: This is the birth of the term augmented reality. Thomas Caudell and David Mizell, 2 researchers for Boeing, first came up with this term. In 1992 Louis Rosenberg of the US Air Force invented the system called Virtual Fixtures. This was the first real AR that allowed you to modify reality.

After this, developments followed one another until today we can attribute both the Google Glass and Pokemon Go to the success of all of the above.


Useful Links

The sword of damocles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtwZXGprxag
Video place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmmxVA5xhuo
eye tap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSAGHqcVupE


What is augmented reality used for

Augmented reality - wat kun je er mee

There are many applications, but one of the more well-known is object recognition. By scanning an object registered by the system, you get extra information about the product or image. For example, more information about the history of a painting or monument. It has many similarities with virtual reality, but the main differences are that with VR you overlap almost all reality with AR only adding a small amount. This allows information to be displayed intuitively and you can also interact with it in an interactive way.


Thanks to the quality and computing power of the smartphones, the market has started to focus on this. Apps can respond to this and thanks to Bluetooth and WiFi they are also easy to combine with smart glasses and other systems.
There are, of course, a number of things developers should take into account. And hereby making these applications mobile came as an example. It must of course be affordable, robust, it must be both autonomous and compatible with other applications, it must contain real time tracking, a good structure and, above all, a company must continue to invest time and effort in innovating. It is a rapidly growing market and a “new product” quickly becomes obsolete. It is a constant battle between competitors and the courage to take risks, because of course not everything works, even though it seemed like a very good idea.

Where is AR all applied?

From computer games to complex medical operations AR is useful everywhere. In an amusement park attraction or even in your car. If you want to park backwards, you will see an arrow on your screen with your driving direction while you see the street behind your car.
In education and museums you can convey information in a fun way.
Not to mention in fighter planes you sometimes see virtual boxes with information about altitude, fuel,… I think everyone has seen this in a movie?
At Iron Man, for example, this is incorporated in his helmet, but Arnold Schwarzenegger in the terminator also supposedly uses this system.

In the healthcare and medical sector

There is also an increasing demand for AR in both the healthcare and medical sectors these days. We are all getting older and that naturally also means that there is more pressure on the most efficient use of manpower and budget. But also because the number of children continues to decrease every year, the focus is increasingly on the elderly. But how does this fit within this sector?
– Via a tablet or even glasses you can view patient files and follow up important reminders.
– This is user-friendly and time-saving, but of course also reduces the risk of errors.
– You can beautifully convey and explain information about operations and procedures by adding mixed reality and, for example, showing a 3D beating heart for a more correct explanation.

Seniors can stay independent longer

It is also a good solution to allow seniors to remain mobile for longer and, for example, to keep them at home longer. Through glasses where an alarm would be shown as a reminder not to forget the medication until scanning the medication to see if it is the right one and showing how many pills to take. Phone calls can be taken without having to walk to the phone and via the camera you can call for help remotely from family or caregivers and also show the problem immediately.

It was a lot about the medical sector, but it is a good example to show that it can indeed have a good influence on our society.

Staying social during this period

What is one of the biggest problems of our time? People are no longer social because of smartphones, web shops, games. Young people no longer go outside, people no longer talk to each other by always staring at the screen. Can I completely deny this? No, it is a time when indeed personal contact is no longer the main thing. But with the AR glasses you can keep in perfect contact with the people around you, it can even promote human interaction. A good example is doctors and patients. Instead of flipping through files, you can call up the right information both by voice and by means of gestures. You don't have to stop the interaction and make everything even more personal.

Make choices

It is of course not easy to choose which system is best for your application. Especially since not every system fits your goal and many pilot programs are already running. Both hardware and software must be coordinated and it must work accurately. If a company grows, this software must also be able to grow with it. It is therefore always recommended to seek professional help before making a decision. Google is nice, but of course anyone can write whatever they want on it. Find an expert and get informed, ask for a second opinion if necessary. Never go over lightly because it is quite an investment, and not completely in order from day one. Often adjustments are needed to optimize it for your company. But don't worry, it makes everything easier in the long run, and thanks to advances in technology, these start-up periods no longer last as long as they used to.
If you are a private individual, I advise you to search on google and often you also have the option to test or look up reviews. Make a budget and adjust to what you really need. Also know that buying cheap is often buying expensive! The middle way is always beautiful.



Of course it's been a lot of information, but keep in mind that all these new developments make our daily lives easier, safer and more productive. It takes pressure off many people and can also benefit your health. We are often afraid of new things and what this will do in the future. But it is only thanks to these innovations that we can continue to grow as humans and distinguish ourselves on a daily basis. What we have been able to achieve in the past decades no one ever thought possible but has taken a lot of hard work and creativity. It took blood, sweat and tears to get to this point. Enjoy these technical gadgets and be open to innovation, but always stay informed! The right information can save you both time and money so that you can continue to enjoy without frustration.

Now you can answer someone's question when you hear: What exactly is augmented reality?

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