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Pokémon Go was one of the most successful mobile games of all time. Why? Maybe it was because it was one of the first games that easily immersed itself into player’s real lives. Maybe it was because players loved the thrill of the chase. Either way, Pokémon Go was one of the first widely used mobile games that used AR. This was a very public platform that introduced many people to AR technology and showcased the coming possibilities for AR.



What is it?

Augmented Reality (AR) is an interactive technology that alters real-life by adding virtual graphics and sounds to our real environments. It aims to expand our sensory experiences of the world around us by adding another dimension of entertainment or information. Pokémon Go used AR to bring Pokémon characters into the real world, unifying our daily lives with the game. Another common example of AR would be the great Snapchat filters that transform our faces by distorting our features or adding a pair of ears to our head. Beyond entertainment, AR can help us achieve daily, mundane tasks.  IKEA’s catalogue app and the Heads-Up display on some vehicles show how AR can help simplify furniture selection and our driving experiences.


How Does it Work?

There are a few ways that AR technology works. Depending on the purpose of the technology and level of sophistication required, AR can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). This is the most complex and effective tool for achieving AR. By collecting data on the complete environment and capturing multiple sensors SLAM can overlay AR graphics and sounds. What makes this tool the most sophisticated is that the technology is constantly updating its data on sensors and your location to keep the AR experience as strong as possible.
  • Recognition-Based. This AR operates by using a camera and visual identifiers, like a QR code. The camera recognizes the identifier and calculates its position and orientation to reveal a virtual image or experience.
  • Location-Based. AR is activated through inputting location data from a GPS or digital compass. Therefore depending on your location, the AR you experience will differ. This type of AR is most commonly used for mapping directions and business ad pop-ups.

Wth any of the above three methods, AR can be used on many devices. This includes phones, tablets, glasses, screens and, head-mounted displays.


Security Concerns

AR technology may be a goldmine for hackers. Malicious hackers could access our AR streams and distort the images and sounds we experience to do harm. Whether that be through changing the GPS directions we receive or adding images that confuse our actions, there is the potential for hackers to change the way we see and act in the world. Additionally, to use AR one has to allow the technology into every aspect of their life. This allows AR to have privy to all the audio and visual features we experience each day. Hackers could access these audio and visual aspects of our lives to gain information about us which may allow for identity theft and financial manipulation.

As AR technology continues to develop, the possibilities for its usage will grow with it. Currently, AR technology will likely have the biggest impact on Marketing, Gaming and, E-commerce by changing the way these industries communicate and interact with customers. But, along with the growth of possibilities, there will be a growth in security concerns. Therefore, mitigating these issues will be a large determinant factor in the success of AR technology.


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Emily Cummings

Author Emily Cummings

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