Making digital work real

Online Reflection, Week 12: Human Computer Interaction

Asher Rolle
Nov 21, 2018 · 7 min read

What Is Augmented Reality?

According to realitytechnologies.com, it is an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real-world, thus enhancing one’s current perception of reality. “ The origin of the word augmented is augment, which means “to add or enhance something. In the case of Augmented Reality (also called AR), graphics, sounds, and touch feedback are added into our natural world to create an enhanced user experience.”

Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. As both virtual and real worlds harmoniously coexist, users of augmented reality experience a new and improved natural world where virtual information is used as a tool to provide assistance in everyday activities.

Augmented reality apps are written in special 3D programs that allow the developer to tie animation or contextual digital information in the computer program to an augmented reality “marker” in the real world. When a computing device’s AR app or browser plug-in receives digital information from a known marker, it begins to execute the marker’s code and layer the correct image or images.

Types of Augmented Reality

Marker Based Augmented Reality

Marker-based augmented reality (also called Image Recognition) uses a camera and some type of visual marker, such as a QR/2D code, to produce a result only when the marker is sensed by a reader. Marker based applications use a camera on the device to distinguish a marker from any other real world object. Distinct, but simple patterns (such as a QR code) are used as the markers, because they can be easily recognized and do not require a lot of processing power to read. The position and orientation is also calculated, in which some type of content and/or information is then overlaid the marker.


Markerless Augmented Reality

As one of the most widely implemented applications of augmented reality, markerless (also called location-based, position-based, or GPS) augmented reality, uses a GPS, digital compass, velocity meter, or accelerometer which is embedded in the device to provide data based on your location. A strong force behind markerless augmented reality technology is the wide availability of smartphones and location detection features they provide. It is most commonly used for mapping directions, finding nearby businesses, and other location-centric mobile applications.


Projection Based Augmented Reality

Projection based augmented reality works by projecting artificial light onto real world surfaces. Projection based augmented reality applications allow for human interaction by sending light onto a real world surface and then sensing the human interaction (i.e. touch) of that projected light. Detecting the user’s interaction is done by differentiating between an expected (or known) projection and the altered projection (caused by the user’s interaction). Another interesting application of projection based augmented reality utilizes laser plasma technology to project a three-dimensional (3D) interactive hologram into mid-air.


Superimposition Based Augmented Reality

Superimposition based augmented reality either partially or fully replaces the original view of an object with a newly augmented view of that same object. In superimposition based augmented reality, object recognition plays a vital role because the application cannot replace the original view with an augmented one if it cannot determine what the object is. A strong consumer-facing example of superimposition based augmented reality could be found in the IKEA augmented reality furniture catalog. By downloading an app and scanning selected pages in their printed or digital catalog, users can place virtual IKEA furniture in their own home with the help of augmented reality.

What inspired it/what is it based on?

Augmented reality has been in many projects over years.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have exploded for $1.1 billion in investment this year and it’s still considered the origins of the future of computing. Throughout the 20th century, AR developed into the refined technology that exists today.

From the first virtual yellow line marker in live NFL games to assisting NASA flight simulations — augmented reality has had a progressive impact over the years.

Timeline of Augmented Reality

In what ways does it relate to the readings this week?

In the article “Human Computer Interaction” taken from The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed, it defines HCI as an area of research and practice that specializes in the area of computer science, that embraces cognitive science and human factors engineering. HCI is about understanding and critically evaluating the interactive technologies people use and experience. But it is also about how those interactions evolve as people appropriate technologies, as their expectations, concepts and skills develop, and as they articulate new needs, new interests, and new visions and agendas for interactive technology. (Page 18, 2.4)

My first experience with augmented reality was with an app called PokemonGo. This game was popular all around the world. The objective of this game was to travel around your city or maybe the world and catch pokemons digitally. This pushed persons to get up and go outside rather than sitting down at your home on the app. Persons would walk around their neighborhood and catch the different Pokemons using the GPS on the app. The use of augmented resality to produce the pokemon in real space enhanced the user’s experience.

What can we learn from this particular product or service? What are the potential design implications and opportunities?

We can learn that mobile AR experiences and voice control mean that the future of AR gaming is not far on the horizon. Augmented reality captures our imagination like no other technology can. AR advancements in gaming and entertainment have given a lot of steam to the industry and other market are taking notice.

Implications of Augmented Reality

  1. Maximise the power of immersion

Simply put, AR will continue to present a great opportunity for brands to deliver really deep engagement, at scale with AR offering exceptionally high engagement and attention levels. As you’ll see in Layered, AR drives 45% higher levels of attention in the brain than other forms of media like TV viewing or general online browsing.

2. Identify moments of assistance

AR will increasingly be a visual medium that brands can use to deliver utility and assistance. Brands need to identify the specific point of friction within the consumer journey and where AR can offer a real solution. A third of consumers believe AR would help them narrow down their product choices.

3. Add additional layers to your “owned” assets

There’s growing expectation that physical objects will have extra layers of content. Brands have a great opportunity with their owned assets, whether that be the product itself, the retail environment, their own app, or the packaging to create a fully immersive experience that can increasingly be personalized.

4. Prepare internal capabilities for always-on AR

AR activations will be less ad hoc, campaign-based and more strategically focussed as we move towards “always on” marketing communications. Brands will need to adapt and think about their own internal capabilities and processes to enable that to happen from an organizational perspective.

5. Optimise content for computer vision

Last but not least, as computer vision, particularly Google Lens gain traction, brands will need to think about SEO for image recognition and how searcher intent applies to the real world — ensuring the right context overlays are surfaced when physical objects are recognized.

Future of Augmented Reality

References

Human Computer Interaction The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.

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