Graphics, sound and 3-D video games have been around for a little over a decade. However, scientists and researchers have now managed to develop a new kind of technology that has left a very thin line between reality and the virtual world. Researchers have now managed to combine sound, smell, touch etc with graphics, giving the entire experience an augmented touch. Hence, the term augmented reality has come to exist, as technology has made it possible for us to feel graphics with all of our five senses.

How Augmented Reality works

The primary idea behind this new technology is that when sound, graphics and smell along with other sensory enhancements are superimposed over the real environment surroundings, an augmented reality is created. While some of you may be wondering that this technology has been used since ages for television broadcast, it is not so. However, certain televisions are offering something close to augmented reality with effects such as RACEf/x and the super-imposed first down line on football games featured on U.S. television. Nevertheless, these offer only a single point of view. The new, more developed augmented reality devices, rather offer a multifaceted point of view, keeping every user in mind. One such device or apparatus is termed as SixthSense and has been proven quite successful so far as demonstrations and experiments conducted are concerned.

Uses of augmented reality

* Augmented reality on mobile phones – This new technology is already making its way into masses through various applications available on mobile phones like iphones and other highly developed devices.

Layar – With the help of applications like Layar, getting information of the surrounding area or the restaurants etc has become extremely easy. Layar works by gathering information on the surrounding area using the camera and GPS of the phone. Then it displays the information with regards to all the restaurants available. Layar can also deliver you the information like jobs available amongst all the companies within a building. All you have to do is point the phone towards the building you are interested in.

Yelp – Another application working on patterns similar to augmented reality is Yelp. Like Layar, Yelp too provides information about the restaurants available within the area, in addition to restaurant ratings and reviews as well.

* Augmented reality as video games – These days, augmented reality is being used within the video gaming world as well.

Total Immersion – A company has recently launched new software which works with baseball cards and applies augmented reality to it. All you need to do is download the software (Total Immersion) from the net and install it on your computer. Next hold your baseball card in front of the webcam. As the card is recognized by the software, it will create a 3-D image of the player (on the card) on the computer screen, even while opening the related videos. All you need to do to play the game then is move your hands and the 3-D figure will automatically perform the action.

US Military – These days, even the US military is now ready to use augmented reality to train their soldiers. A Canadian company, Arcane Technologies has already sold augmented-reality devices to the US military.


While augmented reality is all set to open its doors towards a new era in technology, it is not without limitations. Some people are of the belief that over reliance on augmented reality might rather make people miss out on what is in front of them. This means that even though there is a guide available to get them across the city, people would rather go for augmented reality to know the city. Then again, image recognition software may rather raise a question regarding one’s privacy, as this software empowers a person to know anything about you.

Nevertheless, if used in a positive manner, augmented reality might prove to be a great help in training and education fields.