Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is the ability to add digital content to the physical world. This can be achieved in a variety of ways: triggered by location (GeoPOI Geographic Point of Interest); triggered by an image or 3d article; and now triggered by a physical condition (eg fitbit sensing physical motion). The physical world is a part of the experience as opposed to virtual reality (VR) where the viewer is immersed in an alternative world with no reference to reality.

In each case data is sent to a database via an app, the data is compared and then information sent back to the app in response. The result can be text overlays to show where the nearest tube station is, a video, a 3d model, links to web pages, audio file played, the response is only limited by the device your app is on. The simplest version is a QR code but advances in technology have enabled more interactive possibilities with the technology.

In education this has multiple uses which have been deployed practically by practitioners. Promoting kinaesthetic learning by setting up trails. Providing learning at the point of need through self-help posters. Creating access to materials with low-cognitive load for low level learners. Alongside this greater engagement, improved self-directed learning, improved achievements and freeing time for teaching staff have resulted.

Further reading: Immersive Learning Experiences through Augmented Reality

In industry it is being deployed in many ways: in advertising and marketing it has become a standard channel of communication; in engineering and automotive it can be used to overlay information leaving hands free to work. in areas like safety apps are being developed to help train for emergencies on oil rigs. There is also work being carried out on making use of it to augment senses for those with impairments.

Judy Bloxham

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