Picture yourself walking or driving down the street. With Augmented Reality displays, which will eventually look much like a normal pair of glasses, informative graphics will appear in your field of view, and audio will coincide with whatever you see. These enhancements will be refreshed continually to reflect the movements of your head.
Augmented Reality is an emerging field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data, where computer graphics objects, audio and other sense enhancements are blended into real footage in real time.
Besides superimposing, it also change those graphics to accommodate a user’s head- and eye- movements, so that the graphics always fit the perspective. This new technology will further blur the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated.
You can expect video games to drive the development of Augmented Reality, but this technology will have countless applications. Everyone from tourists to military troops will benefit from the ability to place computer-generated graphics in their field of vision.
The devices fall into two categories: optical see-through and video see-through.
For the optical see-through category, the technology is still in an early stage of research and development at various universities and high-tech companies. Eventually, possible within a couple of years, we will see the first mass-marketed Augmented Reality systems.
But within the video see-through category, recent introduction of mobile devices which features GPS, camera, compass and accelerometer such as the Google Android and Apple’s Iphone, is making Augmented Reality available for a broad audience. Also Sony’s Playstation is now introducing the first generation of products based of the new technology.
Below you will find a number of examples of AR used on mobile devices and on Sony’s Playstation:
Wikipedia: Augmented Reality
Mashable: Augmented Reality Devices: See the Online World While Walking the Real One
Gadget Lab: How it Works: Augmented Reality
The Apple Blog: First Augmented Reality App for the iPhone Is Live