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Augmented Reality is the overlay of computer- generated media andinformation onto a video feed of the real world.
The most familiar, and one of the oldest, version of AR is the heads-up display most often used in aircraft. The heads-up display provides real-time information about the aircraft’s speed, heading, and condition to the pilot, without obscuring the pilot’s view of the sky beyond.
The 2002 film adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, featured near-ubiquitous use of augmented reality, including interactive personalized advertisements overlaid over the real world. The ongoing Japanese anime series Ghost in the Shell also features augmented reality. In this series, characters access the Internet wirelessly through augmented reality interfaces.
MIT, Harvard, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison have developed the Handheld Augmented Reality Program (HARP), using AR games to teach math and science skills to students in middle school http://isites. harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=harp Britain’s Connected Education has created software converting PlayStation Portable devices into Augmented Reality machines. http:// www.computeractive.co.uk/computeractive/news /2256084/playstations-augmented-reality
Beyond Reality has registered http://www. augmented-reality-games.com/ and begun work on markerless AR (and have posted several concept videos) The number of AR games are increasing rapidly, and this site lists the ten with the greatest technical and imaginative potential: http://gamesalfresco.com/2008/03/03/top- 10-augmented-reality-demos-that-will- revolutionize-video-games/
PDAs and Smart Phones (Apple’s iPhone, Google Phones, etc) are the primary widespread tools for accessing Augmented Reality content. In laboratory and academic settings, users can use cutting-edge wearable Augmented Reality goggles and cameras, allowing them to see the augmented images directly, rather than on a small screen.
The technology is fast becoming available to allow the general public to view AR directly. Brother is unveiling a wearable Retinal Imaging Device (glasses that project images directly into the wearer’s eyes). http://www.brother.com/en/news/2008/rid/ Hunter’s Specialties i-Kam Xtreme sunglasses include a built-in videocamera. Combining the two technologies would allow for commercial, wearable AR access.
Widespread AR use could lead to embedded tourist or historical information, accessible simply by looking at the corresponding location. A viewer could access restaurant reviews simply by looking at the outside of the restaurant, or could have a virtual tour guide to wherever they happen to be. Industrial uses are widespread. From manufacture to maintenance to training, the ability to access reference materials “hands free” at any time could be extremely valuable.
Augmented Reality field trips “Scavenger Hunts” in which the students search a physical area for embedded virtual clues Educational AR games that can be played anywhere. These can be solo games, but they can also involve cooperation and competition between massive numbers of players/learners. Collaborative AR classroom projects