What is: Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a form of virtual reality in which the physical, real-world environment is duplicated inside a computer. It offers an immersive experience that bridges the physical and the digital worlds. Unlike virtual reality, which replaces the real world with a simulated one, AR functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. Augmented Reality is “the interaction of superimposed graphics, audio and other sense enhancements over a real-world environment that’s displayed in real-time.” (Digital

Trends, 2009).

Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.

AR can, for example, transform a traditional medium such as a print ad into an interactive platform for the delivery of rich media to the customer, such as video, audio, graphics and 3D models.

AR apps may soon give QR codes a run for their money. Vivian Rosenthal (2013), CEO of GoldRun, notes that “Brands and agencies will increasingly use augmented reality platforms to create deeper engagements with consumers that go beyond a ‘like’ or comment on Facebook and instead create a call-to-action that allows users to interact with their products and characters in a more personal way.”