Chapter 1

Introducing Augmented Reality (AR)


  • What is augmented reality?
  • Types of augmented reality
  • Why augmented reality is useful

This chapter introduces you to the various augmented reality technologies and provides details of some applications that you may want to try.


I first stumbled upon augmented reality (AR) in February 2009 when I was working for Symbian, the company that developed the mobile OS for S60, UIQ, and MOAP smartphones. It was a Friday afternoon and I was in need of some distractions after a particularly long meeting about the annual Smartphone Show we were planning.

Like many companies, we had a forum where employees could post interesting things they have found on the web; one of those interesting things happened to be an AR video. The video had just been posted to YouTube by Microsoft Research and showed a researcher walking through the campus with his laptop screen open and a webcam filming the hallway in front of him. Displayed on the laptop screen, superimposed on top of the video from the webcam was a trail of bubbles that were emanating from an object hidden somewhere in the building. As the researcher got closer to the object, the bubbles became thicker and thicker until the object was eventually located.

I remember being amazed at how computer graphics and the live video feed had been combined in this way. Beyond simple multimedia, it was simply amazing and I knew it was going to be the next big ...

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