Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Jenny Arledge once said that, “Technology can become the ‘wings’ that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before – if we allow it.” We live in a wondrous time for technology. Innovations are poised to change the world as we know it forever, including big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of things, and augmented & virtual reality, amongst other things.
There are several types of realities, viz: Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and Extended Reality (XR). However, today’s piece will focus on augmented reality. Augmented reality, commonly abbreviated as AR, is a computer-generated image superimposed on a user’s view of the real world. Simply put, AR delivers digital content into real-world environments.
It is a subset of virtual reality. Simply put, AR is a set of technologies which help to integrate digital and real. Although there are many flavours and versions of implementing AR, common among all are computers, displays, input devices (especially pointing devices of any sort) and tracking mechanisms. Merely, displays are required for the user to distinguish between realities and digitally supplied information. Pointing devices (i.e. input devices that must have GPS or some location-based services for locating devices and of course, the user as well) like smartphones, wireless wristbands, etc. are needed to make sure that the digital information is appropriately placed or aligned with what the user is seeing (tracking).
Finally, computer software must exist to manage and run the application (e.g: Meta’s Spark AR Software or lens studio).
The result of augmented reality is to focus interaction in performing tasks within the real world instead of the digital world. To experience augmented reality, you’ll need a device that contains a camera and the ability to create content which you can place in the real world.
The best example of using AR on your phone is the gaming sensation Pokémon Go. Smartphone games, particularly by Niantic Labs, allows you to place digitally created creatures into the real world and interact with them. Users see the real world through a handheld device (often a smartphone) or wear a headset to use AR. This creates a composite representation of the real world with the digital element superimposed on top, like Snapchat filters.
The importance of the camera
AR products rely heavily on the camera of the device. This contributed to a leap in the development of cameras for AR as by the end of the 1990s reliable webcams were a given on most computing devices, and in the 2000s, there was a surge in mobile devices. It would only be a matter of time before handheld devices capable of AR were developed.
All through this, the piece of the puzzle that gave way to the breakthrough was the camera. A camera on the AR-enabled device ensured that it could “see” the real world, therefore blending the real world with virtual elements, and with smartphones getting better cameras in every cycle, we’ll soon have a seamless way to interact with digital elements in the real world with AR.
History of AR
Lyman Frank Baum, a famous American author, in 1901 introduced the idea of augmented reality. He mentioned the concept of utilizing electronic displays to superimpose more data over the physical world, but Ivan Sutherland developed the first HUD gear, known as the Sword of Damocles, in 1968.
Augmented reality has come a long way from a science-fiction concept to a science-based reality. It was first achieved, to some extent, by a cinematographer named Morton Heilig in 1957. He invented the Sensorama, which delivered visuals, sounds, vibrations, and smells to the viewer. The first AR technology was developed in 1968 at Harvard when computer scientist Ivan Sutherland (named the “father of computer graphics”) created an AR head-mounted display system. These early AR systems superimposed virtual information on the physical environment (e.g., overlaying a terrain with geological information), and allowed simulations that were used for aviation, military and industrial purposes.
The sword of Damocles
The first commercial AR application appeared in 2008, which was developed for advertising purposes by German agencies in Munich. They designed a printed magazine ad for a model BMW Mini, which, when held in front of a computer’s camera, also appeared on the screen; because the virtual model was connected to markers on the physical ad, a user was able to control the car on the screen and move it around to view different angles simply by manipulating the piece of paper. The application was one of the first marketing campaigns that allowed interaction with a digital model in real-time.
Until 1999, AR software and hardware were mostly utilized for academic purposes or in very specific industry settings, this changed with the release of ARToolKit, the first open-source software platform for AR which featured a 3D tracking library using black-and-white images or fiducial markers (similar to QR codes), which could readily be printed on a regular laser printer.
Augmented reality has gained traction in many fields, including education and training, branding/marketing/advertising/commercials, filters, gaming, architecture, multimedia, Communication, GPS/navigation, fashion and storytelling.
Careers within the Augmented Reality field include Educator, Researcher, AR Developer, Software Designer, 3D Artist, Design Architect, Software Developer, Game Designer, AR/VR Maintenance and Support, Ar /Vr Gameplay and Tools Engineer and Marketing and Sales.
Augmented Reality and Education
By blending virtual and physical experiences, augmented reality holds tremendous potential to revolutionize the learning process and enhance student engagement. Augmented Reality, if used correctly, can impact the education sector through enhancing Learning Experiences. AR applications enable students to interact with virtual objects in real time, transforming abstract concepts into tangible experiences. For instance, in biology classes, students can explore 3D models of human organs, providing a deeper understanding of the human body. Similarly, historical events can be brought to life through interactive AR experiences, enabling students to step back in time and witness history unfold before their eyes. By engaging multiple senses and fostering an immersive learning environment, augmented reality encourages active participation and boosts information retention.
Augmented reality technology has the power to revolutionize traditional teaching methods by making learning/teaching more interactive and engaging. Unlike passive forms of instruction, AR allows students to actively participate in the learning process. This takes the form of incorporating gamification elements into educational content, AR applications can turn learning into an enjoyable and challenging experience. This, in turn, fosters higher levels of student engagement and motivation, as students become active participants rather than mere observers. The element of novelty that augmented reality brings to the classroom also helps captivate students’ attention, making learning more stimulating.
An advantage of augmented reality in education is its potential to facilitate personalized learning. AR applications can adapt to individual student needs and preferences, providing customized content based on their learning style and pace.
Students can explore topics at their speed, revisiting concepts as needed, and receiving real-time feedback on their progress. Augmented reality can also bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world applications by simulating practical scenarios. This hands-on approach enables students to develop critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities, preparing them for future challenges.
Augmented reality assists in fostering social interaction and collaboration, which plays a vital role in the learning process. Augmented reality in education encourages collaboration by enabling students to interact with virtual objects and work together on projects. AR applications facilitate communication and foster teamwork, even if students are physically located in different places. It assists in breaking down barriers and expands educational opportunities beyond traditional classrooms.
Additionally, augmented reality can provide valuable and exciting opportunities for students with different learning abilities to work together and support each other’s learning, promoting inclusivity and a sense of belonging.
Augmented reality has emerged as a powerful tool that can be used in education, and transform the way students learn and educators teach. By integrating virtual and real-world experiences, AR enhances learning, promotes student engagement, facilitates personalized instruction, and fosters collaboration. As technology continues to advance, the potential of augmented reality in education will only grow. By embracing AR, technology allows us to create dynamic and immersive learning environments that cater to the diverse needs of students, preparing them for a future where digital literacy and adaptability are essential skills.