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Part II: Tomorrow’s Technology > Using Virtual Tours: Augmented Reality

Chapter 44. Using Virtual Tours: Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a technology that may one day impact many aspects of our lives. The technology sits on the continuum between real life and virtual reality. Whereas virtual reality totally immerses you in a computer graphic animation and removes you from reality, augmented reality aims to simply augment, or overlay, digital information on top of your vision of real-life objects around you.

In augmented reality, digital information is superimposed upon the view of our physical surroundings. In this way it enhances the physical reality rather than trying to replace it with complete virtual reality. The applications for augmented reality are numerous, and academic institutions such as the Columbia University Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab are creating exciting experimental systems such as Mobile Augmented Reality System (MARS), which combines augmented reality and mobile computing. Applications for augmented reality can include military operations, field service and repair, medicine, and consumer-oriented applications such as virtual tourism, all of which would provide additional information about a user’s surroundings.


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