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How It Works

Because augmented reality must fit in with a user’s view of the world and with the user’s movement through that world, the systems typically require a specialized set of hardware and software to be worn by the user. The MARS project uses a backpack computer, differential global positioning system (GPS), a head-worn display, and a stylus-operated computer. The stylus-operated computer communicates with the backpack computer and is able to control the view rendered on the head-worn display. The GPS system tracks the user’s motion and adjusts the display so that the projected information stays in place with respect to where the user is looking. For example, if the user looks at a building and wishes to pull up information, this data can be displayed next to the building for the user to read by looking through the head-worn display.

One of the challenges with augmented reality is that for it to work well, the display must react to adjust to not only the user’s movements forward or backward, but also any head movements made to look in various directions. When this ability is successfully accomplished, the user sees tags of textual or graphical information superimposed over the particular items of interest.


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