Augmented reality simply put is the blend of real world objects and computer generated data relevant to the objects. With the support of augmented reality taking a picture of, say the ‘Taj Mahal’ on your camera could be supplemented with historical and architectural data about the ‘Taj’ showing in your view finder. We already see examples of augmented reality in sport television, when the actual path of the ball’s flight is augmented with graphics that simulate its possible path had the batsman not played the ball.
Scanning a barcode in a supermarket can be instantly augmented with product price not only in the store, but also across different stores in the area.
The basic idea of augmented reality is to superimpose graphics, audio and other sensory enhancements over a real-world environment in real time. The graphics may be generated on screen like on your iPhone or projected on to a real world object like the famouse Sixth Sense device invented by Mistry. The SixthSense device works by using the camera and mirror to examine the surrounding world, feeding that image to the phone (which processes the image, gathers GPS coordinates and pulls data from the Internet), and then projecting information from the projector onto the surface in front of the user, whether it’s a wrist, a wall, or even a person. Because the user is wearing the camera on his chest, SixthSense will augment whatever he looks at; for example, if he looks at car, SixthSense can find and project onto the car information about its make, model, specifications, price, and even customer reviews.
Augmented Reality is not completely out of the labs, but the number
of applications are ever increasing. Here’s a list to 10 iPhone Apps that leverage augmented reality. http://mashable.com/2009/12/05/augmented-reality-iphone/
My personal favourite is SkyView which helps me locate stars and planets in real time : http://www.terminaleleven.com