Augmented reality refers to a type of interactive experience that combines real world environments with digital information. While virtual reality takes place entirely in a computer-generated environment, augmented reality merely overlays computer-generated perceptual information onto the world around you. There are two main types of this information, destructive and constructive sensory input. Constructive information adds to the information you received naturally, enhancing what is already there. Destructive information masks the natural environment, replacing and removing things from your senses. Either way, augmented reality technologies alter the way you perceive the world without replacing it entirely with a digital facsimile.
In everything from literary analysis to military training, augmented reality devices are beginning to change the way everyday tasks are completed. One of the fields that has benefited the most from this technology is archeology. By feeding researchers visual information about how locations used to look and overlaying it on top of the modern remnants, AR has revolutionized the way archeological studies are performed. For obvious reasons, education has also benefited greatly from this technology, allowing students to manipulate models and images with an ease that was never before possible.
Video game developers are now taking advantage of this AR technology as well, allowing their customers to experience the digital games they love in a very physical way. While recreational endeavors enjoy the low hanging fruit offered by AR, life or death situations have been affected as well. In the medical field, AR tech has been used to help guide surgeons, providing them with all the information they could possibly need while allowing them to keep an eye on what they are doing to their patients at the same time. Also, pilots have been using this augmented reality technology for more than a decade in order to train in different weather conditions and emergency scenarios.
The uses of this kind of technology are nearly endless in scope, providing benefits in all aspects of a person’s life. However, there are some concerns about privacy, providing the only real criticism this technology faces as a matter of fact. Because of the nature of the technology in question, augmented reality devices depend on the ability to gather and store information about the world in real time. Without the capacity to record and analyze your surroundings, there would be no way for the augmented reality to be created. This has many concerned about being recorded or photographed without permission, and this possibility exists in an odd legal grey area. As this technology develops further, these concerns will have to be addressed more specifically in the law.