Augmented reality is a term used for an interesting cross section of reality and the virtual world. Some companies have recently included it with toys, while others allow you to tag the world around you. Augmented reality is not something that is all that new, but it is gaining a great deal of ground as more and more app-ready phones come with cameras that are capable of capturing not only photos, but video as well.
While the use of augmented reality has started to make its way into the toy sector, that is not its main market. Augmented reality, for the most part, could be seen as a second window laid out over the world which you view through your phone or mobile device. In that window would be phrases, statements and even reviews about places, or maybe someone left a digital sign post for a friend in one massive game of hide and seek. If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, all it would take is a few key strokes and the world will know; well, a small section of the world will know.
There are a couple of methods for the creation of augmented reality, both of which have their issues. One is using GPS. This allows the app to communicate your position and what direction you are facing as you are holding your mobile device. Quickly, using the camera, it then overlays information, pictures and various other things for your viewing pleasure. It also allows you to tag things with information, inserting your own mark on the digital world.
Another method for augmented reality also uses GPS but it is not as refined as the other. What users do is take a snapshot of a place and tag their comments onto the snapshot. This is then transferred through the app to a server, which figures out where you are by comparing the image and GPS information before overlaying users comments onto the visual world as seen through augmented reality.
Augmented reality is nothing more than a gimmicky, fun little concept that a few places have managed to put into practical use at the moment. Even though the concept of augmented reality has been around for some time, it has been difficult for it to get a start. However, as people become more and more tethered to their mobile devices, and those devices continue to change and evolve, even the most standard become complex enough to run this technology. It is certain that in the future augmented reality very well may be the way we see the world all the time.
In a society that is becoming more and more focused on sharing, it may just become another extension to the social media phenomenon. It could, and probably will, change how we view the world around us and what we expect to know from just a glance. As we become more dependent on our cyber lives, it is only natural that it will begin to overlap fully with our real ones.