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What Is Involved in Augmented Reality Development?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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Augmented reality (AR) development is similar to software development, but there typically are more challenges to consider because of AR’s immersion in the real world. To ensure that the viewer is looking in the right direction, or at an object, there should be a computer vision and camera algorithm added to the AR’s programming; otherwise, objects might show up when they should not. Another part of augmented reality development is choosing the type of platform for which one wants to develop. Most AR programs are made to recognize an object, so augmented reality development should take the object’s appearance into account. If the object moves, then there should be programming that recognizes the movement to ensure the display is correct.

One of the biggest points of AR is enhancing something in the real world, such as an object or building. To accomplish this, augmented reality development is usually concerned with where the viewer is looking and what he or she is looking at. For example, if the program lights up when the viewer looks at an object, but then he or she turns away, the program must know to stop enhancing the object. This normally is done through computer vision and camera programming added into the AR application.

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While AR typically is paired with a virtual reality (VR) headset, augmented reality development can be done for many different platforms. The platform chosen also may change how the development goes, because creating a program for a headset normally will be different from creating a program for a phone. Common AR platforms include phones, global positioning system (GPS) units, computers, VR headsets and tablets.

When an AR program is programmed to enhance an object, it must be able to recognize that object. For example, if an AR program is made to help users pick a carton of milk from the fridge, it must be able to recognize the difference between the milk and a similar carton of orange juice. This means one of the leading concerns with augmented reality development is exact object recognition. Programmers should give the AR program ways of separating correct objects from wrong ones, or it may incorrectly enhance reality.

Along with understanding an object, an AR program should be able to recognize an object’s movement. If it highlights a carton of milk, then it should continue highlighting the carton even after the user removes it and places the milk somewhere else. When this is not taken into account, it may continue highlighting the milk’s position in the fridge, even though the milk is no longer there. Without this being considered in augmented reality development, bugs and errors may manifest.

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