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[MAXST AR Series] 1. What is AR?

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

[MAXST AR Series]

1. What is AR?

2. From Where to Where is AR Used?

3. MAXST’s AR and Its Application

4. SLAM and AR Technologies

5. AR and Related Technologies

▲ Pokemon Go (Source: Pokémon)

In July 2016, Pokemon Go hit the world. It broke the record for the best users in the United States and topped the rankings for sales. Even this virtual game has exceeded the actual Facebook time. People flocked to Sokcho to try it early in Korea.

This sensational popularity has imprinted the concept of augmented reality into the public. But what exactly is augmented reality?

What is Augmented Reality?

In order to learn about the word augmented reality, let's first look at what 'augment' is.

The word 'augment' used into augment troops' means "to increase the number or amount to make it stronger." Shall we take a look at an example of augment?

▲ Exoskeleton Suit (Source: ekso), a kind of Human Augmentation

First of all, the image above is an exoskeleton suit. Recently, research to apply this suit, which is being studied for military/rehabilitation, for manual workers is actively underway. This exoskeleton suit is called "Human Augmentation".

The definition of Human Augmentation is "a combination of biotechnology, electronics and mechanical engineering used to enhance (augment) an existing or lacking ability of a human using natural or artificial methods and technologies."

▲ Enhancement Mode in the Game (Source: warframe)

Also, in the game as above, a mode that enhances the character's abilities is also called Augment Mods.

You can understand the meaning of augment as a technology that makes people better, can do things they couldn't do, or things that aren't easy to do, or that they increase their abilities in the game. In other words, augmented reality can be said in other words as improving reality. It can be said to augment reality for the user.

Let’s pass a more precise and strict definition. The important thing is that augmented reality is an effort to show users something better than conventional reality – whether it is in the entertainment aspect or in the area of ​​professional work.

The Concept of Augmented Reality

In fact, the definition of augmented reality varies depending on the person/group or the field of work that accepts it. Can the following HUD (Head-up-display) be called AR?

Since there have been many attempts to create definitions or standards for AR, there is no single strict definition of what AR is. It is said that the concept of AR itself was first mentioned in 1901. Over time, as the level of technology has changed, many distinctions have emerged. The most recent notable distinction is the definition of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which holds an annual event called the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The definition of AR was divided into MR, VR, and AR.

▲ Millgram's Mixed-Reality Continuum (Source: "Augmented Reality: A class of Displays on the Reality-Virtuality Continuum" Proceedings of Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies. pp. 2351–34.)

I will introduce only one of the most famous concept, Milgram's “mixed-reality continuum”, and the rest of it next. The mixed-reality continuum is the concept that augmented reality and virtual reality exist on a certain spectrum, rather than being divided between reality and virtuality by any distinct criteria. The mixture of virtual and reality placed between a completely virtual world and the complete reality in which we live can take many forms.

Here's a complete virtual world.

▲ Complete Virtual World (Source: Daum Kakao)

The player is entirely in reality, and only the game characters are in the virtual. On the other hand, a person can go inside the virtual to some extent and interact with it like the below👇.

To relate more to reality, the weather caster alone can see the image that exists in reality.

Going further, we can virtually surround us, or there may be only a small imaginary like the Pokemon Go mentioned earlier. It would be difficult to say exactly where these images are.

It can only be expressed as being somewhere between analog and digital.

Use of Augmented Reality

But the question that comes to mind here is where can AR be used? As if the concept of deep learning first appeared in 1943, but now enough technology has been secured, AR technology has also been secured recently. Perhaps the use case of AR that most people are familiar with is Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go can be said to be a representative success case of AR in the entertainment field. Unlike when it was launched, which was half-sided AR, the service has been in progress with AR+ from 2018. In addition, applications applied to the face such as SNOW can be seen as examples of augmented reality entertainment that have already been successfully established.

▲ Marketing with AR (Source: LG U+)

Is the AR market limited to entertainment? It's not like that. First of all, a representative example that general consumers can access is in the marketing field. Not long ago, LG U+ conducted extensive 5G marketing with AR.

▲ Ikea Marketing App (Source: Ikea)

In addition, IKEA is offering an app called Ikea Place that allows you to place your own furniture directly in your home using AR. With more than 5,000 reviews running on the App Store, it is successfully promoting its products. Both Pokemon Go and Ikea Place are examples of how powerful the combination of suitable content and AR can be.

However, AR is not only active in the general consumer sector, but also in B2B.

▲ Global AR Market Forecast (Source: ARtillery Intelligence)

According to the AR forecast announced by Artillery in 2019, the demand for AR in the industry is expected to be greater than that at the user level. Of course, AR demand in the industrial sector is already at a similar level to that of the consumer sector even today. Particularly in the field of facility management, AR enables operators to master tasks at a faster rate due to intuitive visual effects rather than searching through manuals. Automakers, such as Genesis AR Manual produced with MAXST technology, are already putting AR manuals on the market.

▲ Genesis Virtual Guide (Source: Play Store - Hyundai Motors America)

▲ Industrial AR Solution MAXWORK

To list the advantages of the industry, first of all, it is possible to facilitate remote support through real-time video calls. One skilled worker can provide immediate application within a short amount of time. It is very convenient because you can check the status of various equipment immediately, and depending on the solution, you can also directly operate the equipment. In addition, it is possible to computerize the work of the manager by keeping the work record of each worker and managing the video. MAXST also launched a comprehensive industrial AR solution called MAXWORK for this demand.

▲ Industrial AR Solution MAXWORK

AR is also used in the tourism field, and its application range is endless.

▲ Examples of AR Application in Tourism (Source: Sejong City)

▲ Goyang City AR Project Forecast (Source: Goyang City)

In this way, AR has the potential to be used in many fields. Of course, many large companies are also preparing for this trend.

The Future of Augmented Reality

This is a video of Microsoft HoloLens. HoloLens was unveiled for the first time in 2015, and unfortunately, it was sold for B2B, not for general consumers.

In 2019, HoloLens2 was also released only as a B2B, a business platform, with an expensive price for performance.

Google is also paying great attention to AR. Google unveiled Google Glass in 2012, ahead of Microsoft. Since the release was delayed, Google Glass was released as a B2B model around 2017. The second generation of Google Glass was released in 2019 and is currently on sale. The second generation is also a B2B model, called the glass enterprise edition 2.

In addition, Google is producing its own ARCore, an AR framework.

▲ Promotional Video of a New Device that Emphasizes AR (Source: Apple YouTube)

When it comes to Google, Apple is no exception. Apple is also actively participating in this trend. It even uses a copy of "Best AR in the world" in a video showing its latest device.

Like Google, Apple is providing ARKit, an AR-only framework that can be used on its devices.

As such, AR technology is still larger in B2B field than for general consumers, and it is expected to continue to grow in the future. Unfortunately, it still needs time for wearable AR devices to reach the general consumer. This is because not only in terms of price, but also because there is not enough technology and content ecosystem to be used in general life. Display technology has not yet developed to the extent that it is convenient to wear in everyday life, and there is also a problem of weight reduction.

But even 10 years ago, we could not do everything so freely on our phones.

What will happen in the next 10 years? Even though it was a time when we did not know it was a smartphone, it is now an era in which smartphones and tablets take over the role of computers. In 10 years, AR has evolved from showing only rough directions to augmenting the desired object wherever you want it.

​So what about the next 20 or 30 years? Will the day come when the path is displayed in front of us with just one word to us? Among the numerous people at the meeting place, will a mark appear only on the head of the person we will meet? And can urgent tasks be solved with a few gestures in the air anytime, anywhere?

. . . Continues to the next story 2. From Where to Where is AR Used? (1) The Birth of AR.

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