What is Augmented Reality Technology? A Parent’s Guide

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Have you been hearing a lot about AR or Augmented Reality Technology but are wondering what it actually is? Here’s our quick Parent’s Guide to Augmented Reality:

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What is Augmented Reality?

What is Augmented Reality Technology

In simple terms Augmented Reality Technology is a way to digitally bring real world static images and objects to life by creating 3D versions of them, adding sound and touch capabilities that enable you to manipulate and view the images from different angles.

Augmented Reality, or AR for short, brings various concepts to life by producing a computer-generated image onto the user’s real-life environment through the camera on a device.

There are 4 main types of Augmented Reality technology:

  1. Image Recognition which uses the camera function on your smartphone or tablet to read and translate an image such as a QR or 2D code to produce instructions or a 3D graphic from the data stored within the code.
  2. Projection AR is used to project light onto surfaces or into midair to show an image or hologram that can be manipulated by a user’s touch.
  3. Global Positioning System (GPS) AR is used to track a device by sending location and time signals to GPS receivers which then transmit information based on your location back to the device. We use GPS all the time to locate destinations while we drive or walk.
  4. Superimposition AR is used by companies to enable you to view an object in place. The best example is paint or furniture companies who produce AR apps where you can view the colour your walls will look or how a piece of furniture will look in your home. This is usually done by taking a photo of the room or pointing your tablet or smartphone at the position you want to see within the room.

What Parents Need to be Aware Of

augmented reality

Was your child mad about Pokémon Go when the craze hit? This was a cool use of Augmented Reality that hit the mainstream.

Many children are already exposed to Augmented Reality technology during their day to day experiences, whether it be through video games such as PokémonGo or animated filters on apps like Snapchat.

And as parents, we are also using AR when we use QR codes, Google Maps or even while watching sports on TV where you see scores or advertising messages overlaid on the pitch. Or you may have used an AR app like the furniture or paint example above.

AR is very much here to stay and being aware of what it can do for our kids and families in our everyday lives is good.

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Why is AR Good for Kids for Education?

CleverBooks World Map

Introducing AR to the classroom builds on their existing knowledge base. AR technology allows for the student to continue to engage with both the instructor and other classmates, while enabling them to interact and visualise with learning in a fun educational way that helps to embed that knowledge better.

The use of augmented reality technology (AR) within classrooms or at home during homework is one of the most effective tools in preparing students for success. Not only is it bringing “boring” subjects to life, but it can help students learn and retain their knowledge because it is doing things in an interactive way.

As an example of this, Dublin based technology company CleverBooks are using Augmented Reality to make learning fun, bringing subjects to life. This helps supplement the school curriculum and engages kids in learning more independently through seeing, hearing and doing.

  • In Geometry, students can drag and move 3D shapes observing the effects of changing angles of particular vectors, allowing them to experiment in a visual way and put into practice the concepts taught in the classroom.
  • In Science you can see a 3D image of vital organs and gain a better understanding of how they work.
  • In Engineering and Design the use of AR technology enables you to move and test solutions before actually building them in reality.
  • In subjects likes Geography and History you can bring maps and timelines to life.

This method of immersive learning helps kids to improve test scores by up to 33%, increases information retention rates by up to 100% and also helps kids acquire skills that are necessary for the 21st-century.

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What’s Next for AR?

The future looks very bright for AR as more and more companies and organisations start to use this innovative technology to help consumers.

  • Already there is AR at work in hospitals and doctor’s offices, the Accuvein scanner projects where valves and veins are so that healthcare professionals can more easily find a vein for IV placement.
  • The travel industry will see more and more use of AR as part of travel experiences, imagine being able to pull up information when you reach a certain geographic location.
  • Shopping will be transformed as more and more shops introduce AR to the shopping experience.
  • Homes and real estate will be planned and developed in new ways. Take a look at IKEA’s Place app for a taste of what’s to come:

Over to you now. How do you feel about Augmented Reality? Were you aware you and your child were using it? Let us know what you think in the comments box below. 

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