Will Virtual Reality VR be really helpful

This is augmented reality

Catching small monsters in the real world via smartphone - the most famous example of augmented reality is probably the “Pokémon Go” app. The game has been downloaded over a billion times. The idea behind it couldn't be simpler: the Pokémon simply fit into the existing environment on the screen, which the device captures with its camera.

The example of Pokémon Go shows: Augmented Reality, AR for short, has arrived in our smartphones and thus in our everyday lives. We explain what is behind the term and show where AR is used.

Augmented Reality is translated as “augmented reality”, and “enriched reality” is also used in technical terminology. According to this, digital elements are inserted into the real world - directly on a screen or in glasses. So in front of the beholder's eyes. The virtual information and our real environment only overlap. For example, a warehouse worker can use glasses to see on which shelf the replacement part he is looking for can be found. Or the mechanic receives useful information about the technical component that he is supposed to repair.

For augmented reality in the classic sense, no complicated technology, just a screen is necessary. The user can call up the digital elements via a smartphone, tablet or AR glasses. In principle, every newer device that has a camera can display augmented reality. Because AR software uses camera images, microphones and other sensors to insert digital objects into the real environment in real time.

The important thing is that augmented reality is not limited to visible, visual elements. It can also appeal to other senses: intelligent audio glasses are used in museums, for example. The glasses recognize via sensors where the wearer is and play the appropriate content.

What distinguishes augmented from virtual reality

In contrast to augmented reality, virtual reality (VR) shows the user a computer-created world. So far, this has only been possible with the help of VR glasses. VR glasses allow the user to immerse themselves in a new, artificially created world that is immersive, i.e. looks deceptively real. He can swim with whales in underwater worlds, explore a shipwreck or walk through his new house before it is built.

Mixed reality, translated as "mixed reality", can be positioned between augmented and virtual reality.

In order to experience mixed reality, the user puts on MR glasses such as the nreal or the Microsoft HoloLens. The second generation of the latter was launched on the market as part of the Mobile World Congress 2019. Using the camera in the glasses, for example, an expert from anywhere in the world can be called in on construction sites. This enables him to work with the user on site in real time on a problem “in front of the glasses”. Incidentally, the collective name for mixed, virtual and augmented reality is "XR".

Where is augmented reality used?

AR is not only widespread in industry and gaming, but also in other areas such as automotive: navigation in newer cars often works via a so-called head-up display. These project the correct path directly onto the windscreen and thus onto the road without the driver having to change the direction of view.

Would you like to find out more about XR applications in industry and private life? Here we have put together six nifty use cases.

Data protection as a challenge

The use of AR applications gives the protection of privacy a whole new level of importance. Because: most AR apps often need the exact location of the user and of course record their surroundings with the camera. In this way, the manufacturers of the apps receive very sensitive data, the protection of which should be guaranteed in both private and industrial settings.

For this reason, wearing the Google Glass, which was introduced in 2012, was banned in various states of the USA such as Las Vegas. The data glasses may not be worn there in hospitals, concerts and cinemas, among other places.

The virtual world permeates our everyday life

Since every newer smartphone is AR-compatible, there are more and more developers who are considering augmented reality in their applications. Daniel Aslam, responsible for XR Business Development and Global Partnerships at Telekom, also sees great potential: “Thanks to better computing and network performance, mixed reality will permeate our everyday lives in the future. This will change the way we communicate with one another, how we work, and how we consume. It will be exciting to see which application scenarios, technical solutions and manufacturers will establish themselves. Telekom works closely with XR developers in order to generate new services of its own, but also, above all, to enrich existing services using mixed reality and thus to deliver added value. "