What is augmented reality (AR)? You may have found yourself or heard others asking this question more and more as the technology continues to become more prevalent in the United States. Some applications of augmented reality include use in gaming, advertising, and mobile apps. One article postulates that 2012 will be big for augmented reality.

How Does Augmented Reality Work?

Augmented reality typically takes a lot of computing power and depending on the execution some applications will be more processor-intensive. No matter which way you execute augmented reality, there will be parallel processes working. A traditional augmented reality application and its basic parts are depicted in the above image and can be broken down to two steps for basic understanding, detection and overlay:

1. Detection: A camera detects a reference point(s) from which to display the augmented reality. This reference point can be a specific shape (a series of dots), object (great to use if your product has a unique shape), or image.

2. Overlay: A digital overlay is then correctly positioned according to the detected reference point(s). Here is where the processor-intensive aspect comes in to play – the more complex the overlay, the harder the processor will have to work.

Currently marketers lose value in augmented reality advertising in poor customer experience due to tracking execution. Successful tracking (the ability of the augmented reality overlay to move when the camera moves) is difficult to achieve and many augmented reality applications are not able to accurately track the object. As the technology continues to evolve, expect to see more and more sophisticated and creative uses for augmented reality and augmented reality advertising.