What is Augmented Reality?

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Every day seems to bring a "next big thing" in tech.

From cybersecurity to virtual reality to machine learning, technology is advancing at a rapid pace.

That said, what on Earth is augmented reality?

Let’s dig in.

So… it’s another word for virtual reality, right?

Not quite! Similar, but with a key difference.

Virtual reality (VR) involves being completely immersed in a digital world, replacing the current environment, often via a set of goggles that fully wrap around your eyes.

Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, is the current environment, usually seen via a normal, flat screen (though there are headsets too), involving the superimposing of digital images onto the real world.

For example, instead of putting on your goggles and being surrounded by the stars, apparently floating in space (VR), you can use an app like SkyView Lite to point your phone’s camera anywhere around you and see the planets and constellations in their current, real-time positions, but on the screen.

Augmented reality sounds cool. What’s it used for?

Quite a lot, actually!

You can use AR in anything from mobile apps like SkyView Lite to games like the crazy popular Pokémon Go to the filters on SnapChat.

But it’s even cooler than that.

Surgeons use it when performing complicated surgeries. Pilots use it for real-time flight path data. Construction companies use it to impose building plans on construction sites. Psychologists use it for exposure therapy to cure phobias.

Because it’s so applicable across such a wide variety of careers, augmented reality is definitely a next big thing. All the top companies—Microsoft, Apple, and even Facebook—are investing big bucks in AR research and hardware.

That means, even if your student isn’t directly planning for a career building AR apps or games, they can still get in on this projected $215 billion-dollar industry.

How can my child get involved?

As we’ve said, there are many, many uses for AR and the associated technologies, but one of the best ways to break into the field is via app development.

With the average person’s time spent on mobile apps clocking in at almost two and a half hours a day, apps continue to be one of the primary ways people interact with their mobile devices. They’re not going away anytime soon.

Coding is a fantastic way for your student to get involved in app development. For example, in our Augmented Reality summer camp, your teen will have two weeks to dig into Unity and C#, both industry-standard game engine tools.

With this solid, foundational coding knowledge under their belt, your student will enhance their apps with AR features. Through their phone’s camera, they can do anything from making animated characters dance on their desks to designing the next hit game.

The experience is rounded out with a digital online portfolio, as well as industry professionals visiting camp to network and share their wisdom, and tours of nearby offices. Students not only get a feel for collegiate life—they get a leg up on their peers with unique access to professional spaces.

Where do we get started?

Great question! You can register here.

We can’t wait to see your student in actual reality out at camp this summer!

A photo of Aurora

Aurora is a perpetually happy girl whose heart belongs to all things gothy and dark, from Evanescence albums to horror movies to Edgar Allan Poe. She graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in English, focused in Creative Writing, and joined iD Tech in 2015.