Types of Augmented Reality Experiences: Marker Based, Marker Less and Location Based

by ARandVRTech

Based upon what causes the trigger of the augmented reality experience, It can be classified into three types

Augmented reality experiences are changing the way in which people can interact and engage with their surroundings in a more immersive way. Industry stalwarts predict that augmented reality, even though still in its nascent stage will see a rapid growth spurt in the future. Everybody is in love with the idea of having interactive surroundings as shown in a futuristic sci-fi movies. 

Before we go on to discuss different types of augmented reality, let us look at what constitutes the AR ecosystem. We need to have a device between the user and the experience which is called the user agent. This can be your mobile phone, a tablet or an AR Glass. Now other two things exist, one within this device that is the software that enables AR experience and other is outside, i.e. the environment on which the augmented reality object is superimposed generating an immersive experience.

Now Based upon the trigger which lies in the outside environment and cause the AR experience, augmented reality can be classified into three categories –

Marker based augmented reality

Marker bases augmented reality is when there are well defined and distinctively identifiable objects, also called AR markers in the surrounding environment which leads to the trigger of augmented reality. These markers can be printed posters, brochures, logos and signages, famous statues and buildings to name a few. Marker based technology depends upon image recognition of these visual markers which in return are mapped to a certain information in the AR software being used. This information can be text, image, audio or video. Once the object scanned is recognised, the corresponding data is displayed in user’s field of vision. Here the position of the augmented reality data within the user’s field of vision is comparatively higher as it is tied to the position of the marker.

One of the examples of marker based augmented reality can be a virtual AR based tour of a museum. It is far better than having individual tours and you can enjoy it at your own pace. All you have to do is scan the arts and artefacts in the museum and you can fetch all the information about it.

Marker-less augmented reality

Marker less augmented reality does not require a trigger object to display the AR experience in the user’s field of vision. Infact, here the user has the liberty and advantage of taking the AR object and place it anywhere he likes in his own field of vision. This type of augmented reality has its own benefits and applications. One of the best examples of marker less augmented reality is IKEA Place application by the the home furnishing giant. It is like having an online catalogue, you can scan put the piece of furnishing that you want in your own space via augmented reality and see how it looks before you actually go and purchase it. 

In this case since the virtual object or the AR object is not tied to anything in the physical space the accuracy of positioning is slightly less accurate than that of the marker based AR. 

Location based Augmented Reality

Location based AR, also known as GPS based augmented reality. Even though it is known by that name, it is now a days using a better technology than GPS called SLAM which stands for simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM). GPS has its own limitations like access to satellite and accuracy over a few meters. VSLAM or visual SLAM uses image sensors and helps to construct 3D grid map of location around the user while keeping track of user’s agent i.e. AR device. VSLAM technology can not only map roads and rooms but also objects like furniture, people and vehicles.

One of the best examples of Location based augmented reality is the game Pokemon Go. The popular book and Netflix show The Witcher has only recently accounted its own location based augmented reality game. 

Whatever many be the technology behind the augmented reality application, what counts is the immersive experience it delivers. Each of the technologies above have myriad of applications which can be used to simplify as well as enhance our day to day interactions.

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