What Is Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is the blending of physical reality with virtual, or computer generated, reality (simply put, digitalizing reality). Augmented reality superimposes computer generated images of data over the user's view of the world. The overlaid data can be anything relevant to the user. A surgeon might have a patient's vital signs, body landmarks, or even a full MRI image digitally inserted into his view. A smart-phone user might have the digital images overlaid onto the video from the phone’s camera. Typically, augmented reality uses a display of some type. The display could be anything from a cell phone, to a car's windshield, to a head-worn display unit. Until such time as technology has progressed to the point of free-standing holograms, a personal display of some type will be required.