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Augmented reality

Augmented reality enhances a real-world environment by superimposing a computer-generated image onto the view

Augmented reality (AR) is a stop along the Reality-Virtuality Continuum. On one end of the continuum, you have a real environment, and on the other, you have a virtual environment. Augmented reality, which sits in-between those two, makes use of technology to superimpose a computer-generated image on your view of the real world.

Our common view when we think of AR is the display that allows you to see through the “screen” directly into the physical environment. Google glass or other smart glass is a typical example. Another example is monitor-based augmented reality displays that overlay computer-generated images onto live or stored video images. You may have interacted with something like this when touring a museum. You train your phone’s camera onto a painting or sculpture and information is displayed on top.

But tourism isn’t the only industry that can take advantage of this technology. We are researching ways to use augmented reality across all our business sectors. For example, our services sector uses AR to supervise maintenance activities remotely. Engineers half-way around the globe can view a construction site through the eyes of our employees on-site.

In our airports sector, a ground operator moving cargo containers can see, through smart glasses, information and details such as weight, unit number, loading sequence, and position allocated to the container within the aircraft hold. The glasses obtain this information by identifying visual markers and labels placed on the luggage and the containers.

Perhaps the most significant advantage to using augmented reality is that it allows staff to work hands-free (there is no need for them to carry documents or electronic devices), which provides enhanced safety and a decrease in potential errors, thus increasing the efficiency of cargo and luggage handling.

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