What Is Augmented Reality?

AUGMENTED REALITYIn one of our activities, we carried out Augmented Reality T-Shirt Printing with families. One question on everyone’s minds is often “What is augmented reality?”, and while the concept is fairly simple, it can sometimes be tricky to explain it in a manner that is easy to understand.

Augmented reality (often abbreviated to AR) is directly or indirectly viewing the real world with elements that have been altered or ‘augmented’ to offer the viewer an alternative experience. For example, in the Digital Families workshop, families created family crests and uploaded these to Aurasma online. They then added an ‘overlay’ image, which would only appear when the camera function on the smartphone/tablet version of the app was held over of the trigger image (the crest). Thus, only users with that app would be able to see that the image could offer viewers an augmented reality, otherwise it would remain hidden.


Augmented reality t-shirts produced by pupils at IPACA in Dorset

While still a relatively new invention, augmented reality may actually be in use all around you – you just need the right tools to see the ‘alternate’ world or elements. Sometimes this may just be a smartphone, whereas other times it requires a special headset.

Some examples include:

Join in with our Augmented Reality T-Shirt Printing activity.