Sam Rivello reveals how to create a fully immersive user experience that blends 3D models with the real world.
Augmented reality (AR) combines elements of the physical world with an interactive 3D virtual world. While the technology isn't new - think EyeToy on the PlayStation - it's now much more accessible to individual designers, and has taken off in a big way recently thanks to high-profile AR campaigns from the likes of Nike, Ford and Coca Cola.
Unlike virtual reality, AR doesn't seek to replace our physical world, but add to - or augment - our reality. There are two main applications of this. Firstly, you can project an interactive digital interface onto a pair of translucent glasses, turning you into a real-world version of Schwarzenegger's Terminator. Clearly this approach has various military applications, not to mention fully immersive gaming experiences.
Alternatively, you can blend a virtual environment with webcam footage in real time, so the augmented reality plays out on your computer screen, rather than over your field of vision. It's this second approach that we take you through in this project, and it can really add spice to your interactive design work.