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AR From Conception to Reality (2019)

Curators: Rachel Blissenbach, Nathan Brummer, Danijela Krstic and Christina Yoong | University of Minnesota | April 2019

Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Ann Hill Duin
Collection Archivist: Sharon Caldwell

What is Augmented Reality, why is it important, and what industries does it affect? What products are available or in the making? Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that composites computer-generated visuals with real-world environments, providing users an immersive experience. This curated collection includes a variety of articles and tells a condensed story of AR from beginnings to reality.

Social media giants like Facebook and Snapchat as well as mobile games like Ingress and Pokemon Go from Niantic helped make AR a household name today, but AR’s past goes as far back as the 1960s. Augmented reality has become increasingly popular within the past decade due to the evolution of smartphones and mobile technology. With multiple applications in various industries across the globe, there is no sign of augmented reality slowing down.

Many of the most widely used AR applications to first experience wide adoption have primarily been focused on entertainment. From gaming to medicine, language, fashion, training and beyond, this technology can be used in countless ways. The once futuristic tech is now available to everyone with a smartphone or tablet. The rise of smartphones and mobile apps allow AR to become wide-reaching and easily available to all. Apps like Pokémon Go and Snapchat brought AR into the mainstream and allowed users to experience the immersive features of the technology.

However, AR can also be used for more than chasing Pokémon or sending funny videos to friends. The implementation of AR for multiple industries is theoretically very expansive. It can introduce people around the world to new languages, cultures, and art without them having to leave their homes. Using AR, people are now able to visit and tour art museums or view a fashion show from their phones. Several of the entries in this collection provide insight on what the early applications for AR in industry, engineering, and education will be. For example, AR in manufacturing allows for instantaneous updates and instructions for assembly line workers. In addition, AR in engineering creates new opportunities for product design and visualization. Augmented Reality’s applications are seemingly endless, but how can AR be managed and measured? What’s next, and how is it influencing global business practices?

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