Little Guide to Augmented Reality Part 2

Little Guide to Augmented Reality Part 2

This is Part 2 of the IntelligentHQ Guide to Augmented Reality.

In Part 1 of our Little Guide to Augmented Reality  we reviewed the history of augmented reality through to the present day. Here we will look at how augmented reality is currently being developed by some enterprising organisations. Through these developments, augmented reality is available to everyone, even very cheaply in some cases.


One fascinating development of augmented reality called HoloLens is described in The Guardian by Naomi Alderman (2015). HoloLens has been developed by Microsoft, and it is believed that users get a realistic feeling from it. As Alderman explains:

“You put it on – a visor you wear over your face – and see the world around you as it really is, plus a bunch of things that aren’t really there.”

The concept is interesting – a wearable product that you can look through which can reshape reality in the way that you want it to be. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Minecraft is an important part of this development. Minecraft has already been purchased by Microsoft. After all, augmented reality is often associated with gaming, and HoloLens could have tremendous opportunities to offer in this regard.

What augmented reality means for games is that games could be everywhere, with the reality supplemented with games. This raises a bunch of interesting questions of how you as a game player might be able to know the difference between other players and augmented aspects of reality. This of course would need to be built into the game. This may seem somewhat worrying to some, but it also allows for amazing opportunities, such as the ability to see a bright shining sun when you look up, for example. If managed well, there are many opportunities that HoloLens could bring.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard promises “immersive experiences for everyone”, allowing people to enjoy virtual reality in a manner that is fun and affordable. According to Google, all you have to do is get a viewer, fold it, and “look inside to enter the world of Cardboard. The experience is argued by Google to be something that anyone can build or buy, and then they have the possibility of exploring a range of apps that will unfold. Opportunities include the chance to visit new destinations, get involved in immersive games or fly through space. What more could a newbie to augmented reality want? Google offer a variety of different viewers for sale to be able to enjoy these immersive experiences.

The Cardboard needs to be set up in such a way that it fits the individual using it and their smartphone as best as possible. For those that want to build their own, Google offers instructions as well as letting people know they will need cardboard, lenses, magnets, velcro and an elastic band. Once you have those items you can get building. There is also information provided for manufacturers and developers of apps. Apps that Google recommends include a Windy Day app, or the Proton Pulse app which allows you to use a paddle to direct a Proton, an energy ball with power for the purpose of destruction. Another option is watching Paul McCartney perform “Live and Let Die” in 360 degrees, but your opinion of this probably depends on your musical preferences.


iOptik is an augmented reality system that needs glasses to be able to work. It provides a heads-up display through the use of contact lenses. The glasses present a picture onto the contact lenses and these then act as a filter, separating out the real world from the digital one, combining them into one image. The way it operates is that users are able to focus on objects that are close up and in the distance. There are micro-components in the contact lenses that provide the opportunity to focus on the near-eye images.

The light that is projected by the glasses goes to the centre of the pupil and then this works with the eye’s regular functions to help to place the display on the retina. Meanwhile, light comes from the real life environment to the retina from an outer filter. This creates the real and the augmented images on the retina, which are combined to create one image. The product is not yet for sale as it is awaiting clearance from the FDA in the USA. However, it may well soon be available.

One challenge the product may have is that it does use glasses, like Google Glass. The iOptik has been developed for military uses and mainstream applications.