Digital Workshop Center Trade School

Augmented Reality Will Shift Views

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 5/11/12]

Virtual reality has become a catch phrase in the pop culture vocabulary. But have you heard of augmented reality?

As more technology companies scramble to keep up with one another, the need for a simpler user experience has become a must for product developers.

According to, “augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.”

In short, augmented reality is an extension of virtual reality.

In an augmented reality environment, a natural user interface, or NIN, is based on movement and human interaction from the user into a virtual system. The ability to introduce more natural movements, voice, gestures, location and human nuances have led to devices and applications that can capture more data about the user .

With mobile devices continually on the rise, a NIN will soon be available to anyone with a smart phone.

All of these innovations in the augmented reality field have led to the popularity of augmented reality tools such as Xbox Kinect and many more.

“The next-generation of Microsoft’s Kinect is said to be so accurate it can read lips, voice pitch and facial characteristics (and complex finger movements and gestures) to determine what mood the player is in,” said Tim Sweeney of “The Kinect platform has the potential to create new paradigms in the way that we interact with computers and communicate. Expect the Kinetic sensor technology to be incorporated into displays, TVs, ultrabooks and mobile phones as it becomes miniaturized.”

So, how can these new augmented reality tools be applied to business? As more AR tools are applied to computer monitors and home TVs, there will be more applications that provide an interactive, augmented experience for everyone. Don’t be surprised as innovations in this field will be bringing an augmented experience to your office soon.

Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Call him at (970) 980-8091 or send email to stu@