Intro to Augmented Reality

While some of us have been devout players of Pokémon GO since the very beginning, not every future player of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is familiar with the augmented reality (AR) technologies that will be used in the game.  This article is to introduce AR to those who aren’t yet seasoned veterans of Niantic games, but who are interested in the technology and its applications, particularly in Wizards Unite.

What is AR?


The dictionary definition of augmented reality is “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world.”  AR uses technology from our devices, mobile or otherwise, to create three-dimensional images that otherwise aren’t there.

AR is the middle-ground between normal reality and virtual reality (VR), which submerges you in an entirely different world using headsets or other devices.  

What are the applications of AR?

Augmented reality can be used in many different forms.  Games such as Pokémon GO are a playful use of AR, with players using the technology to catch Pokémon in their homes, parks, and cities.  AR photography of Pokémon has also become popular among some players of the game, allowing the technology to be shared across the Internet.  Other AR games have also been created using mobile devices or headsets, though Pokémon GO is the most well-known of them all.

Augmented reality has also become popular on social media, especially Snapchat.  World Lenses such as the “dancing hotdog” and other creatures have spread across the Internet as people apply these features to the landscape around them.  

All Snapchat filters are a form of AR, as they alter a person’s face to make them look different.

Though games are a popular use of augmented reality, the technology also has more practical applications.  A number of furniture websites such as Pottery Barn and Wayfair have AR tools that allow buyers to see how furniture would look in their homes.

Apple and Microsoft are also attempting to invest in AR technologies.  Microsoft has developed HoloLens, a set of augmented reality glasses that can be used for work and leisure.  Apple itself has an AR/VR headset set to release by 2020. Many other companies see AR as the technology of the future and have therefore have chosen to make their own acquisitions and inventions.

How will AR apply to Wizards Unite?

Niantic just released a blog post regarding their upcoming Real World Platform.  Articles will be forthcoming about how the projects in this article could apply to Wizards Unite, but some features are expected to carry over from Pokémon GO.

These features could include AR creatures and the ability to take pictures of them, but judging by what Niantic has published today, we have no idea what kind of augmented reality will be used in the future.  The new technologies being developed are truly state-of-the-art, and we hope to see what they will bring to the world around us!

How do you think AR could apply to Wizards Unite?  Let us know in the comments below!

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