Augmented Reality displays digital elements over the user’s view of the real world environment. The accuracy of the AR and realistic results depends upon the tracking method, which is the process of locating the user and their environment, taking into account the position and orientation of the user.
There are three main approaches to Augmented Reality tracking and depending on the AR experience the most appropriate one will be utilised. Those technologies include: SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping), depth tracking (sensor data calculating the distance to the objects), or NFT (natural feature tracking) to name a few.
SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) is the most effective way to render digital images over the real world environment and objects. As the name suggests, the technology simultaneously localises sensors in regards to their direct surroundings while mapping the structure of the environment. SLAM is not a specific software or algorithm, but rather a set of algorithms set to solve simultaneous localisation and mapping barriers.
Marker based augmented reality tracking uses a camera to identify visual markers of objects, for example a QR code or natural feature tracking (NFT) markers, to display digital content only when the marker is identified by the device. Once the technology has recognised the marker, it will overlay the virtual 3D object that has been corresponded with it. The device then calculates the position, orientation and marker image from the data. If the marker was rotated, the virtual object would be as well, therefore, the user is able to visualise the object with greater detail and from a variety of angles.
Location based augmented reality relies entirely on GPS, accelerometers, velocity meters or digital compasses, to collect data on the location. Based on the data received, the augmented reality content is activated. Smart Devices that come with built in location detection features are becoming increasingly popular in everyday use of AR. The most common uses of location based augmented reality include, navigation and finding nearby services.