Augmented Reality (AR)

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Buy the best AR headsets at bestware

At bestware you can buy a curated portfolio of the best AR glasses. Especially in the professional sector, the time for AR has come. Today, an augmented reality headset already offers unbeatable advantages in many industrial or medical use cases as well as in the field of education. In this guide, we explain how AR headsets work and how you can use them.


What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that embeds computer-generated objects and information into a real environment. This is where augmented reality differs fundamentally from Virtual Reality (VR). VR is a completely digital, virtual 360-degree environment that completely hides the real surroundings.

Therefore, using an AR headset, or AR glasses, the viewer's physical environment is enriched with digital texts, images or animations. However, the real world remains at the centre of perception.

A very simple, well-known example of augmented reality is the game Pokémon Go. In this game, it is sufficient for the user to just point his smartphone or tablet at his surroundings. The virtual Pokémon are then shown on the display alongside the real environment. As a result, virtual elements and reality merge into a single perceived entity.

The terms augmented reality and mixed reality are often used synonymously in common speech. Strictly speaking, however, mixed reality itself and mixed reality headsets go one step further. They combine or extend (also: augment) elements of immersive virtual reality with elements of augmented reality.

The narrower definition of mixed reality suggests that the user can interact directly with the virtual elements and change them. However, this original strict distinction is becoming increasingly blurred as technologies advance.


What is an AR headset? How does an AR headset work?

As demonstrated, a simple smartphone or tablet is sufficient to enable at least basic AR experiences. Automotive and furniture manufacturers are already using AR technology in everyday applications. For example, a smartphone can be used to check how a new couch will look at home or whether the next car will cut a good figure in front of one's garage.

However, sophisticated and particularly immersive representations require an augmented reality headset, also called AR glasses. This also includes a large portion of professional application areas.

An AR headset is a high-tech headset that allows additional digital content to be seen in a real environment. The way they work varies depending on the manufacturer. In most cases, the user wears transparent AR glasses to be able to see his or her surroundings unobstructed.

The transparent glasses sometimes also serve as a display. Virtual elements are projected onto the glass or display. Another alternative is the direct projection of digital information and objects onto the user's retina.

Basically, there are two types of augmented reality headsets: monocular and binocular AR data glasses. In the monocular version, the users get the additional, digital content displayed for one eye only.

This is made possible by a small additional display that sits in front of the right eye, as it is the case with the RealWear Navigator 520. The advantage of monocular AR headsets is that they are particularly light and compact. However, due to their design, they only allow two-dimensional representations.

Augmented reality glasses such as the Microsoft Hololens 2 or theMagic Leap 2, on the other hand, are binocular. They therefore also enable the display of 3D objects.

AR headsets usually come with everything needed to visualise digital data, images, videos and objects. They use a built-in or at least portable and attached computing unit for data processing. AR glasses integrate several sensors and cameras, as well as a rechargeable battery that enables self-sufficient use without cables. This way, the correct placement of virtual content in the user's field of vision becomes possible.

In addition, the sensors and cameras enable the user to be located in the room and register head and eye movements in real time by means of head tracking and eye tracking, for example, in order to adjust the display accordingly. Hand tracking or hand gesture control allows the user to manipulate digitally generated objects.

Integrated headphones and microphones allow 3D audio playback, commands via voice control and interaction with people in another location. Integrated memory is available for storing content. However, data can also be uploaded from the cloud via the internet.


What are AR headsets used for?

After initial attempts by Google to establish AR technology in the private customer sector and on the mass market with Google Glass, augmented reality headsets are now mainly important in the professional sector.

One of the most important areas of application for AR headsets is Industry 4.0. A central area of application can for example be remote maintenance including remote support. For instance, a technician who is servicing or repairing a complex system on site can have construction plans and 3D models of individual components displayed on the data glasses. At the same time, he can continue to work ambidextrously.

If necessary, the technician can connect to an expert at another location via his AR headset. In the case of a malfunction, the expert looks over his shoulder from a distance and can give tips.

In medicine, AR glasses are used to display patient data. This includes X-ray images, three-dimensional MRI scans and other information. During a surgical procedure, the doctor's hands remain free. The functions also allow consultation with an external expert to look at a medical problem together.

The education sector is also increasingly relying on the advantages of AR headsets. In training and education, AR glasses enable the enrichment of teaching material with digital holographic content. For example, trainees can practise any hand movement anywhere based on instructions and training material.


What are the best AR headsets?

The costs for AR data glasses quickly range from around 2,500 to 5,000 euros. At bestware, you can buy various AR headsets, all of which are characterised by optimal display quality and workmanship.

Whether a compact, monocular pair of augmented reality glasses like the RealWear Navigator 520, a high-resolution, binocular AR headset like the Microsoft Hololens 2 with integrated computing unit or the Magic Leap 2 with external, portable computing unit is the best choice depends on the individual application.

Conclusion: There is no such thing as the best AR glasses, only the best AR headset for a specific use case. If you are planning to purchase augmented reality data glasses, you should seek advice on the best solution in advance.

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