Mobile augmented reality (AR) is any type of AR used on a mobile platform, and there are many different mobile AR categories. Many marketing firms print posters and other materials for people to see, and marketing mobile augmented reality allows the user to see something special from these materials. Some games use mobile AR, making the user part of the game, usually by using his or her hands or interacting with a game board. Similar to a global positioning system (GPS), navigational mobile AR will help the user find a certain place. Interior design mobile AR allows the user to take a picture of a room and replace elements in that room with different colors or furniture.
Marketing posters, letters and other materials are a common sight, but these printouts normally do not do anything except sit there and inform people about a product, movie, service or company. With marketing mobile augmented reality, marketers are able to add extra features to the printout that can only be accessed through a mobile AR system. For example, three-dimensional (3D) elements can be added to a poster, and the mobile user will see them when he or she uses a mobile camera to look at the poster.
Many gaming systems use AR, but mobile augmented reality does this only through a mobile device. Most mobile AR games just require the user to look at his or her hands through the mobile camera, and there will be elements to move or interact with that will be part of the game. Other mobile AR games may require a supplementary object, such as a game board.
Navigational mobile augmented reality systems help bring the user somewhere and typically work in one of two ways. The simpler way is via a compass. When the user lifts the mobile device to look at an area and enters an address, a compass will appear on the screen and show the user where to walk or drive. Another navigational mobile AR system shows a line on the mobile device’s screen telling the user where to go, similar to street lines from a GPS device.
Augmented reality systems also can be used to make interior design easier. For example, the user will take a picture of a room through the device’s camera and will select something in the room. If the user selects a couch, then the interior design AR application will load other couch designs; when a new design is clicked, it will be placed over the existing couch.