Augmented reality

A commitment to innovation in augmented reality, across all sectors, is a guarantee of success; it will revolutionise healthcare, education, engineering and logistics, as well as transforming activities such as tourism, shopping and leisure.

Augmented reality combines different digital tools to augment the information we receive through our senses with new computer-generated elements. As well as creating huge opportunities in the world of assisted navigation and video games, augmented reality is on its way to becoming a mainstream technology, as ubiquitous as televisions, smartphones and internet connectivity. Augmented reality is transforming the way we shop and experience, as well as improving the productivity of our businesses. Its applications in education and medicine are also very attractive, two fields where augmented reality still has a lot of room for further growth.

It is important to differentiate between augmented reality and virtual reality, two concepts that, although radically different, are often confused. Virtual reality completely isolates you from the real world, enclosing you in a completely computer-generated environment. For this reason, virtual reality devices often cover both eyes and ears to immerse the user in a fictional space. The applications of virtual reality are very interesting. In addition to video games, there are very attractive applications in tourism, education and healthcare.

For Tim Cook, this experience is very evocative, but has much less economic potential than augmented reality. Augmented reality, unlike virtual reality, does not isolate the user from the real world, because being able to interact with the environment is the key to the technology. By combining the power of cameras, microprocessors and displays, augmented reality supplements our surroundings with digital objects and information.

Thanks to augmented reality, the virtual world intermingles with the real world in an intelligent and contextualised way, with the aim of providing us with more information and understanding about everything around us. We can imagine doctors observing the results of imaging diagnostics as they operate, operators following instructions and interactive maps, and car journeys where safety warnings and GPS map instructions appear directly on the windscreen.

Augmented reality adds layers of sensory information that expand our knowledge and complement our decisions in real time. In addition to augmented reality and virtual reality, there are also concepts such as mixed reality and extended reality, which bring together several technologies at the same time to offer different user experiences. Often these digital environments allow you to enjoy the best of two worlds and, for example, interact with real objects while exploring a completely virtual scenario. Companies such as Microsoft are looking at implementing this technology in their operating systems, and Spain's Sngular is developing mixed reality strategies to enhance the strengths of different businesses, improve their security systems and create new, more productive processes through innovative human-machine interactions.