The use of augmented reality is finding use in various industries. The tourism industry is becoming under high pressure to integrate technology in their procedures. Sightseeing is common in the tourism industry, and that is the reason why using augmented reality is something that should be embraced. This will increase the experience of the tourism industry. The tourism industry can make use of augmented reality by integrating multimedia interactive designs. This paper will look at the way this technology can be applied in tourism to enhance the experience in this sector.
The definition of Augmented Reality (AR) has been varied. Some define it as the use of displays which are mounted on the head. This definition, however, limits AR to some specific technologies. The definition which can be taken which has no limits combines three features which include the ideas of real and virtual, interactive when it is in real time, and the fact that when it is in 3-D, it is registered. This approach in definition is more accepted as opposed to the first definition as it includes other technologies like 2-D overlays. There are some application areas where the use of both 2-D and 3-D has been seen. One example is in the film “Jurassic Park” where the objects are photorealistic and mixed with real environment in 3-D but it is surprising because it is not interactive (Caudell, & Mizell 543).
A major decision that will be required when building AR system is whether one will use video or optics to combine virtual and reality. Each of the options has their own advantages and disadvantages. The device that is used to combine the real and virtual is called see-through HMD. By normal standards, closed-view HMDs will not allow the view of the real world directly. This is not the case with see-through HMDs where it is possible to have a view at the world directly. When this is the case, the virtual objects are superimposed by either optical or video technologies.
Application of virtual and augmented reality in tourism
There has been the use of binoculars in hilly places in order to see people who are far. The use of binoculars has been beneficial as it helps tourists get a clear view of the far areas and the streets of that location. With these gadgets, the surrounding environment become clear and the buildings are now visible. The beauty of the given area that the tourists find it appealing becomes clearer with the use of binoculars. One problem with the use of this gadget is that there is a lack of clear view and better sight of the resource that is of interest to the tourist. There is also a lack of information about a given resource. The common way that information about a resource is the use of TVs and hyperlinks that are helpful in getting information about a given resource.
The use of Information and Communication Technologies in the 21st century is becoming common. This trend is changing the way information is achieved, the way people interact with the society and the way information is organized. Tourism can stand to benefit from this application of information and communication technologies. There is the possibility of using technologies like augmented binoculars that integrates the needs that tourists have with the real environments. These can be combined with augmented technologies. This will enable users, the tourists, to get information which is personalized about the monuments and the areas of interest. They will also be able to get information in an interactive manner.
For a long time, Virtual Reality has been the most advanced developments in information and communication technologies. The technology that was used here was the total immersion of the user in a world which was virtual by the computer. Although this technology is popular within domains that use multiple applications, it is hard to have a relationship between the user and the real world. This is the reason as to why augmented reality is becoming increasingly popular with both the scientific world and the real world (Baum et al., 2006).
Augmented reality differs from virtual reality in that with augmented reality, there is an enhancement of the real world instead of replacing it. The user will have a view of the real world which has been superimposed to the field of view that they are in.
Applying virtual reality in tourism
With a virtual reality, there are various ways in which this technology can be integrated in tourism. One is that of augmented walks. With this aspect, tourists can be placed in a real environment and can have a look at the real world and the reconstructions of the monuments in real world dimensions. This is achieved by having screens that will get the pictures of the monuments from a camera and later add the modeling in 3-D. This can also be done through receiving the monumental pictures in HMD so that the tourists who walk through the real environment will have a view of the virtual monuments (Caudell, & Mizell, 2004).
Another place where this technology can be applied is Ename 974. This is where TimeFrame technology is used to get monuments pictures and lets these pictures be viewed in various profiles of the users. There is the use of a kiosk which will offer protection to the users and the system and the viewers. What the system does is that to superimpose the real scene to alterations of 3-D and then displays the results in a device that uses 3-D. This way the users will get different views of the pictures (Azuma, 2007).
There is also another application where the user can actually walk in a cultural environment and therefore has the ability to observe the real world in 3-D dimensions. This way, the user will gain additional information about the monument. This additional information is found using the multimedia virtual guide (Uenohara, & Kanade, 2004).
Application of augmented reality in tourism
Augmented reality systems that are used in tourism are highly interactive so that the cultural information can be understood well. The application of these technologies is not a replacement but rather an addition of value. The figure below shows how virtual reality is applied in tourism.
When developing an augmented reality application to be used in tourism, the emphasis is given to the development of the software that will be used and not so much on the hardware that will be used. With the use of augmented reality, tourists are able to interact with multimedia information. With this, therefore, there will be another objective that will be met with the use of augmented reality in tourism, which is acceptance of information and communication technology in tourism and therefore allowing users to be attached with profile with different models (Chen, 2009).
Design of an augmented reality system in tourism
The augmented system that can be used in tourism can be built using a system which is transparent by making use of a camera that will be used to do the recording. The binoculars can be used to make visualizations. An inertial device can be used to rotate the binoculars and make a point of view. The point of view is captured using the camera that is mounted on top of the binoculars. The picture is then sent to the unit that is used for processing the pictures.
Azuma, R 2007, A survey of augmented reality, Malibu, CA.
Baum, W, Ettinger, G, White, S, Lozano-Perez, T, Wells, W, & Kikinis, R 2006. “An automatic registration method for frameless stereotaxy, image guided surgery, and enhanced reality visualization”, IEEE Journal, Vol. 15 Issue 2, Pages 129-140.
Caudell, T, & Mizell, D 2004, “Introduction to augmented reality”, IEEE Journal, Vol, 23 Issue 4, pages 533-647.
Chen, B 2009, If you are not seeing data, you are not seeing, Retrieved November 8, 2012, from http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/08/augmented-reality/
Uenohara, M, & Kanade, T 2004, Vision-based object registration for real-time image overlay, Carnegie Mellon University.