Augmented Reality: What is it and how to create it

Augmented reality is the term used to describe the set of technologies that allow a user to visualize part of the real world through a technological device with graphic information added by it. Through the camera, the real object is transmitted to the software, which receives the image and combines it with 3D projections.

Andrés Jimenez
Andrés Jimenez
December 2022

In turn, the projections are introduced into the image and superimposed on the physical environment, reflecting the result of the AR to the user.

The device, or set of devices, adds virtual information to the curren physical information; that is, a virtual part appears in reality.

This way, tangible physical elements are combined with virtual elements, thus creating an augmented reality in real-time

Technologies available to create AR


It is a library that allows the creation of augmented reality applications, and it uses the capabilities of video tracking, in order to calculate, in real time, the position of the camera and the orientation relative to the position of the physical markers.

Once the position of the real camera is known, the virtual camera can be placed at the same point and 3D models are superimposed exactly on the real marker.

It is currently maintained as an open source project hosted on SourceForge.

ATOMIC Authoring Tool

It is a tool that allows the creation of augmented reality applications, developed especially for non-programmers. ATOMIC's main motivation is to provide the community with an open source tool that can be easily modified and does not require too much technical knowledge to access augmented reality technology.

It was created as a Front end (Graphical Interface) to use the ARToolKit library without having to know how to program. It was written in the Processing programming language and is licensed under the GNU GPL License.

It is cross-platform which allows it to be used on Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu and Mac OS X operating systems.


It is a multi-platform computer program, dedicated especially to modeling, lighting, rendering, animation and creation of three-dimensional graphics.

Also digital composition using the procedural technique of nodes, video editing, sculpture (includes dynamic topology) and digital painting.

Unity MARS

Unity MARS offers specialized tools and a streamlined workflow so AR creators in all industries can create AR experiences that intelligently interact with the real world.


Like Simple CV, it uses the device screen in the same way: implement the real images with those of the virtual world. It is used to recognize and track both flat images and simple 3D objects, in real time.

Another of its features is that it is capable of adding virtual buttons, creating background effects or managing occlusions, which makes it possible to find partially hidden objects.

Very useful for developers who are interested in making augmented reality apps that integrate real and virtual images.

This SDK is available for free, but it also has paid versions that allow access to other, more advanced features.


ARCore is the platform designed by Google and that benefits from various APIs that allow our smartphone to recognize, analyze and above all, interact with the environment.

It is capable of detecting elements such as movement, size and location of different horizontal, vertical and angled surfaces, as well as estimating the light conditions of the place where you are.

Suitable for developers who want to create augmented reality apps on smartphones, both iPhone and Android, in a much easier way, since it allows multiple platforms to be developed.


The use of augmented reality to create interactive images that serve to promote a brand's products is undoubtedly one of the fashion trends.

Layar allows you to create interactive content and access it from catalogs, magazines, information brochures or codes printed on products.

It also allows the insertion of videos or alternative versions of the product that the client is watching at that moment.


Metaio Creator, a software that will allow users without technical or programming knowledge to develop content in Augmented Reality as well as program and design applications of the same type.

It is the most widely used augmented reality application development tool for mobiles. It has many of functionalities especially oriented to the marketing, printing, automotive and industrial sectors.

Difference Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

On the one hand, it needs the real world to be able to project its images and create immersive experiences for users, but without isolating itself from the real world.

What this technology does is superimpose or add layers to reality, thus creating a world that is the result of the mixture between the digital and the real.

Virtual reality

Gives the possibility of entering virtual spaces, with the use of virtual reality glasses. What can be seen is created by a computer and the position of the objects changes throughout the process.

On the other hand, it does not make use of the real world and what it intends is to create a completely new world, isolated from the real world.

VR shines for the possibilities it offers to videogames, since by not making use of the real world, it has no limits when it comes to creating new and fantastic worlds.

AR Applications

Augmented reality presents an increasingly broad field of application.


Improved methods of diagnosis and treatment and avoid practices on real patients.

It allows repeating training or diagnostic work as many times as desired.

It contributes to much more reliable analysis and reduces the risk of operations and postoperative treatment.

It can be combined with other immersive technologies, such as virtual reality in medicine.

Through tablets or holographic glasses, doctors can view organs in 3D or consult the patient's history before or during surgery.


Many students already enjoy notebooks made up of special markers that, in front of the computer screen or mobile device, react by offering 3D images.

Students with the AR glasses and without having to leave their homes, can be immersed developing expertise in complex skills and achieving better results than simply listening to the teacher during class, the training can create interactive experiences.

Learning by doing is one of the most effective methods of learning.


AR helps brands connect directly with their consumers, improve positioning and create memorable experiences through their products, advertising, events and activations.

From trying on clothes virtually to seeing an interactive campaign on a wall in the middle of the street. The sales and promotion potential that AR offers to brands is incalculable.

Commerce accompanied by augmented reality technology is a powerful tool that allows sales executives to virtually display products in a real environment to drive decision-making anytime, anywhere. Customers have more information to be able to place an order and buy.

Brands such as: IKEA, Amazon, Gucci, among others; allow the customer to try, through this technology, how the garments would fit or how an item to buy would look like within the space where it should be located.

Automotive industry

AR innovation within the automotive field is progressing, with applications such as on-screen aids for GPS navigation displayed on the windshield.

On the other hand, augmented reality has various applications within the industry, especially in the field of manufacturing and maintenance, worker training or vehicle quality control.

Currently more companies are adding to this technology, for example BMW partnered with Nvidia and Hyundai partnered with Unity, both with the intention of building virtually accessible 3D digital twins of their factories.

This will allow employees to collaboratively evaluate modifications and adjustments to production lines in the early planning stages.


AR facilitates the visualization of the ideas and elements of the architectural project, such as:

The organization of spaces.

Construction materials and finishes.

The lighting design.

The color of the surfaces, which makes it easy to try and experiment with different tones and ranges.

Also, it makes possible the location (within the spaces of the 3D designs) of furniture and devices or appliances. Likewise, it allows inserting animated scale models of people, to recreate their movement in space.

Many companies use AR so that the client can see in real time how their house will look once the works are finished or how the new armchair will fit in with the rest of the decoration.

It has greatly facilitated the progression of studies and projects, being widely used by both students and professionals.


Unlimited information in front of your eyes, through augmented reality the virtual world is intermingled with the real world, in a contextualized way, and always with the aim of better understanding everything that surrounds us.

The main objective of Augmented Reality is not to change perception, his is to improve reality with virtual objects to improve user experiences, we have seen this to a large extent in video games or social media filters, but its range Its application is much broader and is also present in areas such as the automotive industry, architecture, education, television (3D glasses), tourism, literature, cinema and even medicine.

It will bring an unimaginable digital world to the real environment. becoming a true work tool, which optimizes and facilitates processes and, in turn, contributes to problem solving.

Augmented reality will improve future experiences. It is seeing the real world with other eyes.