The technology landscape continues to be dynamic. Newer products, applications and services are continuing to change end user experience and the computing possibilities. Augmented Reality is such a space that has been taking a huge shape in the recent years. What’s more, we as software testers have to start thinking about augmented reality testing. So what is it?
What is Augmented Reality?
To define in very simple terms:
- Augmented Reality (AR) is the combination of technologies and applications that enhance reality for the end user – it is often confused, but very different from virtual reality, where AR takes an experience in real time and enhances it.
- Virtual Reality is where a real experience is augmented and is also called called Augmented Virtuality (AV).
For instance, imagine you are in a safari sitting inside your car. You see the animals in the wild, at a distance, and you want to view them up close. You do so, with the touch of your fingers, on your car’s window. This is AR is real time and with such instances, AR will empower and make possible, ubiquitous computing. With the innovations around graphics, head mounted displays, interactive experiences, AR has been growing steadily over the last year, but its momentum is only now taking shape – thanks to the advancements in internet technologies, artificial intelligence, sensors, cameras, image recognition software etc.
Building AR Applications
From an internals standpoint, there are two core pieces that combine in building AR applications – the design engine where the application is designed and engineered and the rendering engine where the application is made available to the end user. There are several players that offer these technologies as a standalone piece or as a package, but we have had good success leveraging Unity for the design part and Vuforia for the rendering part, in our research projects. Of the varied benefits AR will potentially bring to the table, the most exciting is going to be bringing to life unimagined applications and their services. It will definitely unleash the app designer’s creativity in building out of box applications and for us in the technology world it is going to be even more exciting as it will definitely support in making our jobs more efficient and productive. At this time, however, AR is in its very nascent stages. It is beginning to gain prominence but it has a long way to go. Challenges around newer devices, multiplying screen and camera resolutions, newer players, make this field very competitive, vast and complex. That said, for those interested in playing with AR applications, now is a great time.
The Future of Augmented Reality
A lot of forums are available to discuss findings and queries, and any research that you can do now, will definitely give you a head start for the coming years as this discipline matures. Exciting updates from the industry include – Apple buying Metaio, Daqri buying AR Toolkit, Google buying Magic Leap and working on Google Glass version 2.
We, from QA InfoTech, have been playing around with AR and its applications, over the last two years and have presented on this topic in varied leading conferences. We have hosted a webinar on “Connect between Augmented Reality and Software Testing” on Huddle to discuss testing AR applications as well as use AR in software testing.
We discussed examples of AR applications, along with the latest and greatest in this space.
1. How to test Augmented Reality and look at the technologies used to do so
2. Test real world scenarios to enhance end user experience
3. How to productively leverage Augmented Reality to ease our jobs as testers
About The Authors
Rajini Padmanaban, QA InfoTech Pvt. Ltd. India
As Sr. Director of Engagement, Rajini Padmanaban leads the engagement management for some of QA InfoTech’s largest and most strategic accounts. She has over twelve years of professional experience, primarily in software quality assurance. Rajini advocates software quality through evangelistic activities including blogging on test trends, technologies and best practices. She is also an active speaker in conferences run by SQE and QAI STC. Her writings are featured in TechWell, Sticky Minds, Better Software Magazine and the most recent is a book she co-authored on crowdsourced testing, published by Taylor & Francis in Sept 2014. She can be reached at [email protected]
Nandan Chhabra, Rajini Padmanaban, QA InfoTech Pvt. Ltd. India
Nandan is a computer science graduate, currently working as a Software Testing Engineer with QA InfoTech, with over 2.5 years experience. He has always been fascinated about new technologies, gadgets, hacking, and computer games. This led to his interest in Augmented Reality, inspired from the Sixth Sense Technology (by Pranav Mistry). In his leisure time, Nandan loves to listen to progressive house music and shoot casual photographs.