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Augmented Reality Links Virtual, Real Worlds

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Justine MurphyPicture it: You’re on a vacation and getting ready to explore local attractions. Brochures in the hotel lobby offer information about the best sights to visit, but they can be cumbersome to carry. Well, what if your smartphone could replace those pamphlets with apps that offer recognition of landmarks and even directions for how to find them?

It’s possible, thanks to augmented reality (AR) technology.

In our cover story, science writer Valerie Coffey explores how the virtual world of AR is making its way into the real world. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which offers fully immersive experiences, such as riding a roller coaster, smart wearable technology augments existing reality with an overlay of virtual content.

Many are anticipating great things for AR in the health care field in particular. It would allow physicians and surgeons, for example, to see patient data and other pertinent information during an operation or office-based procedure. Applying AR in this way could decrease medical errors and save lives. AR technology may also be incorporated into medical school classrooms and labs, providing students a 3D experience that would more closely mimic a real-world medical setting.

Learn more about how AR is expanding and what that means for the future (read article).

Elsewhere in the magazine:

• EPIC Insights examines the evolution of optical fiber technology. Traditionally applied in telecommunications, it’s making its way into other photonics sectors across Europe. From spectroscopy and metrology to photonic integrated sensors, the use of optical fiber is quickly expanding (read article).

• Terahertz imaging is emerging as a promising technique for noncontact, nonionizing 3D spectroscopy applications. Thomas R. Juliano Jr. and Philip F. Taday of TeraView Ltd. delve into this method’s unique properties, which are finding purpose in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries (read article).

• Darryl McCoy and Joseph Henrich of Coherent Inc. offer an in-depth look at how lasers and amplifiers are supporting applications across a gamut of scientific research. The technology is diverse, but advancements have sprouted common themes in ease of use, enhanced reliability, and higher performance (read article).

Enjoy the issue!

Summer 2018
EditorialJustine Murphy

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