Skip to Main Content
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology in which a computer-generated image is superimposed onto the user's vision of the real world, giving the user additional information generated from the computer model. This technology is different from virtual reality, in which the user is immersed in a virtual world generated by the computer. Rather, the AR system brings the computer into the "world" of the user by augmenting the real environment with virtual objects. Using an AR system, the user's view of the real world is enhanced. This enhancement may be in the form of labels, 3D rendered models, or shaded modifications. In this article, the authors review some of the research involving AR systems, basic system configurations, image-registration approaches, and technical problems involved with AR technology. They also touch upon the requirements for an interventive AR system, which can help guide surgeons in executing a surgical plan.