Augmented reality (AR) is becoming one of the biggest technology trends nowadays. At its core, AR enables us to superimpose digital content like images, sound, text, and so on, over a real-world environment in real time. With the ascent of smart devices such as mobile phones, AR is taking the user experience to a new level in all the areas it touches by adding a new dimension. AR is poised to enter the mainstream and is actively being used in many of the following industries:

  • Retail: AR enables e-shoppers to see how products will look before purchasing them.

  • Education: AR reinforces traditional learning methods. For example, overlaying codes over textbooks allows readers to scan them using their smartphones and display additional content.

  • Entertainment and social media: For example, TikTok recently introduced AR effects that users might add to their videos.

  • Mapping and navigation: AR allows intuitive solutions in navigation that guide drivers while looking at a real scene.

Augmented reality vs. virtual reality

There are some significant differences between AR and virtual reality (VR) technologies even though they are often confused.

  • VR implies a complete immersion experience where the user is transported into a new virtual world through supporting hardware, like VR headsets.
  • AR overlays digital elements over a live view, often using the camera of a smartphone.

Unlike VR, where users are immersed in a new, digital world, AR augments the real world and allows users to continue interacting with their current environment.


There is a general opinion that the AR domain is easy to get into but difficult to implement and master. This lesson aims to change this common assumption by showing, in a straightforward manner, how to develop a Python utility geared toward adding AR effects to facial photos.

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