Augmented reality overlays video onto camera-captured video in such a way that the computer-generated objects appear to have an absolute location in the real world or relative to a real world object like a page in a book. In the case of a book, the augmented reality app uses the mobile device camera to display an overlay video superimposed over the corresponding illustration in the book.

Adding augmented reality to a target involves the following components:

  • A target with an illustration
  • Marker image that reflects the “active” illustration
  • Video or 3D model overlays that are superimposed over the footage coming from the mobile device’s camera.
  • A Content Management System that matches marker images with video overlays, and is used to place the overlays with respect to the markers.
  • An Augmented reality enabled app that is loaded with the marker images and overlays. It also contains any logic or rules-based structures which define potential interactions with the overlays.
  • A mobile device with a camera through which the augmented reality app can search footage for marker images. Ideally, the device has a light that can be used as a flashlight to illuminate the marker images in dim light.
  • Image recognition middleware like Vuforia or Wikitude which interprets the footage from the mobile device camera, determines when marker images are being triggered and how to integrate virtual objects into the display stream.
  • The display streams the merged footage of the camera and the overlays back to the user. A cell phone appears like a “porthole” or “magic mirror” into the augmented world of the book, while a wearable display can provide total immersion.


To operate the augmented reality, the user starts the app and points the camera view at the target. The app attempts to match the images shown in the camera view with the database of markers. When a match is found, the app retrieves the overlay corresponding to the marker that was found and the overlay’s placement with respect to the marker from the database. The app sends the overlay to the display, which is placed as specified over the illustration with the marker, and streamed to the user along with the footage from the camera.