An emerging technology known as "augmented reality" soon will allow people peering through computer-powered goggles to overlay virtual images atop those of the real world. Researchers say the technology has practical applications for everything from law enforcement to education.

For a firefighter, a computer-aided streetscape might show a school's fire exits and sprinkler connections—vital details in a fire. For a police officer responding to school incident, the goggles could relay video surveillance images of an assailant, helping the officer get a bead on the bad guy.

And for students,

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