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Augmented Reality

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Presenter: Lisa Johnston, Academic Programs - Science & Engineering
Time: 11:00 am-1:30 pm
Location: Andersen 120B/C

What is augmented reality? The real-world example is the artificial glow around the soccer ball or hockey puck to enrich TV sport-viewing. But, in short, augmented reality (AR) uses devices, like phones or web cams, to overlay virtual elements onto your real-world environment, thus created a "mixed reality." There seem to be many interesting possibilities for libraries too. Imagine aiming your camera phones at a row of books and "seeing" the LC subject headings hover above them?

Since most AR applications haven't left the lab yet, I've tried to include a video "demo" for AR apps presented here. It seems that the world of AR is quickly expanding; so many more recent tools may have already come into existence. But this technology is certainly something to keep an eye (real or computer-aided) on in the future.

International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality
The International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) had its 8th annual meeting in Orlando Florida in late 2009. The expo event showcases hands-on demonstrations in addition to research and sci-tech presentation.  The website reported on the three "Hottest Videos" from this year's ISMAR symposium. See the video demos .

There you will find a video of Sony PSE's EyePet, the virtual animal that interacts with your movements though your computer's web cam;  AR Sketch, a student paper award winner, which actually processes drawings and turns them into 3d simulations, and a potential future product from Microsoft.

Demo AR Sketch


Smart Phone Apps

A slew of new phone applications have been created for iPhone (running 3GS) and Google Android phones. These apps usually require a digital compass that . Here are some of the most interesting examples of what this technology is doing to the smart phone industry:

Wikitude: Mobile Global Travel Guide
(Free, Android and iPhone)
Wikipedia entries pop into view when you can use this app to explore your nearby surroundings via your smart phone's camera. You can imagine the limitations of items not presently geotagged (Ie. coordinate metatdata), however, this product also allows users to add content and "geotag the world."

Pocket Universe, Virtual Sky app
  (iPhone app, $2.99)
Tilting your iPhone skyward this app will align with the area of sky you are viewing and display descriptions for major objects within view.


Heads Up Navigator
  (iPhone app, Free)
The idea is simple, rather than looking down onto a map, the directions are projected forward into your real-world viewpoint via your phone.

Nearest Tube (iPhone,price varies)
Displays arrows on the ground in the direction you need to walk to reach the nearest subway station or bus stop. Cities now include Paris, New York City, London Bus, Washington DC, and more.

bioniceye.jpg layar.png

 Layar , Bionic Eye , and Nearest Places (ITunes, $1.99) are newly released apps that display nearby points of interest based on your location

Ooooh, Aaaaah: Augmented Reality Ad Campaign
They don't fulfill any need or solve a problem, but these ad campaigns are a quick and fun way to learn about AR. Try these two examples,

GE Smart Grid  and  Star Trek Augmented Reality by printing out the image and watching it interact with your computer's webcam.  Star Trek AR Demo

GE Smart Grid Demo


Twitter Augmented Reality

Flyar is an AR app for your computer. It works like a screen saver by combining a twitter world animation with webcam video capture from your computer. The animations appear to react to your movements in the screen.
Flayar Demo


Another popular twitter AR app is TwittARound, which shows you tweets from nearby locations displayed in your phone's video screen.
TwittARound Demo

Video EyeWear and Retinal Display


AR enabling equipment, like these Vuizix video eyewear (Wrap™ 310, $349.95) are the next generation accessory of mixed reality experiences that leave your computer and smart phone screen behind. These so-called "head up displays" come in a variety of styles and prices that can be used for even non-AR applications such as watching a video from your ipod.

If this enhanced reality experience is still not enough, Slashdot reports two companies, like this one by Brother, which will beam images directly into your eye, like this one from Brother set to be released in 2010. According to the article, virtual retinal displays could be used to project subtitles of a foreign speaker in real time.

This is an excerpt from my November 2009 quarterly "Web Reviews" Column: Augmented Reality: The web meets your world. (Nov 2009). SciTech News. 64 (4).

Augmented reality.docx

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