tracking augmented reality

Archive for the ‘Locative AR’ Category

AR binocular stations

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Here’s a good example to show that AR only looks good when done well with eye-popping graphics (not a surprise to anyone, really).

Where as the AR for YanMingYuan – a tourist attraction in China – has the idea and concept of bringing the ruins to life, it looks kind of fake and bordering on the cheesy side…

On the other hand the AR digital binocular station by NZ based MindSpace Solutions looks a bit more appealing (though, why not design the binocular to look more updated if they have to reconstruct it anyway?) and the integration of video content is always nice:

Note that in both cases, since it is using a stationary device, GPS or heavy video feed analysis might not even be needed to assemble this AR experience. As long as the computer knows the position of where the camera is looking (and we can calculate this using a rotary encoder), overlaying video and special fx onto the camera feed should be relatively simple.

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November 22nd, 2009 at 1:51 pm

AR Restaurant Browsers Review

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It’s been a little more than a month (or is it two?) since mobile AR apps have started to make an appearance on the mobile market. And, it’s clearly not making that big of a buzz as a lot of AR developers and future forecasters were drumming it up to be back in early August. Not a big surprise, as these apps are really quite limited in their functionalities. Our biggest peeve: why overlay geo-data on camera view when it’s not all that accurate and it’s easier to use with a vector map view anyway? Having said that though, we’ll acknowledge that it has to start somewhere.

Augmented Planet, an extensive AR blog, has just posted a review of AR browsers. The author used several browsers to locate his local Indian restaurants, and the results are really not that great. Read the details here:

Here’s a bit of summary from the post:

Layar: “Out of all the applications tested Layar local search performed the best with the least amount of data errors, of the 8 restaurants shown I only spotted 2 that were misplaced in residential areas.”

Robotvision: “..The app however lists JPF Drum Tuition and Olga Piano Tuition as local Indian restaurants as well as plotting restaurants in residential streets. The augmented reality view has a number of problems, for starters there is no compass to tell you where things are making it really hard to find anything. The other problem is if places are close together then its impossible to select all but the front option”

Yelp: the two benchmark restaurants were relocated on the map and vanished from the map, respectively. “One last comment about the AR view is it’s so unresponsive, items in the view sit around regardless of where you point the camera then gradually slide away. Yelp is not without it’s mapping errors, further afield from my home location I noticed missplaced pubs, Chinese resturants and even a few resturants placed on the motoway.”

“UrbanSpoon surprisingly for an application that is dedicated to eating and finding restaurants performed the worst with the most mapping errors. Brashwamy’s is completely missing despite having submitted it via the applications add a restaurant function several weeks back. Sharod is shown but also located in completely the wrong location.

Putting the application in to AR mode has a useful feature where the restaurants are represented by a bubble with the bubble colour reflecting the customer feedback. Clicking the bubble you can get the phone number, vote or add a menu with your camera. It’s just a shame that the data is so inaccurate that you’ll never be able to find the restaurant to see if it lives up to its hype.”

Granted we’re still in the early days of AR and the technology still need a little time to mature, but erratic data and bad user experience like these, if it becomes a norm with AR app, then we’ll be reduced to merely using AR as advertising gimmicks and this promised ‘terminator vision’ could very well fizzle away. Anyone remember VRML?

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November 10th, 2009 at 9:14 am

Posted in Locative AR, Mobile, Tech

AR for mobile in 3D

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Layar announced last week their new 3D feature coming in November. This feature will enable 3D rendering for Layar’s API, so that you can have something like this:

on the mobile application developed using Layar.

Interesting because: while we’ve seen a lot of AR apps on the desktop using 3D renderings (from Total Immersions to all the projects using ARToolKits, FLAR.. etc.) the AR apps on mobile have all been limited to drawing flat sprites/billboards on top of live video. Also note that this is *not* using a marker but location data in order to draw the 3D objects. Could be interesting to learn how they determine camera translation and smooth out the jitter.

However, 3D in AR on mobile phone still has lots of ways to go. Layar 3D: “With the limited processing power of phones we try to keep 3D objects below 1000 polygons. The platform can process objects up to 5000 polygons but starts to slow down.” Which means we probably won’t be able to get a lot of smooth-looking stuff w/ the current smart phones, but alas, it is a step forward.

Also, this looks like something out of Fringe:


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September 28th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Locative AR, Mobile, Tech

First official iPhone AR apps

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AR apps using location data on the iPhone (no video analyzing). Seems like these are available now on the app store (as of 21/09/09):

New York Nearest Subway from acrossair – NYC’s subway map

London Nearest Tube, also from acrossair – London’s Tube map

Discover Anywhere Transit – Transit information for several cities in North America.

While certainly cutting edge and putting new technology into practical use, the actual usefulness of these augmented maps remain to be seen, however.

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September 21st, 2009 at 11:41 am

Posted in Locative AR, Mobile

Cool video

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These effects are done in post-production, but would be super sweet as mobile AR:

street tests from Najork on Vimeo.

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September 21st, 2009 at 9:58 am

Posted in Art, Locative AR, Mobile

A good primer for Locative AR on mobile devices

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Video explanation of the technology behind locative AR on mobile from GigantiCo blog:

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September 4th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Locative AR, Mobile

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