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Augmented Reality - A look before you leap

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Augmented Reality - A look before you leap

  1. 1. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com Augmented Reality - A look before you leap Version: 1.0 | Date: 30/09/2011 Employee Name: Gnana Sundar R Employee Number: 20639 Email Address: gnanasundarr@hexaware.com
  2. 2. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com2 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap Table of Contents Introduction................................................................................................................................................ 4 Augmented Reality – Let’s begin…..........................................................................................................5 ART-IS-TIC.................................................................................................................................................. 6 AR Applications.........................................................................................................................................7 Augmented Reality in Service Industries..............................................................................................10 Conclusion...............................................................................................................................................11 References............................................................................................................................................... 12
  3. 3. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com3 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap
  4. 4. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com4 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap Introduction 1.1 Being innovation-ready Somebody once said, "The early bird catches the worm". Nah, nah who said, "It is always the second mouse that gets the cheese". Umm. In this world of competitive business, everybody is watching the other and equally concerned what other people are up to. As every organization wants to be innovation-ready, both the sayings can be used as strategies that will lead to success in implementing innovative ideas and to be ready, organization wide, to embrace the future cutting-edge technologies and always be in a strong position to win new business and new customers. Remember, customer is always ahead and always thinks about the future. I'm taking the liberty to be futuristic in sharing this fast-growing area of Augmented Reality. It is good that as an organization are we ready to explore or we are already exploring building applications for mobile devices, hand held devices, tablets etc. When it comes to innovation, research and development, we immediately come to a conclusion that it is not that suitable or applicable for service providing industries. A decade back maybe this would be true but not now as every client is keen in asking a question, "What more do you have or what more will you be able to offer ?". Mobile / iPad or Android tablet application development is the talk of the IT corridor. But we must be specific about the kind of applications that we develop. So let us explore this specific area of Augmented Reality mobile application development. 1.2 Abstract The main goal of this white paper is to introduce the area of Augmented Reality (AR) and to explore some of the areas of application that would in turn help us to consider this for current and future business prospects. It will also briefly explore the technology behind augmented reality, existing augmented applications and the various tools, both open-source and commercial, that is available to build AR applications. Finally, the paper will be discussing about some of the possible applications that could be developed by a service providing company like ours for its varied clients spanning across its horizontals and verticals.
  5. 5. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com5 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap Augmented Reality – Let’s begin… 2.1 What is Augmented Reality? Augmented Reality is defined as a real-time direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment that has been enhanced or augmented by adding virtual computer-generated information to it [1]. Let us consider the following example. You are a tourist and you love to explore the various places around the world. You prefer to do it without the help of any human guide. Now, you are in front of the "Statue of Liberty" and you would like to know more about it. With the help of the AR browser on your "camera enabled, GPS enabled" smart phone, simply hold up your smart phone at the "Statue of Liberty' and voila, You Get More Than What You See (YGMTWYS, no more WYSIWYG!). See Fig 1.1, Fig 1.1, shows the screenshot of the Wikitude worldwide browser. As you can see how Wikitude overlays the camera's display and the objects you look at with additional interactive content and information. [Courtesy: wikitude.com] AR aims at simplifying the user’s life by bringing virtual information not only to his immediate surroundings, but also to any indirect view of the real-world environment, such as live-video stream. It enhances the user’s perception of and interaction with the real world [1]. From the above example, we should be able to understand the tremendous scope of AR applications that could be developed, not only for a traveler, but for the different kinds of user in various fields of engineering, education, healthcare etc. 2.2 How different from Virtual Reality (VR)? Some say, AR is a special case of VR and others argue that AR is more a general concept and see VR as a special case of AR. Whatever it is, in AR the real environment is not completely suppressed as in the case of VR; instead it plays a dominant role. Rather than immersing a person into a completely synthetic world, AR attempts to embed synthetic supplements into the real environment (or into a live video of the real environment) [2]. 2.3 What's next? In the next section, we will be discussing about the AR-Technology (ART), the various classes of AR applications and the tools available to build these applications with some real time examples.
  6. 6. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com6 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap ART-IS-TIC 3.1 Being ART-IS-TIC Augmented Reality Technology Is Tangible, Interactive and Collaborative. AR technologies are driven by both hardware and software. It encompasses the technologies that you can feel with your senses, you can interact with alone or with a bunch of people in a collaborative manner. In this paper, we will consider the Augmented Reality Mobile Systems. Smart-phones are extremely portable and widespread, and with the recent advances present a combination of powerful CPU, camera, accelerometer, GPS, and solid state compass, making them a very promising platform for AR [1]. 3.2 Hardware Components The main devices for Augmented Reality are displays, input devices, tracking, and computers. In this paper, we will be considering only handheld displays like smart phones or tablets. Tracking devices consists of digital cameras and/or other optical sensors, GPS, accelerometers, solid state compasses, wireless sensors, etc. Each of these technologies has different level of accuracy and depends greatly on the type of system being developed [1]. 3.3 Software Components Any AR system should be able to realistically integrate the augmentations with the real world. The software components must be able to derive the real world coordinates, independent from the camera, from camera images (Image Registration) [3]. Developers have the choice to make use of AR libraries like AR Toolkit, an open source computer vision tracking library that allows the user to create augmented reality applications. Table 1.1 gives a brief idea on the available open source and commercial libraries for various platforms. Table 1.1, AR Libraries Library License Available Platforms ARToolkit Open Source (GPL) & Commercial (ARToolworks Inc) Available for Android, iOS, Flash, Silverlight. The Augmented Reality Tool Kit (ARToolKit) captures images from video sources, optically tracks markers in the images, and composites them with computer-generated content using OpenGL mixare Open Source AR engine for Android and iPhone Goblin XNA Open Source Written in C#. Based on Microsoft XNA game studio ARToolkitPlus Open Source Extended version of ARToolkit
  7. 7. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com7 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap AR Applications There are many possibilities for using augmented reality in an innovative way. It could be used in the field of advertising and commercial, entertainment and education, medical, military, industrial, architecture, navigation, etc. AR could bring a better solution to some areas, a cheaper solution to others, or simply create a new service. Developers can build a standalone, "single usage" AR application using the libraries mentioned in the previous section or they can use AR Browsers, which are typically applications that retrieves geo-referenced content from online databases and present it to the mobile user on their phone through an AR interface, public APIs [1]. Layar, Wikitude, Junaio, Nokia Live View, Sekai Camera and Acrossair are some of the most popular AR browsers. They are available for iPhone, Android and iPad. 4.1 Standalone AR applications We will see couple of real time examples of standalone AR applications used in advertising and in medical field for surgery, examination and education. 1.1.1 MINI Cabrio Convertible Ad (December 2008) Fig 4.1, Augmented reality is mostly used by marketers to promote new products online. Most techniques use markers that the users present in front of their webcam either on special software or simply on the advertising company's website. For e.g., In December 2008, MINI ran an augmented reality advertisement in several German automotive magazines. The reader simply had to go to the MINI's website, show the Ad in front of their webcam and a 3-D MINI appeared on their screen as shown in the figure on the left [4]. 1.1.2 AR in Medical One of the interesting uses for AR in the medical field involves live interactive imaging for assisting physicians, medical students and children. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) includes procedures where a camera is inserted into the patient's body to help the doctor visualize the procedures he or she is conducting. In Fig 4.2, this form of surgery is aided with the use of AR imagery of a brain superimposed onto the patient's head, giving the doctor a more tangible visualization. Fig 4.3 shows that with the help of augmented reality projections of bones, muscles, nerves and other internal body parts, med students can practice procedures on mannequins in a somewhat real-world game of "Operation" [5]
  8. 8. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com8 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap Fig 4.2 [5] Fig 4.3 [5] 4.2 AR Browser based Applications Most of the AR browsers provide an interface for developers to add content to these Browsers. These "AR Websites" are called differently for each browser, whether it is a World, a Channel or a Layer. When using a mobile AR browser, information and content can be accessed by three means: Through Geo-location data (Lat/Long, Compass, Accelerometer and other onboard sensors) Through image/object recognition (recognition via computer vision) Through dynamic physical interaction with a viewed object (tracking via computer vision) 4.2.1 Navigational System: BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit partners with Junaio (Geo Location) Fig 4.3, BART of San Francisco desired an alternative way for users to access their transit information. This channel is dedicated to geo-location data gathered from the BART system. It grants the user access to the location of the nearest BART station and to up- to-the-minute information for incoming trains and estimated arrival times. The figure shows an example of the display screen used to deliver the channel [1].
  9. 9. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com9 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap 4.2.2 Mobile Social Networking - TwittAround Fig 4.4, A relatively new method of staying connected with friends and family is via mobile social networking. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are now available for use on a user’s smart phone. Popular social networking sites provide location based services. The figure on the left shows the information channel, TwittAround, available for Layar browser. This application uses GPS, compass and camera to show where different tweets are coming from. The tweets are overlaid on the landscape, virtually augmenting a user's view of the world [1]. 4.3 Future possibilities In 2005, the Horizon Report predicted that AR technologies will emerge more fully within the next 4–5 years. To confirm that prediction, camera systems that can analyze physical environments in real time and relate positions between objects and environment were developed the same year. This type of camera system has become the basis to integrate virtual objects with reality in AR systems. In the following years, more and more AR applications will be developed especially with mobile applications, such as Wikitude AR Travel Guide launched in 2008, and medical applications launched in 2007. Nowadays, with the new advances in technology, an increasing amount of AR systems and applications are produced, notably with MIT 6th sense prototype and the release of the iPads and its successors and competitors, notably the Eee Pad and Android tablets and the iPhones, which promises to revolutionize mobile AR. The ongoing technological growth of mobile Augmented Reality and Augmented Reality in general, will help AR browsers to overcome currently existing obstacles like GPS inaccuracies or screen sizes.
  10. 10. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com10 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap Augmented Reality in Service Industries Till now this paper would have given you a brief idea about the technology behind Augmented Reality and the kind of AR standalone and browser based applications that could possibility be developed on mobile and tablet platforms. Now let us think crazy and ponder over the possible services or products that could be offered to our clients spanning across different horizontals and verticals. If you talk to the various COEs functioning within our organization, they would surely (and proudly) say that they are already working on iPhone, Android or iPad solutions for such and such client for this particular technology. The following section discusses some AR applications that could be built and offered as a service or a product 5.1 AR enabled Business Intelligence We are one of the leaders in offering Business Intelligence solutions to various clients across the world. Some of the clients have already started talking about the need of having iPad based solutions for their BI needs, like IBM Cognos reports on iPad. In terms of AR, there is an opportunity to develop AR browser based application that would overlay more location specific information on top of the reports (while the user is travelling). This is just one idea. There could be umpteen possibilities when it comes to AR enabled BI reports. 5.2 AR enabled Social Media solutions Every Tom, Dick and Harry talks about Social Media. With so much real-time data floating around on the social web, tremendous social web mining solutions are in high demand by the customers. The moment we start mining into the social web, AR could be easily plugged into it. Customers could use these applications for Advertising and Campaigning and starting new ventures Likewise, AR enabled solutions could be provided for Inventory and Asset Management systems, Banking applications, Customer Relationship Management, Human Resources Management systems and so on. There are very few companies who are developing Augmented Reality applications in India. It is always good to be early in the market. The moment we have the technology with us, solutions that could be offered becomes infinite.
  11. 11. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com11 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap Conclusion Augmented Reality is a technology of the future. It is still in its infancy and lot of research is going on in this specific field. I hope this paper would have served its purpose of sowing the “seeds of interesting and innovative opportunities that are available in augmented reality mobile applications” into the minds of the techno savvy readers or enthusiasts like you. A growing organization always adapts them to be one of the following three, “a first mover” or “a fast follower” or “a trend setter” in order to portray them as “innovation-ready” to the business world. I want to this conclude this by re-quoting a famous utterance in a different way, “Augmented Reality – that’s a new look for man, an innovative leap for mankind”
  12. 12. © Hexaware Technologies Limited. All rights reserved. www.hexaware.com12 Augmented Reality - A look before you leap References 7.1 Bibliography [1] Selected papers from the Handbook of Augmented Reality, Springer Publications [2] Spatial Augmented Reality by Oliver Bimber and Ramesh Raskar 7.2 Webliography [3] Wikipedia entry on Augmented Reality [4] MINI Augmented reality Ad - http://technabob.com/blog/2008/12/17/mini-augmented-reality-ads-hit- newstands/ [5] AR in Medical - http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_augmented_reality_helps_doctors_save_lives.php 7.3 Software Libraries ARToolkit - http://sourceforge.net/projects/artoolkit/ ARToolkit (Commercial) - http://www.artoolworks.com mixare - http://www.mixare.org/ Goblin XNA - http://goblinxna.codeplex.com/ 7.4 AR Browsers Layar - http://www.layar.com/ Junaio - http://www.junaio.com/ Sekai Camera - http://sekaicamera.com/ Nokie Live View - http://betalabs.nokia.com/apps/nokia-live-view Acrossair - http://www.acrossair.com/ Wikitude AR Browser - http://www.wikitude.com/en/

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