Technology | DOI:10.1145/1785414.1785422 Kirk L. Kroeker
mainstreaming augmented Reality
Advancements in computer vision, object recognition, and related technologies are leading to new levels of sophistication in augmented-reality applications and presenting new ways for humans to relate to the natural world.
iNCe The eMerGeNCe of the first augmented-reality applications 20years ago, the field has drawn a great deal of interest and enthusiasm, not only from researchers working in computer science at the cutting edge of graphics technologies, but also from leaders in aerospace, medicine, the military, and a wide range of other industries and government sectors. In augmented reality (AR), a real-world setting or set of objects is augmented by a computer-generatedoverlay. Advancements in computer vision, object recognition, and related technologies are increasing the level of sophistication of that overlay, and presenting entirely new ways for humans to relate to the natural world. While a great deal of research is being conducted in this area, given the promise of the technology to have a major impact in industrial and consumer applications, significantchallenges remain, such as the accuracy of Global Positioning System- (GPS-)
an augmented reality game called ARhrrrr! developed at Georgia tech and the savannah college of art and Design. in the game, the graphics are tightly registered to a physical game board using an image-based feature tracker developed at Graz university.
PhoToGRA Ph CouRT esy oF bl A IR MACInT yRe A nD sTeVen F eIneRaugmented-reality applications are increasingly compact and powerful, and many of them require nothing more than a current-generation smartphone.
or compass-based AR applications, the bulkiness of head-mounted displays, and other issues endemic to the sciences and systems upon which AR technologies rely. Still, researchers developing AR systems continue to build increasingly compact and powerfulapplications, many of which require nothing more than a current-generation smartphone. Examples of mobile AR applications include Layar, a “reality browser” that retrieves point-of-interest data on the basis of GPS, compass, and camera view, and GraffitiGeo, an application that lets users read and write virtual Twitter-style comments on the walls of restaurants, movie theaters, and cafes. Bothapplications are available for the iPhone platform. Another example is Goggles, a Google-created application that allows users to search the Web on Android phones simply by capturing photos of landmarks or oth-
er objects. The technology also allows users to point the phone’s camera at local storefronts to retrieve business information automatically with GPS and compass data. While the number ofsuch mobile applications is increasing rapidly, AR evangelists say a killer app will be needed to make AR technologies truly catch on in the consumer space. Given the enormous popularity of Webbased social networking, for example, one killer app might come in the form of a mobile facial-recognition application that can automatically link the humans to their social-network profiles. One company,The Astonishing Tribe, has demonstrated an AR interface concept, called Recognizr, to show the possibilities of doing just that. Another approach to mainstreaming AR is in gaming. One researcher working in this area is Blair MacIntyre, who directs the Augmented Environ19
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ments Lab at the Georgia Institute ofTechnology. MacIntyre says his current work in AR is driven mainly by the desire to understand how to create compelling AR experiences, interfaces, and tools. To that end, he and his team build games and study them, focusing on everything from interactivity and visualization techniques to the feel of game mechanics to the social experiences they foster. “I’m very driven to create tools and...