Friday, December 31, 2010

Unity3D - far more than just walk through

another program i'm interested in is unity3d. for my investigations on virtual reality it will be the main program i will use. there are also possibilities to use unity3d for augmented reality but i will talk about that in a later post.
in general unity3d is a well established game engine. it has already been used for architectural visualizations because especially first person walk-troughs with very satisfying graphical experience are relatively easy to create.

i know that there is quite a big number of game engines available today but unity3d has some big advantages. first of all they have a great, very helpful community. this is very valuable when it comes to problem solving. usually you will get response within a few hours.
the second one is that, due to the variety of supported scripting languages, many programmers provide plugins or scripts to increase the possibilities for each of us. they are also very quick in adopting new technologies like the xbox360 cinect to name a recent example.
another great thing is the fact, that they offer a free version of unity3d. of course it has some limitations, like no support for real time shadows, but it's still a fantastic program to work. you can also try the pro version for 30 days!
the last fact i want to mention is the possibility to publish to multiple platforms. among them are windows and mac standalone versions, a webplayer, iOS, android, and some game consoles.

for some examples of what you can do with unity3d you can have a look at their gallery. to do this you have to download and install the webplayer.

as i'm currently working a lot with unity3d there will be more posts soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

durchsehen, exp. 01 (augmented perspective)

this is a great project by daniel franke and markus kison. the discription can be found below.

Durchsehen Exp. 01 (Docu) from Daniel Franke on Vimeo.

By Daniel Franke ( and Markus Kison (
Durchsehen, Exp. 01 (augmented perspective)
D-2010. Concrete cube, PC, 2 projectors, webcam, servo motors, microcontrollers, C++ applications, tripods. 4 x 4 x 2 m.
A camera fixed on the concrete cube sculpture recognizes the presence of human faces within its scope. With a randomized choice it will focus on one of the bystanders and adjust its movement to his; tracking the eye movements of the viewer, a software computes the corresponding angle of view projecting onto the cube the very section of the space the sculpture is blocking from the viewers eye; thus making the cube appear transparent.
The video sculpture „Durchsehen, Exp. 01 (augmented perspective)“ overwrites the common notion of perspective and plays with the significance of perspective in an art historical perspective; the work of art evades the gaze of the viewer or rather: the two are equated. The gaze of the observer coincides with the object of observance in a piece that also draws a line to former strategies of dealing with vision and depiction: the renaissance praxis of “painting on glass”.
Through the real-time projection on the cube a 3dimensional depiction of 2dimensionality occurs; the catoptric turns dioptric. The framing plane of the conventional video image becomes fragmented as work and reality intertwine in an augmented perspective.
(Text translated by Mikala Hyldig Dal)
the text was taken from daniel frankes vimeo page.

Monday, December 27, 2010

tan le: a headset that reads your brainwaves | video on

it's a bit off topic but i just like the idea of one day being able to control your whole environment just with your thoughts.
the movie was taken in july 2010 at the ted global.

here you can find some more information about the speaker tan le.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

qualcomm - the future of mobile applications

this video clip is from february but i just thought about it.
"Liat Ben-Zur, Senior Director at Qualcomm, believes that in the future, mobile applications will be able to bridge the physical and virtual worlds through augmented reality and contextual capabilities."

the clip and quoted text were taken from this site.

in the video they mention a super market as example. you could get additional information on nutrition or cooking instructions as well as advertisements for related stuff by facing your camera towards a product.
but there are also completely different possibilities to use such technologies. by implementing geo-referenced 3d buildings you could be able to see different states of a certain area during time. just imagine walking through a city like rome with your mobile phone in your hand. it could give you the possibility to see how the street you just walk along looked a few hundred years ago. in addition you can still get information that might be of interest for you (see layar or wikitude).
of course the same also applies for future projects or unbuilt alternatives that can be shown with such an application.

this is one of the areas i want to work on in the near future. so if you have any suggestions, ideas or critics(!) please leave a comment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

update on wikitude - wikitude drive

this is just an update to my previous post because of a recent development. the guys at wikitude released an app called wikitude drive. beside normal features that you would expect from a navigation solution it has an augmented reality mode. in this mode the navigation information is shown as an overlay to the camera view. today they launched it for austria, germany and switzerland. so far it's available on the android market for android 2.1 and above.

it's a paid app so please keep in mind that the refund period in the android market was reduced to 15 minutes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

augmented reality in an urban scale

i'll present you two platforms for mobile devices that i want to investigate during the next weeks according to their possibilities in presenting architectural projects. they have quite a similar approach, but offer different possibilities.

the first platform i want to show is wikitude. the basic idea is that you get overlay tags to your live camera view. the information for these tags is taken from a wide range of databases. according to the interest of the user they are shown or not. the used databases include wikipedia, twitter, youtube, Flickr, archINFORM and many more. some of them prepare global content and location based information, but there are also examples where wikitude is used as a navigation help. one would be the University of Bath. they put tags for their main campus buildings into wikitude.

property of

the second platform is layar. they have an even larger number of databases connected. especially many companies use it to guide customers to their shops. even though they look similar at first sight there are two obvious differences. one is, that you could offer paid content at layar. the second one is much more interesting for architectural visualisation. layar gives you the chance to place textured 3d models with geo-coordinates. the restrictions to these 3d models are a maximum of 5000 polygons and a texture size of up to 512x512px. this doesn't allow high quality models to be placed but i think it would be worth to give it a try.

property of

if you didn't do already you can search for these apps on your smartphone. both are available for android and iphone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

zebra imaging holographic images and displays

these guys developed some really interesting products. unfortunately they are a little bit expensive...
but here are two videos they posted on youtube:

basically they are two different products. the first video shows a holographic print while the second clip demonstrates their motion display that can be controlled via ethernet.
if you got curious about this have a look at their webpage.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Initial Post

hi everybody,
i created this blog to share my ideas, investigations and work on different new technologies that might influence architecture or the perception of architecture in near future.
my special fields of interest at the moment are augmented reality and virtual reality and their implementation on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets.
over the next weeks i will also start to publish my link collection on these topics.
if you have any further suggestions and ideas please leave a comment.
i hope you enjoy this blog.