Friday, September 30, 2011

outdoor AR

hi guys,
sorry for my long absence but now i'm back from my summer break and plan to keep you up to date more frequently again. what i've recently been working on is outdoor applications of augmented reality for architectural visualization. this i've done using two different methods. on the one hand side i was using geo-referenced models and gps, compass and accelerometer input to calculate the current position of the camera. on the other hand side i was going on to experiment with the qualcomm augmented reality package and its capabilities for outdoor use.
i'll try to post some of my latest experiments and results over the next week.
i hope you will enjoy it and you give me some feedback.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

video sample - augmented reality-project presentation

finally i managed to find some time to prepare a little sample video of my latest application. it was built as part of a project presentation for a design course. the project itself can be found here.
i hope you enjoy the video and, as usual, please leave a comment for any further questions.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


the first official version of the qcar sdk was just released a few days back. it brought some great improvements on the tracking performance and on the list of supported devices. right now every android phone running android 2.1 - 2.3 should be supported.
that's one reason why i'm pretty busy at the moment. the process of updating existing projects to this new version takes a while. the second thing keeping me working is actually quite exciting for me. next week we will use an augmented reality application the first time to actually present a project we did for a design class at university. i hope by the end of next week i'll have a video for you ready showing you what we did!

as i recently realized the interest in virtual buttons seems to be pretty big. after i was not so happy about them at my first try i decided to give them another chance and prepare something after next week.
if you have any suggestions just send me a message.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

facebook group

hi everybody,
in collaboration with a friend we started a facebook page around digital design in architecture. if you are interested have a look and feel free to like us!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

sample video - apartment shadow scene

hi everybody,
i just posted a new video demonstrating the implementation of some light scenarios into an augmented reality application. it was built on base of the shadow demo project from unity that can be downloaded here. for performance and usability reasons i removed the interaction possibilities with the model.
the model has about 6000 polygons and 8 light maps with 1024x2048px each. on my xperia x10 the app reaches about 17 fps while on a samsung galaxy s it's about 50 fps.

for any further questions or suggestions please leave a comment or send me a message.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

augmented reality to control your home

have a look at this very interesting project of a colleague. the idea of controlling your home with a mobile device like a mobile phone is not new but using augmented reality to do that is a great approach. although there might be some more steps to take to have such a system for everyday use there could be a lot of potential.
let me know what you think about it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

fraunhofer multi touch table - 2d meets 3d

this is one of the projects i've seen at cebit. it's not really new but still could be an interesting way to discuss a project inside an office or with clients. still in the current implementation i see two main problems.
first it should be able to generate the necessary sections and plans from a model made with for example autodesk revit. all the necessary informations are already included in such a model and the extra step of programing the interactions just doesn't fit to make quick modifications to the model.
the second issue is related to the camera navigation. in my eyes it's extremely important to give the viewer also the possibility to look up and down and not just to rotate horizontally. this could maybe be done with another technology i've seen at the fair. this technology adds the possibility of measuring not only 2 coordinates of a finger but also the distance to the screen making a third dimension of input possible. that's just an idea but we will see what future brings.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

CeBIT - off topic

hi guys,
as i'm visiting CeBIT in hannover at the moment, i decided to make some off-topic posts on interesting stuff i've seen there within the next few days. more infos will follow soon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

indoor navigation

i just saw this video of a software called junaio allowing indoor navigation based on a combination of image recognition (marker based) and orientation. i'll try to get some more information, but for the moment have a look at the dome video from the mobile world congress in barcelona.


i just want to direct your attention to this blog. sahar fikouhi shows some very inspiring projects she is working on and i highly recommend to give it a look.
this is one of her videos i really like.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

current methods of augmented reality - geo tags vs. trackables (part2)

following my previous post this time i will write about the second widely used method to generate augmented reality. in this case this is done using so called trackables. this is also the method i used in my sample videos [1, 2] so far.

the general idea behind is the following. you take a 2d image with a lot of contrast points and preferably sharp edges between the elements on the picture. you can take basically any picture but the results might be not so good if you don't follow these rules. next you have to establish a spatial correlation between this trackable and the 3d model you want to show in your augmented reality application.

as i'm no mathematician or computer scientist i can't provide you with in depth information on how the tracking is exactly done but i will try to update my link collection as soon as i find some time. just about the basic principle. the application with the predefined trackable, the 3d model and the spatial relation uses the camera to get information about the surrounding. within the camera view the app uses algorithms to search for patterns of contrast that can also be found on the trackable. this is done in order to generate the correct 2d representation of the 3d model and to place it at the right position of the screen. as this happens each frame the viewer gets the impression of real time motion according to the motion of the device around the trackable.
to get a better impression how it works just have a look at my previously mentioned videos. as i'm still working a lot on that topic be sure that further clips will follow.

current methods of augmented reality (part1)

Friday, January 21, 2011

augmented reality preview 2 - virtual buttons

i just uploaded my second sample video. this one is about the concept and use of virtual buttons. they are user defined areas of the trackable, that react to occlusion. if occluded they can be used to trigger any event that one could implement in the unity3d platform. and there are a lot!

something i didn't mention in the clip is that this time, in order to reference the area of the buttons in relation to the trackable, i needed to work with real world dimensions. this means that i can exactly define how big a certain 3d element in my application will be related to a real object in my scene. this might not sound too important at the moment, but one of the things i try to do is a combination of real model and augmented 3d geometry. I will make some more tests on the reliability of the scale but this would be essential for such a combination.

for any questions, suggestions or further discussion, please leave a comment. i'm very interested in your opinion!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

video sample

hi guys,
sorry i'm recently very busy. i just want to let you know that i will try to publish a new video to show some more possibilities within the next week.
for any questions or suggestions just leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

current methods of augmented reality - geo tags vs. trackables (part1)

i want to talk about two basic methods that can be used to create augmented reality apps on mobile devices. today i will write about the first one. the other one will be covered in another post soon.
let's take it as given that the current method to generate augmented reality is to use the camera view and  generate an overlay. this is usually done by using tags to present additional information or by calculating the correlating view of a 3d model.
the first method is already in use since quite a while. i'm talking about geotagging. the basic idea behind is that 2d tags or 3d models are stored in a database with their according geographical location information (gps coordinates, hight above ground). to view the tags and models in their correct location on the screen for the current camera view some values have to be measured from three sensors:
  • gps: to get the actual position of the device; user can set a range around this location in which models or tags are shown.
  • compass: to get the horizontal orientation of the device
  • accelerometer: to calculate the vertical orientation of the device.

the combination of these values should provide the application with all necessary data to display the elements in the correct position.
while this method seems to work quite well in general (similar solutions can be found in apps like layar or wikitude), there are some serious problems. they are actually all related to accuracy and responsiveness and are caused by two facts. the first one is the general problem when working with gps. as long as you are in a rather open area the positioning works pretty well, but as soon as you are in a city with high buildings accuracy and speed of repositioning seems to decrease rapidly. Another problem is caused by the fact that data from three different sensors is used. this gives a lot of possibilities for mistakes or responsiveness issues and might affect the final result drastically. one more issue related to 3d models is, that occlusion by real world objects can't be taken into account so far. if the radius to display models is set too high, you can easily end up seeing a 3d model which shouldn't be visible (because it should be covered by a real building). so this technology works best with a very small radius and a low density of 3d models at once.
finally, as gps only works outdoor properly, this method can't be used inside a building unless another technology is used for the positioning.

i hope this gives you some idea about this method. the second part can be found at the link below.
current methods of augmented reality (part2)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

sample android app

this is just a short clip to show you what i'm currently working on. the app was made using unity3D and the QCAR plugin. it's running on a sony ericsson xperia x10 with android 2.1.
just vave a look.

for any further questions please leave a comment!