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Augmented Reality and Computer Vision Tracking

The team at ACID have been exploring the potential of working with tangible media interfaces to open up the magical world of Augmented Reality: creating games that are situation aware, and assistance oriented, as opposed to conventional mobile games which are command oriented. These next generation games take us past the conventional mobile games, by utilising the camera to give the player game controls that are more intuitive and physically responsive.

diagram mobile phone camera games
Augmented Reality is a technology that allows virtual images to be overlaid on the real world, creating the illusion that computer graphics are attached to real objects. There are many possible applications: for example medical information could be overlaid directly onto a patient, an architect could see a virtual model of a building about to be built in the actual location, or a science teacher could show students virtual models of the molecules floating in space. In this exhibit we show how Augmented Reality can be used to create new types of computer games.

The basic technology needed for Augmented Reality is: a computer, a display and a tracking system. The tracking system is used to calculate exactly where a person is viewing from so that the computer graphics can be drawn from the correct position. In this exhibit we use a computer vision based tracking system.

Each of the mobile phones has a computer in it, an LCD display and a camera. The camera is used to show live video on the phone display. Software on that phone processes the video image to see if there are any markers visible. When the phone camera sees a marker, computer vision software is used to calculate exactly where the phone is relative to the marker. Once this is known, a virtual model can be drawn from the same position on top of the live video image. The final result is that by looking through the phone display a user can see virtual objects appearing in the real world. As the user moves the phone, the images are updated rapidly creating the illusion that the virtual models are fixed in space.

Previously, Augmented Reality technology could only be seen in research laboratories or in very expensive applications. However as computer processors in mobile phones get faster with better displays and cameras, this technology will be able to be experienced by anyone.

Mobile Entertainment, is a R&D project from the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design [ACID]. Project Collaborators: Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and HIT Lab NZ, New Zealand. Funded in part by the Cooperative Research Centre Programme through the Australian Government's Department of Education, Science and Training

Images: Courtesy ACID and HIT Lab NZ

 
 
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