Live from ISMAR ’08: Latest and Greatest in Augmented Reality Applications

It’s getting late in the second day of ISMAR ’08 and things are heating up…the current session is about my favorite topic: Augmented Reality applications.

Unfortunately, I missed the first talk (had a brilliant interview with Mark Bullinghurst) by Raphael Grasset about the Design of a Mixed-Reality Book: Is It Still a Real Book?

I will do my best to catch up.

Next, Tsutomu Miyashita and Peter Meier (Metaio) are on stage to present an exciting project that games alfresco covered in our Museum roundup: An Augmented Reality Museum Guide a result of a partnership between Louvre-DNP Museum lab and Metaio.

Miyashita introduces the project and describes the two main principles of this application are Works appreciation and guidance.

Peter describes the technology requirements:

  • guide the user through the exhibition and provide added value to the exhibitions
  • integrate with an audio guide service
  • no markers or large area trackin – only optical and mobile trackers

Technology used was Metaio’s Unifeye SDK, with a special program developed for the museum guide. Additional standard tools (such as Maia) were used for the modeling. All the 3d models were loaded on the mobile device. The location recognition was performed based on the approach introduced by Reitmayr and Drummond: Robust model based outdoor augmented reality (ISMAR 2006)

600 people experienced the “work appreciation” and 300 people the guidance application.

The visitors responses ranged from “what’s going on?” to “this is amazing!”.

In web terms, the AR application created a higher level of “stickiness”. Users came back to see the art work and many took pictures of the exhibits. The computer graphics definitely captured the attention of users. It especially appealed to young visitors.

The guidance application got high marks : ” I knew where I had to go”, but on the flip side, the device was too heavy…

In conclusion, in this broad exposure of augmented reality to a wide audience, the reaction was mostly positive. it was a “good” surprise from the new experience. Because this technology is so new to visitors, there is a need to keep making it more and more intuitive.

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Third and last for this session is John Quarles discussing A Mixed Reality System for Enabling Collocated After Action Review (AAMVID)

Augmented reality is a great too for Training.

Case in point: Anesthesia education – keeping the patient asleep through anesthetic substance.

How cold we use AR to help educate the students on this task?

After action review is used in the military for ages: discussing after performing a task what happened? how did I do? what can I do better?

AR can provide two functions: review a fault test + provide directed instruction repetition.

With playback controls on a magic lens, the student can review her own actions, see the expert actions in the same situation, while viewing extra information about how the machine works (e.g. flow of liquids in tubes) – which is essentially real time abstract simulation of the machine.

The result of a study with testers showed that users prefer Expert Tutorial Mode which collocates expert log with realtime interaction.

Educators, on the other hand, can Identify trends in the class and modify the course accordingly.
Using “Gaze mapping” the educator can see where many students are pointing their magic lens and unearth an issue that requires a different teaching method. In addition, educators can see statistics of student interactions.

Did students prefer the “magic lens” or a desktop?

Desktop was good for personal review (afterward) which the Magic lens was better for external review.

The conclusion is that an after action review using AR works. Plus it’s a novel assessment tool for educators.

And the punch line: John Quarles would have killed to have such an After action review to help him practice for this talk…:-)

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From ISMAR ’08 Program:

Applications

  • Design of a Mixed-Reality Book: Is It Still a Real Book?
    Raphael Grasset, Andreas Duenser, Mark Billinghurst
  • An Augmented Reality Museum Guide
    Tsutomu Miyashita, Peter Georg Meier, Tomoya Tachikawa, Stephanie Orlic, Tobias Eble, Volker Scholz, Andreas Gapel, Oliver Gerl, Stanimir Arnaudov, Sebastian Lieberknecht
  • A Mixed Reality System for Enabling Collocated After Action Review
    John Quarles, Samsun Lampotang, Ira Fischler, Paul Fishwick, Benjamin Lok

The End Of Museums As We Know It

As the light at the end of the (summer vacation) tunnel is almost insight, let me ask you a reflective question:

Where do kids prefer to be on a summer day:

(a) Museums

(b) Theme parks

(c) Staying at home and playing video games

Any volunteers for (a) ?…

What if you could combine all three into one?

What if you could transform learning about cultures, art, science, history – into a fun experience for kids? What if museums were as much fun as outdoor adventures and video games combined?

This fantasy is becoming a reality thanks to efforts by pioneers around the world.

Here are my picks of the 4 5 best augmented reality tours that are reinventing museums:

1. Lifeplus in Pompei

Pompei Ladies in an afternoon promenade in front of your eyes

Breathing new life into the ruined streets of Pompei

Visitors stroll in the real streets of Pompei, while watching thru their glasses, virtual scenes of city natives living their lives as if it’s 79 AD, minutes before the eruption of Vesuvius.

This EU funded project was lead by MIRALab – university of Geneva in 2004. See more at Lifeplus.

2. DNP-Louvre Museum lab

A behind the scenes look at exhibits

A mobile device with live video, shows on the display virtual objects such as a balloon that guides visitors through the exhibits. The climax of this tour arrives (1:37) when shards of an antique Islamic platter are virtually reconstructed to create the real platter.

Kudos to Metaio who developed the experience for DNP-Louvre Museum Lab in Tokyo, though they should try trimming the bulky device…

See more at DNP-Louvre Museum lab in Tokyo

3. Mobile Augmented Reality Quest (MARQ) –         Expedition Schatzsuche

Treasure hunt in a museum (in Austria)

A team oriented game where museum visitors play the role of investigators required to solve 3d virtual puzzles surrounding exhibits. Successful completion of puzzles reveal further steps of the story.

Beyond the new type of interaction with museum exhibits, MARQ introduces multi user collaboration: collected virtual items can be shared between groups, and “guided tour replays” can be viewed at any time – on the Gizmondo (RIP) gaming device.

This novice approach to experiencing Museum exhibits was developed by the Graz University team in Vienna, led by Daniel Wagner and Dieter Schmalstieg. It was shot at the Kärner Landesmuseum in Klagenfurt/Carinthia.

See more about MARQ at Studierstube

And here is an older project from the same team: Enigma Rally at the Vienna Technical Museum.

4. Rome Reborn, now Augmented

Undo the barbarians

Rome Reborn is the largest computer simulation of an ancient city. Cool. But what Fraunhofer (Institute for Computer Graphics Research) has done with it is way cool: walk among the ruins of the Roman Forum and point your Vaio UMPC anywhere to see buildings being reconstructed.

See more about the technology used at InstantReality

5. Voices of Oakland

If a cemetery were a museum

Blair MacIntyre and his team at GA Tech have done the impossible: they have turned the Oakland cemetery in Atlanta to a visitor magnet – all thanks to an augmented reality tour which can be experienced on a cell phone. You have to see it to believe it.

Unfortunately, the cemetery was destroyed last year by a hurricane. So the students of subsequent years wont be able to keep playing with it.

6. Science Museum in Paris

Navigate Museums with AirTags

A new implementation by Tonchidot for La Villette Museum in Paris where visitors use AirTags provided by the Museum or by users to enrich their museum experience.
In the creators own words:

Sekai camera turns a museum into a “living” internet environment…The real world becomes “clickable”

7. Digital Binocular Station for Cultural Museums

A stationary Augmented Reality device developed by Mind Space Solutions. Because it is fixed to a single location, it allows the use photorealistic, cinema-quality visuals, and compensate for the lack of parallax by presenting everything in stereoscopic 3D.

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What are the 10 ingredients to augment a museum tour?

  1. A practical augmented reality device (avoid backpacks and bulky displays) with visual tracking software
  2. High quality 3D models of exhibits, and how they looked and behaved in the past (and future?)
  3. A combination of learning and fun with a really really good story
  4. Breath life into inanimate objects
  5. Sprinkle some sound when necessary
  6. Incinerate verbose plaques; say what you have to say in 2 to 5
  7. Indoor tours are great; outdoor tours are even better
  8. Multi user interaction and collaboration
  9. Location based services, including (fun) navigation instructions
  10. Did I mention it has to be fun?
…and don’t forget to send the kids home with a souvenir DVD: “my augmented tour at the museum”

Didn’t make the list…

The following efforts didn’t make the list, mostly because they forgot ingredient #10…

Have you seen other augmented museum tours? Share your experiences!