Weekly Linkfest

Oh my, what an interesting week for augmented reality, especially in the business front:

This week’s video features a cool street art by SWEZA named QRadio. Graffiti boom-boxes around Berlin start to play music when the QR code drawn on them is scanned.  Via Wooster Collective.

Have a great week!

Weekly Augmented Reality Linkfest

This week in the linkfest – computer vision, Easter bunnies and furniture:

  • Augmented Reality for Smartphones” is a 50 pages-long report that analyzes many popular AR platforms in order to give developers better perspective on what’s available in the market today.
  • Computer vision (1): Thomas K. Carpenter warns us against its dangers.
  • Computer vision (2): Raimo van der Klein gives an excellent talk on why computer vision, like biological vision at the time, will start an evolutionary arms race – Birth of the Digital Eye.
  • Computer vision (3): IQ Engines is a cool startup, offering “vision as a service”. I’ve tried their mobile application, and it is amazing at recognizing objects – but also usually slow, because it is still partially based on humans behind the scenes.
  • Fraunhofer presents an eye-tracking microdisplay that delivers Terminator vision (via @Ben_Thomas_Ech).
  • Oh noes! Giant Easter bunnies invade the Earth!
  • Finally, if you ever find yourself confused by IKEA’s instructions, there will be an app for that (maybe).
This week’s video was featured on Bruce Sterling’s Beyond the Beyond, but if you missed it, here’s your opportunity. It’s in French, and depicts a modern fairy tale, made possible by augmented reality. Luckily you don’t need to know French to follow the story, and I find it only adding to the video’s allure. (However, I’ll be thankful if you can translate the old guy at the end of the video in the comments).
Happy Easter/Passover!

Augmented Reality Flashlight

The posts I like the most are about student projects. Luckily here’s another one.
A couple of students from the German research institute, the Fraunhofer Society created what they name “The Augmented Reality Flashlight”. Basically, it’s a micro-projector held as a flashlight to shed light (i.e. annotate) objects in your vicinity. Yep, projected AR is not dead after all.

So, what’s novel about this technique? After all, we all saw MIT’s Sixth Sense half a year ago. One of the students, Robert Brauer explains:

[the novelty is in] The metaphorical approach. The whole “flashlight” thing changes the style of working from the ergonomic perspective – which was our initial motivation.
In technical space I’d say that we concentrate going “pure pinky”. Based on the interaction technique there is no need for coloured finger caps. We try to work naturally on and furthermore with the object. Although we really like the MIT project, the finger caps are to us what the stylus was to mobile phones. Unnecessary and annoying.

You can read more details over Brauer’s blog. If you are a student that happen to work on an AR project, feel free to send me a mail, I’m just a few clicks away :)

Weekly Linkfest

Well, we’ve got a dwindled bag of links today, after some very busy weeks:

If I’ve missed any linkfest worthy news-bit, feel free to comment.

This week’s video clip comes to us from Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht in the Netherlands, where students created a simcity like augmented reality game. If I read the google translation of this page correctly, the goal of the game is to show the benefits of working together and selling local agricultural products in a store along the highway.

Have a nice week!

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.


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!