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Next-Gen Augmented Reality Rears Its Unreal Head 49

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-i-want-my-goggles dept.
andylim writes "Separate teams at Oxford university and Zentium, a South Korean company, are working on next-gen augmented reality solutions, which make it possible to fuse real and 3D computer-generated visuals on the fly using mobile phones. The team at Oxford university has named its solution Parallel Tracking and Mapping (PTAM) and it has licensed its technology to QderoPateo LLC, which has ambitious plans to grow the mobile augmented reality market and create an augmented reality search and gaming engine running for its 'Ouidoo' smart phone. Zentium's solution is called D-Track and is being used to develop the first markerless mobile augmented reality pet, called iKat. D-Track's mapping technology is very similar to PTAM and allows your phone to recognise the space in front of the camera and create an appropriate space for an augmented reality object or pet."
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Next-Gen Augmented Reality Rears Its Unreal Head

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  • Augmented Reality gaming - I don't see how it will work. Or is this kind of like that 4 square app?

    • by maxume (22995)

      Well, the end game is paintball where your opponents look like the monsters from Doom.

      Or whatever.

    • Read Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge. Then you'll get it.

      I remember reading it and being shocked that the date was somewhere around 2023 (?). "No he means 2123, we won't have augmented reality with visual character overlays for each person" (i.e. someone could set their profile to look like a dragon and that's what you'd see through your AR). But yeah, 2023 seems pretty reasonable based on this trajectory. Amazing.

      I look forward to trying it some day.
    • Think of it as real life frogger... You go to your nearest interstate (i90 is my choice) The 4 lanes are cars. the next 4 are alligators and logs then your spot at the top. Now if you can successfully cross the interstate you win.

    • by Brackney (257949) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @01:21PM (#31428826)

      AR gaming is but one application. AR's real promise IMO is in fusing digital information with the real world to create a richer environment for people to accomplish various tasks more efficiently. The military has used this concept for years with fighter HUDs. There are smart phone apps that overlay real-estate data as you pan the camera across a row of houses. It's not just about games, and there are a lot of very interesting applications that come to mind for different industries if you start thinking outside the box.

      • No don't get me wrong, I see the applications of Augmented Reality. I don't get the applications of Augmented Reality Games

        • by c6gunner (950153)

          No don't get me wrong, I see the applications of Augmented Reality. I don't get the applications of Augmented Reality Games

          You could play bra-basketball with that busty new intern, without the risk of getting slapped?

        • by vlm (69642)

          No don't get me wrong, I see the applications of Augmented Reality. I don't get the applications of Augmented Reality Games

          Garmin GPS units, for something like a decade, have come with built in games where you physically run around an empty field playing tron or a couple other games. Putting those games in a augmented reality HUD would probably work better than looking at the screen while you run around.

          For that matter, those whom geocache, or waypoint, or that lat/long grid intersection collecting "game" would probably like an AR interface when searching. It would be less inconvenient.

          This is all aside from the fairly obviou

  • ...but not as interesting as what the public will do once this technology is perfected. Cool concept + released to the masses of the Internet = further innovation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ltap (1572175)
      I know what the public will do with it - VR porn. As always.
    • by caladine (1290184)

      ...but not as interesting as what the public will do once this technology is perfected. Cool concept + released to the masses of the Internet = further innovation.

      If by "interesting", you mean "interesting and likely disturbing" you're right on. The masses of the internet bring us things like 4chan, goatse, and 2girls1cup. I mean, yes, the masses have brought us other things not quite so disturbing, but the potential for bringing the disturbing to augmented reality is huge.
      In the meantime, I await what will come of this with baited breath and trepidation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Vintermann (400722)

        4chan is and crap like that is 100% dependent on anonymity. You don't put goatse on your Facebook profile, and you will also be rather careful what you do to people who are actually standing next to you in real life.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Cool concept + released to the masses of the Internet = further innovation.

      Yeah, but "has licensed its technology" might mean that the innovation can't happen for 20 years.

    • by DeadboltX (751907)

      Ya once this kind of tech is further along it will move from cell phones to neat little video screen glasses, so we can see revealing abridged information about people as we look at their faces while passing them by on the sidewalk.

      Bob Smiggle:
      Age: 38
      Height: 5'10"
      Weight: 189lb
      Eyes: Blue
      (Source: DMV)
      Cheated on wife last Thursday (Source: Twitter)

  • ARToolkit is awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anomnomnomymous (1321267) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:50PM (#31428398)
    I've recently started exploring some Augmented Reality toolkits, and I got to say that for now I -really- like ARToolkit [washington.edu]: An open source toolkit, which is very easy to set up, and I'm astonished at how good it is.
    If you want to fool around with AR, be sure to give this package a go. Very easy to set up, and the results are amazing.

    Only downside (imho) to this is that, for now, it only supports .wrl 3d models (VRML 2.0): But other than that, the source is very cool to modify, and I've been able to let it run (albeit slow) on my N900. Still a lot of work to do though.
  • Oh noes! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb@gmai3.14l.com minus pi> on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:50PM (#31428404) Homepage Journal

    This will be a boon to the advertising "industry".

    Those bastard spawn of ultimate evil.

    • Re:Oh noes! (Score:4, Informative)

      by CmdrSammo (1086973) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @01:15PM (#31428728) Homepage
      Ding ding ding...correct! I work in the Computer Vision field and have already seen presentations of plans to overlay ads inside video content. The example shown was your classic soap opera. The program detects suitable advertising surfaces for example a table top or a wall in a scene and then renders an advert in that location. This is then embedded in the video and tada you now no longer have to worry so much about piracy because you have adverts embedded in the pirated video in a way you can't easily cut out. The program automatically calculates the value of an ad location depending on time on screen, angle to camera etc. and gives a web based front end for buying ads from the TV company.

      This could, given enough computation power in phones and cameras, allow companies to place ads in our videos and photographs based on location and orientation. Although it is hard to see why this would be better than placing huge billboars - but still I put nothing past an advertiser with enough intent.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Although it is hard to see why this would be better than placing huge billboar[d]s - but still I put nothing past an advertiser with enough intent.

        [phone rings]
        Facebook: "Hello, this is Facebook Advertising. How may I be of service today?"
        MegaCorp: "Yes, I've noticed that a lot of people on your site post pictures and videos that have billboards, signs, t-shirts, and stuff that have my competitor's name on them."
        FB: "Sir, that's something we have little control over, since the content is submitted by users."
        MC: "No, I'm not complaining, I'm making you an offer."
        FB: "Please continue."
        MC: "I'll give you $50 million to replace every occurrence of my

        • by Whalou (721698)
          You misspelled "???"
          • by natehoy (1608657)

            There is no '???'. The path to profit is pretty clear.

            I know, I know, it deserves a -5, "misuse of meme".

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Even better(worse): work it out with the phone/camera mfgrs to subsidize a line of phones or cameras that automatically does this whenever you take a picture. Then it is on the original and thus appears everywhere.

          • by natehoy (1608657)

            That doesn't eliminate the possibility of them being replaced when you post the picture to Facebook or Picasa or whatever.

            Heck, Comcast could make a mint by intercepting pictures and... umm, I'd better shut the hell up. I think I've said enough already.

  • It's easy to see how there is overlapping technology being developed in parallel. The question is how the IP system will sort out "simultaneous" discoveries.

    (the short answer probably involves lawyers and the ability to bankroll seemingly perpetual litigation)

  • BTW, has Apple filed suit yet for the unauthorized use of the letter "i"?

  • I've always thought there were some awesome possibilities for AR applications. But it seems to me that a large percentage of them would be at their best in an indoor environment, where GPS signals don't penetrate.
    I have to imagine there was a reason the governments of the world went with radio frequencies like that for GPS and its non-US equivalents, but has there been any work done coming up with something that would provide similar functionality indoors?

    • by vlm (69642)

      I have to imagine there was a reason the governments of the world went with radio frequencies like that for GPS and its non-US equivalents

      Err, you mean the electrical engineers of the world...

      So, its vaguely in the 1.5 GHz area. Lets try a proof by induction type thing and try going higher or lower.

      If we dropped to 150 MHz, we'd get much better indoor reception, but the wavelength would be ten times larger, accuracy would probably be 10 times worse just on that account. Plus the blasted ionosphere is beginning to get frisky as low as 150 MHz and that'll REALLY screw it up. And there is a lot more interference at 150 MHz than 1.5 GHz.

      If we

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System [wikipedia.org] The reason they chose the frequencies (in the megahertz arena unlike the post below).
    • by Zerth (26112)

      Just get a differential GPS [wikipedia.org] survey beacon for your building, they're accurate down to a few inches. I imagine they only cost a grand or two these days. Oh, and a dGPS add-on for your GPS.

  • I’ve seen full feature tracking AR libraries back in 2004! And videos of their usage. It’s well-known technology. But unless we have AR glasses that are affordable and can be worn out on the street, it’s not of much use. Or do you want to run around having the phone in front of you all the time?

    But at least those libs can be used for navigation that is more exact than what GPS offers (best case: 3m. worst case: 100m! in buildings: fuck you! ;). Provided someone scanned the space in advance

    • by PybusJ (30549)

      I’ve seen full feature tracking AR libraries back in 2004! And videos of their usage.

      It's hardly the freshest news. Georg Klein's research on AR at Oxford goes back at least until 2005, and the PTAM software to 2007. According to the website linked in the summary he's no longer even at Oxford but left to work for Microsoft last year.

  • Wouldn't it be hilarious if you were pedestering [urbandictionary.com] in some urban center, and you notice two guys with the same 'sun glasses'. Then those two guys notice eachother, and then a virtual light-saber battle ensues?

    Then somebody takes out their Nexus One to instantly upload a video of that event to youtube, and by the time you pedester to your destination, you could backtrack on Google Maps and find a link to an augmented video of the entire event. Wouldn't that be cool?

    Yeah, it would be pretty cool. Of course, I w

  • And you. Yes, I'm talking to YOU. You wanted to be assimilated, right? Well, let me tell you what I'm going to do just for YOU sonny. That's right for only FORTY NINE, NINENY NAHN dollahs, you can have this here I/O port screwed right into your head! Takes care o' that vision, proprioception, and I don't have to tell you about skin sensation. Eh? EH? Wink. Wink. Nudge Nudge.....

  • If someone hasn't already mentioned it, AugReal pets are described faithfully in the children's cartoon show "Denn Coil".
    Check it out.

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