by Aug 20, 2009 Projects
Imagine that you visit a museum and by pointing your mobile phone to an object of the exhibition you can see more information about it, or if it is a reconstructed archaeological artifact, you can see it in pieces as when it was found and then see the virtual reconstruction of the object.
Imagine that you can insert information, through your mobile phone, about the objects you are seeing and explore information that previous visitors left.
Imagine that you visit ancient ruins and by wearing special glasses, you can see how historians think the completed buildings were, at those times or even see virtual humans dressed, acting and talking as supposed.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a field of computer research that refers to the mixing of real world images and computer-generated data, that augments meaning to those real world images.
Although, AR refers to computers, the concept of adding graphical information to images of real objects is not new (take a look at History of Mobile Augmented Reality – via Howard Rheingold) and it is even used in paper books.
Since 1959 the Italian publishing firm VISION has been applying a patented system which consists of printing on transparent material the image of the reconstruction of the ruins of an ancient monument or of an archaeological area, in such a way as to overlay this reconstruction on a photograph of the same subject in its present state. In About Us Webpage of VISION
A simple form of augmented reality, still widely used nowadays, is a televised football match, which give the viewer several graphical information, during the game.
Augmented Reality is gathering a lot of interest, recently. Last July, Apple has filed a patent related to AR. According to Ori Inbar, from Games Alfresco,
Although the term Augmented Reality (AR) is not explicitly mentioned in the patent – it describes very common mobile AR scenarios.
Some people don’t believe Apple will be able to defend this patent due to published prior art on this field. Today, we have already several AR browsers, like Layar, Wikitude, Sekai Camera or Acrossair, for iPhone or Android Mobile Phones, and there are several projects on this field, some of them funded by European Commission.
a) Accessing information in context with the exploration of the site through position and orientation tracking.
b) Personalized and thematic navigation aids in physical and information space through the use of visitor and tour profiles taking into account cultural and linguistic background, age and skills.
c) Visualization in 3D of missing artefacts and reconstructed parts of damaged sites on Head Mount Displays.
d) User friendly multi-modal interaction for obtaining information on real and virtual objects through gestures and speech. In addition, tools enabling site administrator to organize the presentation of site information in creative ways will be provided.
You can find several publications, presentations about the project and a video of the first results here.
The goal of LIFEPLUS is to push the limits of current Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, exploring the processes of narrative design of fictional spaces (e.g. frescos-paintings) where users can experience a high degree of realistic interactive immersion. (…) According to its key mobile AR technology, visitors are provided with a see-through Head-Mounted-Display (HMD), earphone and mobile computing equipment. A tracking system determines their location within the site and audio-visual information is presented to them in context with their exploration, superimposed on their current view of the site.
iTacitus explored ways of using augmented reality to provide compelling experiences at cultural heritage sites. For example
* Superimposed Environments: 3D objects are placed into the scene on the spot in order to overlay the real scene. Like missing paintings, statues or architecture models.
* Annotated Landscape: Abstract context sensitive information overlays showing images, texts and videos about a certain spot.
* Spatial Acoustic Overlays: Transporting a place’s original ambiance by virtually placing spatial audio clips in the surroundings.
DNP-Louvre Museum lab, in Tokyo, and Metaio, developed an experience to the museum, where the visitors are guided through the exhibition, having more information about what they are seeing and even having the possibility of seeing an object being virtually reconstructed:
(via Games Alfresco)
Another example of how augmented reality can be used in an attractive way in museums is Mobile Augmented Reality Quest (MARQ) 2005-2007, an electronic tour guide for museums based on a self-contained, inexpensive PDA.
The AR tour is delivered in the form of a team-oriented game. An arbitrary number of teams of visitors (target age 12-16) are cast into the role of investigators trying to solve a number of puzzles to solve that involve finding specific exhibits in the museum and manipulating the 3D cyberspace that surrounds the exhibit. Successful completion of a puzzle leads to the revelation of another part of the story. An interesting aspect of our project is also that it will for the first time involve the creation of massive amounts of professional and didactically relevant content for a mobile AR application.
A situated Augmented Reality game played in a Museum in Austria (via Games Alfresco)
Games Alfresco blog has a good post with several other examples of Augmented Reality in Museums.