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Next-Gen Augmented Reality Rears Its Unreal Head

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-i-want-my-goggles dept.

GUI 49

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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I'm not sure I get it - (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428262)

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

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31428366)

This sounds a lot like most technology lately; an old idea "rebranded" and hyped as a new idea by some marketing dicks.

This is just normal gaming, with the level designed based on a photo. As anyone working in game development knows, we've had this for about a decade now. The level designers take photographs of a physical model of a level, and software generates the game level file, creating textures and 3D models from the photo data where necessary.

It's no different than AJAX or Cloud Computing. AJAX is nothing but yet another RPC mechanism. Cloud Computing is nothing more than the old mainframe model of the 1960s and 1970s.

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428484)

It's no different than AJAX or Cloud Computing. AJAX is nothing but yet another RPC mechanism. Cloud Computing is nothing more than the old mainframe model of the 1960s and 1970s.

-1 Oversimplification Mod...

Patch, damn you, patch!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31428688)

Patch as if your life depended on it!

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428536)

Of course the concepts are the same: it's the huge increases in computing power, bandwidth and algorithms which make the implementations much more useful.

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31428618)

This is just normal gaming, with the level designed based on a photo. As anyone working in game development knows, we've had this for about a decade now. The level designers take photographs of a physical model of a level, and software generates the game level file, creating textures and 3D models from the photo data where necessary.

Except no one does this. All levels are created by hand and textures are based from photos, but there is no such thing as "Automatically generating 3d models by taking pictures" in most modern games.

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428492)

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

Or whatever.

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428498)

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.

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430276)

(i.e. someone could set their profile to look like a dragon and that's what you'd see through your AR)

Second Life is coming to the first. The furries will win at last, oh no!

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430804)

Haha - even more succinctly stated

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428510)

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.

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (3, Insightful)

Brackney (257949) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429044)

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

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429180)

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?

Re:I'm not sure I get it - (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429270)

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 obvious LARP applications.

I suppose you could play paintball without using actual paint. Of course, I believe they call that "laser tag"

I think it would be hilarious fun to play a AR tag game with only three rules. 1) you're playing tag 2) Follow all laws or get DQ 3) If a non-player notices you're playing then you get DQ.

Lets be realistic here, the primary use of AR games, will probably be to upgrade how the other players look. Essentially, realtime CGI pr0n. If you can "upgrade" what the other players look like, I expect huge popularity in the beach volleyball sector.

Interesting... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428264)

...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:Interesting... (2, Funny)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428292)

I know what the public will do with it - VR porn. As always.

Re:Interesting... (1)

caladine (1290184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428332)

...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:Interesting... (2, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430304)

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:Interesting... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31429290)

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.

Re:Interesting... (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429604)

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)

Dennou pets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31428380)

According to rumors on the net, the iKat will chase iMice and iRats as well as iBugs

ARToolkit is awesome (4, Interesting)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:ARToolkit is awesome (1)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429942)

To get more out of ARToolKit, try adding osgART [hitlabnz.org] so you can use OpenSceneGraph [openscenegraph.org] .

Re:ARToolkit is awesome (1)

scribblej (195445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430826)

Would you mind letting me know how you used it on your N900? I made a simple go at it recently and failed.

Oh noes! (4, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428404)

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

Those bastard spawn of ultimate evil.

Re:Oh noes! (3, Informative)

CmdrSammo (1086973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428728)

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:Oh noes! (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429508)

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 competitor's logo and artwork with my own for one year."
FB: "We'll have it coded by the time the the check clears, sir. Would you like to have your logo added in subtle ways to other photos and videos as well? That's an extra $50 mil"
MC: "Done."

[another phone rings]
Google: "Hello, Google Maps Division, how may I help you today?" ... ...

4. Profit!

Re:Oh noes! (1)

Whalou (721698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430060)

You misspelled "???"

Re:Oh noes! (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430280)

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

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

Re:Oh noes! (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431252)

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.

Re:Oh noes! (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431372)

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.

gn4Ma (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31428500)

You. The tireless

So who gets the patent, and who gets screwed? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428578)

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)

I'll wait for the giant rabbit version. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428710)

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

Indoor equivalent of GPS? (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429248)

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?

Re:Indoor equivalent of GPS? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429456)

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 cranked her up to 15 GHz water attenuation is becoming a severe issue. Above 20 or so GHz you may as well forget extremely long distance propagation thru the atmosphere except for special conditions due to water attenuation. Usable for ham radio in certain conditions, sure. Usable for radar systems trying to bounce off the clouds, great. Also radio parts increase in cost in the microwave area at a rate much faster then the increase in frequency. So, the radio related parts are going to be well over ten times as expensive. Not sure what fraction of a $50 GPS engine is RF and what fraction is floating point trig and fancy timing stuff.

Hard to select a band better than 1.5 GHZ...

Re:Indoor equivalent of GPS? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431468)

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.

Ooooold news! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429488)

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.

Re:Ooooold news! (1)

PybusJ (30549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432076)

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.

Bad name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31429558)

Zentium's solution is called D-Track and is being used to develop the first markerless mobile augmented reality pet, called iKat

Wouldn't "Schrödinger" be a much better name?

random virtual light saber battles on the sidewalk (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429666)

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 would never engage in a virtual battle like that personally because that is waaaay beyond my geek tolerance, but it would be entertaining as a spectator ;-)

So, we've got all this high-tech... (0, Offtopic)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429776)

...and it's being used essentially to re-create the Pet Rock?

Augmented Pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31430120)

I know what I want augmented! Now, where did I put those '80s VR gloves from Lawmower Man??

Piffle where's my direct neural I/O? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31430244)

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.....

"Solutions" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31433416)

Solutions? To what problem? The tech industry is getting dumber and dumber these days. All the more reason to pick up a book, go for a walk, or ... do something with your life. Useless technology. It'll wow you for 10 minutes until you realize that there's no purpose for it. *yawn*

Fiction becomes reality (1)

Mozai (3547) | more than 4 years ago | (#31439932)

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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