FREE MOBILE CLOUD
COMPUTING CONCEPTS - TRAINING_MODULES_WITH_TONS_OF_VIDEOS
Post by Quentin Larry-More with Sunnyvale IT Professionals
Video games have been entertaining us for nearly 30 years, ever since Pong was introduced to arcades in the early 1970s. Computer graphics have become much more sophisticated since then, and game graphics
are pushing the barriers of photorealism.
Now, researchers and engineers are pulling graphics out of your television screen or computer display and integrating them into
real-world environments. This new technology, called augmented reality, blurs the line between what's real
and what's computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell.
On the spectrum between virtual reality, which creates immersive,
computer-generated environments, and the real world, augmented reality is closer to the real world. Augmented reality adds
graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world as it exists.
Both video games and cell phones
are driving the development of augmented reality. Everyone from tourists, to soldiers, to someone looking for the closest
subway stop can now benefit from the ability to place computer-generated
graphics in their field of vision.
is changing the way we view the world -- or at least the way its users see the world.
Picture yourself walking
or driving down the street. With augmented-reality displays, which will eventually look much like a normal pair of glasses,
informative graphics will appear in your field of view, and audio will coincide with whatever you see. These enhancements
will be refreshed continually to reflect the movements of your head. Similar devices and applications already exist, particularly
on smartphones like the iPhone.
The basic idea
of augmented reality is to superimpose graphics, audio
and other sensory enhancements over a real-world environment in real time. Sounds pretty simple. Besides, haven't television
networks been doing that with graphics for decades?
However, augmented reality is more advanced than any technology
you've seen in television broadcasts, although some new TV effects
come close, such as RACEf/x and the super-imposed first down line on televised U.S. football games, both created by Sportvision.
But these systems display graphics for
only one point of view. Next-generation augmented-reality systems will display graphics for each viewer's perspective.
Some of the most exciting augmented-reality
work is taking place in research labs at universities around the world. In February 2009, at the TED conference, Pattie Maes
and Pranav Mistry presented their augmented-reality system, which they developed as part of MIT Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces
They call it SixthSense, and it relies on some basic components that are found in many augmented reality
components are strung together in a lanyardlike apparatus that the user wears around his neck. The user also wears four colored
caps on the fingers, and these caps are used to manipulate the images that the projector emits.
SixthSense is remarkable because it
uses these simple, off-the-shelf components that cost around $350.
It is also notable because the projector essentially
turns any surface into an interactive screen.
Essentially, the device works by using the camera and mirror to
examine the surrounding world, feeding that image to the phone (which processes the image, gathers GPS coordinates and pulls data from the Internet), and then projecting information
from the projector onto the surface in front of the user, whether it's a wrist, a wall, or even a person.
the user is wearing the camera on his chest, SixthSense will augment whatever he looks at; for example, if he picks up a can
of soup in a grocery store, SixthSense can find and project onto the soup information about its ingredients, price, nutritional
value -- even customer reviews.
By using his capped fingers -- Pattie Maes says even fingers with different colors of nail polish would work -- a
user can perform actions on the projected information, which are then picked up by the camera and processed by the phone.
If he wants to know more about that can of soup than is projected on it, he can use his fingers to interact with the projected
image and learn about, say, competing brands.
SixthSense can also recognize complex gestures -- draw a circle
on your wrist and SixthSense projects a watch with the current time.
AR for the cloud engaged....
While it may be some time before
you buy a device like SixthSense, more primitive versions of augmented reality are already here on some cell phones, particularly
in applications for the iPhone and phones with the Android operating system.
In the Netherlands, cell phone owners can download
an application called Layar that uses the phone's camera and GPS capabilities
to gather information about the surrounding area. Layar then shows information about restaurants or other sites in the area,
overlaying this information on the phone's screen. You can even point the phone at a building, and Layar will tell you if
any companies in that building are hiring, or it might be able to find photos of the building on Flickr or to locate its history
isn't the only application of its type. In August 2009, some iPhone users were surprised to find an augmented-reality "easter
egg" hidden within the Yelp application. Yelp is known for its user reviews of
restaurants and other businesses, but its hidden augmented-reality component, called Monocle, takes things one step further.
Just start up the Yelp app, shake your iPhone 3GS three times and Monocle activates.
Using your phone's GPS and
compass, Monocle will display information about local restaurants, including ratings and reviews, on your cell phone screen.
You can touch one of the listings to find out more about a particular restaurant.
There are other augmented reality apps out there for the iPhone and
other similar phones -- and many more in development. Urbanspoon has much of the same functionality as Yelp's Monocle. Then
there's Wikitude, which finds information from Wikipedia about sites in the area.
Underlying most of these applications are a phone's GPS and compass; by knowing where you are, these applications
can make sure to offer information relevant to you. We're still not quite at the stage of full-on image recognition, but trust
us, people are working on it.
We've looked at some of the existing forms of augmented reality. On the next page, we'll examine some of the other
applications of the technology, such as in video games and military hardware.
Video game companies
are quickly hopping aboard the augmented-reality locomotive. A company called Total Immersion makes software that applies
augmented reality to baseball cards. Simply go online, download the
Total Immersion software and then hold up your baseball card to a webcam.
The software recognizes the card (and the player on it) and then displays related video on your computer screen. Move the card in your hands -- make sure to
keep it in view of the camera -- and the 3-D figure on your screen will perform actions, such as throwing a ball at a target.
efforts are just the beginning. In the next couple of years, we'll see games that take augmented reality out into the streets.
Consider a scavenger-hunt game that uses virtual objects. You could use your phone to "place" tokens around town,
and participants would then use their phones (or augmented-reality enabled goggles) to find these invisible objects.
Demos of many games
of this order already exist. There's a "human Pac-Man" game that allows users to chase after each other in real
life while wearing goggles that make them look like characters in Pac-Man.
Arcane Technologies, a Canadian company, has sold augmented-reality
devices to the U.S. military. The company produces a head-mounted display -- the sort of device that was supposed to bring
us virtual reality -- that superimposes information
on your world. Consider a squad of soldiers in Afghanistan, performing
reconnaissance on an opposition hideout.
An AR-enabled head-mounted display could overlay blueprints or a view
from a satellite or overheard drone directly onto the soldiers' field of vision.
Now that we've established some of the many current
and burgeoning uses of augmented reality, let's take a look at the technology's limitations and what the future holds.