Intelligent computing meets augmented reality: Brutus guides you through the Ohio State’s Campus

May 14, 2013

As promised last week on our junaio Blog, we decided to provide you with more information on the incredible application ‘Find Brutus’ created by Bradley A. Henry, Software Developer/Engineer at Ohio State University. The app helps students to explore the Ohio State Campus through their mobile Android devices. Named after the school’s mascot, Brutus Buckeye, the augmented reality application cleverly uses voice recognition, geolocation, artificial intelligence as well as intelligent tutoring systems to provide the service to the campus community.

In an interview given exclusively for metaio, Bradley A. Henry is speaking about the idea behind, the technical facts and the ongoing working processes.

What actually is ‘Find Brutus’?

In technical terms: Find Brutus is an Intelligent Mixed Reality (IMR) application using a Virtual Tour Agent (VTA – patent pending) framework. An Intelligent Mixed Reality (IMR) application is the inclusion of Augmented Reality (AR), voice-recognition (VR), geolocation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) into a mobile accessible user experience.

In broader terms: Find Brutus is a Mobile Virtual Tour Guide designed for incoming students and visitors to the Ohio State University designed specifically as a graduate research project. A user will explore campus through pre-defined target locations on campus. As the user approaches the location 3-D Brutus will appear in mobile view as the indicator that they are approaching the first target. When the user identifies the location, as seen through their mobile device, the user will prompted with a few questions, including hints, about the target to answer. As the user answers each question they will then move to the next target. Version 2 is where VTA gets really exciting, see below.

Is it already a working application and in which context did you create it?

Yes, the beta version is complete. We used the free version of the Metaio SDK for Android. We are going to begin working on the iOS application over the summer as well as for Google Glass. Because the most exciting news is that this project is also part of the Google Glass Explorer pilot. We will be using Google Glass with the application to study student interactions and cognitive processing. The design of this version is study the affect of an incoming student to the university. The goal is to increase the students knowledge of the university campus and resources while acclimating them to their surroundings. If successful this should increase the students experience their first year attending The Ohio State University.

How many people were involved in the development on the application?

Find Brutus is the framework for my PhD thesis. But nevertheless a lot of players are involved: It is truly a community of engineers working on this application. I have counted over 80 people that have touched this project to some degree, currently over 8 of the Colleges and 6 departments at the university. To me this is what it looks like when organizations and people work together.

Included was also the College of Engineering Capstone project, which just won the CETI best in class project. This was a pretty extraordinary surprise, considering the level of competition. I have been blessed to work with some of the most amazing individuals. I was overwhelmed that the project was selected.

henry brad

Virtual Tour Guiding has been a dream of metaio for a long time now and we are sure to bring the concept of the “Augmented City” into real life. In which fields do you feel a real value for VTG?

Long-term objectives for it is to use the framework as a mechanism for navigation of locations, and buildings and as an educational device that will include simulations that work within real-world environments. Example, educate professionals or students, such as nurses or doctors in their work environment. How this would work, using an emergency room, fully equipped, a learner would wearing a pair of Google Glasses and would be required to resolve simulated problem-based scenarios that interact with the environment. A doctor would interact with a virtual nurse using to perform surgical procedures.

Could you think about other examples of using AR and Virtual-Tour-Guiding in educational environment?

Another example could be the Thompson Library Foundation Stones Tour (Submitted idea in the OSU AR Hackathon): A student would view the foundation stones through their mobile device. The stones would provide information, such as origin, ethnicity, world regions, and text and voice translation capability. The student could tour the stones, seek information on specific origins, request information such as publications, videos, research that is available through the OSU library or tour the library. An additional concept idea submitted by the University Archives includes a historical view of the campus through time. Using AR a user can explore the campus in any given decade using Glass. Example, you can be on the oval wearing Glass and prompt the VTA to view the campus in 1850. As your line of site moves images, and information, of the campus in 1850 would appear in the glasses.

What future projects are already in the line?

We are also putting on a one day display at the Columbus Museum of Art, fellow students, the Ohio Film Commission and Columbus Fashion Week will are also participating. We are currently discussing a fall project. In addition, we are also discussing a live DJ event with augmented reality later in the year. I work with a very creative group of people.

Thank you Bradley for the interview!

Website of EduTechnological

Version 1 capabilities:

  • Mobile accessible
  • Augmented reality
  • Geo-location notifications
  • Includes the first approved 3D Brutus Buckeye through OSU licensing.

Version 2 capabilities:

  • Voice activation (Siri type functions)
  • AI/Intelligent computer interactions (Collaboration with the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology)
  • Geo-location direction service (ask for specific outdoor directions from your current location)
  • First scanned 3D Human Agent
  • Web Accessible Agents (Collaboration with the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology)

Free At Last: the metaio Mobile SDK

December 9, 2011

We are pretty darn excited.

Back in September, CEO Dr. Thomas Alt announced that we’d be releasing a free version of the metaio Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) in an effort to both ensure and encourage the massive development and adoption of mobile augmented reality by 2014.

In that time, we researched and developed like crazy to make sure that our software would be the most advanced mobile solution available. We implemented Gravity Aware Feature Descriptors, a patented technology that makes image recognition and tracking faster and more robust. We benchmarked our technology by winning the 2011 ISMAR Tracking Competition. We integrated Unity3D for hardcore game developers and designers. And most importantly, we embarked on collaborative research partnerships with chipset providers like ARMST-Ericcson, and Texas Instruments. It’s been a busy fall.

As a result, we have for the entire mobile development community a powerful, advanced and industry-proven SDK, free of cost right from the start, with unlimited app-deployments for iOS and Android. A built-in advanced 3D rendering engine means you can start developing immediately. And it’s not a watered-down piece of shareware- this 3D rendering engine has been used in over 70 professional mobile apps, including our Augmented City demo.

This is the same software that has driven over 10 million downloads and enables millions of magazines delivered every month with mobile AR content.

We’re either completely crazy- or very, very passionate about what we do. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Read the press release.

Download the SDK.

Get excited.


AR Services for the City of Basel at the ISMAR 2011

October 21, 2011

From October 26th to 29th, the city of Basel in Switzerland is host to ISMAR 2011, the international conference on research, technology and application in Mixed and Augmented Reality. Part of the conference is the very interesting AR-4-Basel project, organized by PEREY Research & Consulting and its partners.

Model by VirtualcitySYSTEMS

The purpose of this project is to establish a framework in which creative professionals can push the envelope of what has been done in Smart Cities with 3D data sets and to showcase the first generation of services that are available to the public with smartphones during the ISMAR 2011.

The project coordinates resources in the city of Basel and internationally for the purpose of implementing real world mobile AR services, and receives the support of businesses, government agencies, municipal service providers, private and public institutes of learning. In order to help build AR based services for people in Basel and visitors to the conference, the project provides datasets of 3D city models (see image above). This is an interesting challenge for researchers and developers in the field of Augmented Reality. We at metaio are curious to see what our colleagues will present.

Current technology is advancing rapidly. While having a readymade 3D Model available is certainly useful for projecting AR overlays correctly aligned onto buildings or street views (we have been using those lots of times), our current approach at metaio however goes a step further. We now have technologies which can in fact create a model of reality on the spot, dynamically and at the very instant the user looks at the world through his smartphone camera. By using very advanced 3D optical recognition and tracking technologies we are able to capture and reconstruct the environment around the user without having to rely on a prefabricated city model. 3D objects can then be directly inserted into this “live” three-dimensional space in perfect perspective, alignment and occlusion.

It will allow people in the near future to walk through any cityscape with their smartphones and benefit from correctly aligned digital overlays and useful Augmented Reality information services as a completely natural experience. We call this the “Augmented City”. You may have seen this video, but we show it once more to illustrate the point:


Survive THE THING in New App from Universal and metaio

October 13, 2011

Mobile devices are evidently the warmest place to hide.

metaio had the opportunity to develop this very cool mobile application with Universal Pictures to promote the highly-anticipated prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter cult-classic of the same name, out in theaters October 14th. We wanted to create a game that drew on the same suspense, horror, and isolation of the film while generating excitement for its release.

After downloading and launching the free THE THING: Flamethrower application for Android or iOS, players assume the role of one of the surviving Antarctic scientists, trapped in a virtual laboratory and assailed from all sides by creepy alien hybrid versions of their former colleagues.

Sounds like fun, right?

We really mean all sides, because this game is played in 360 degrees- players will have to move their mobile device in real life to defend themselves from the attacking aliens. FYI- it’s dark, the lighting quality is very poor, and you only have a limited amount of flamethrower fuel.

Try to hold out as long as you can, but as fans and people familiar with the film know- it’s very difficult to survive THE THING.

After playing, check out the INFECT YOURSELF feature that uses our advanced Facial Recognition AR capability. Watch as THE THING literally rips your face apart. Even Danika of @twitt_AR fame succumbed to the crafty invasive life form:

This game utilized metaio’s advanced Mobile SDK, the most comprehensive solution to create Augmented Reality applications for iOS and Android. Featuring a high-level API and the latest image recognition technologies, it allows developers to produce high-quality applications with low effort. And best of all: we’re releasing a free version in the near future.

Once again- the film hits theaters this Friday, October 14, so get out to your local cinema and happily cringe to this great horror thriller that more than does justice to the 1982 film.

For more info, check out the press release and don’t forget to download  this amazing game.

Download for Android

Download for iOS


Unifeye Design 2.5 Now Available

October 10, 2011

metaio is pleased to announce that the latest version of our Design software is now available for download.

Once again, AR is neither a sci-fi fantasy nor something limited to gimmicky one-off applications. Our design software enables anyone with a Windows PC to produce rich, interactive content. Our clients and partners use Design in trade shows, integrated marketing campaigns, classrooms, commercial applications, internal demonstrations and much more.

If you’re not already familiar with Design, you may have heard about our wonderful project with LEGO, now deployed in every LEGO-branded store in the world.

For the new 2.5 update we’ve rolled out the following updates:

  • New features:
    • Facetracking: for tracking a users face and overlaying3D content (e.g. hats, glasses etc.)
    • Extensible tracking: for tracking in unknown environments the system automatically creates and updates an internal map of features for tracking based on the camera image. This allows you to move around freely with your camera and the system adjusts on the fly.
  • Markerless tracking: Improved performance and stability
  • Licensing: Licenses can be moved to another PC (only full version)
  • Uses new version of BsContact renderer (7.2.2.0). For a list of features see the release notes on the Bitmanagement website.
  • Several bugfixes for Unifeye and the Workflow Authority GUI

For more information, please see our web store and our extensive documentation on all of our software.

Update

A Design license (post-activation) is bound to the user’s PC, so moving / transferring the license is not allowed. There are however cases where a user would need to transfer a license, such as when uploading to a new machine. Starting with Design 2.5, license holders will have the ability to transfer their licenses twice. 

To send a request or purchase a license dongle, contact sales (at) metaio (dot) com.

To transfer your license, go here. Enter your activation key and click Get Licenses.

 


insideAR 2011 Exhibition Highlights [Video]

October 7, 2011

Hopefully by now you’ve all seen the teaser video and read about the very, very cool announcements we made at insideAR this year. I honestly wish that I could adequately describe insideAR. Maybe it’s because I helped assemble and move 15-20 very heavy table. Maybe watching these camera arrays and industrial prototyping demos come to life, piece by piece gives one more of an appreciation in seeing the finished product. Maybe it was just my first time in Germany, combined with the anticipation of Oktoberfest in Bavaria, combined with the excitement of meeting all of the people with whom I’ve only ever communicated via Skype or telephone or email. Luckily, we don’t have to rely on my floundering attempts at description- we have videos!

This is the first clip of many that we plan to roll out over the coming days and weeks, demonstrating the current and future technologies under the hood (sometimes literally) of metaio.

insideAR was divided into various exhibition segments- one of these was called “Augmented Living”, where we demonstrated some of the potential uses of AR in the household, including the new junaio 3.0 SCAN release that allows the user to get pricing and ingredient information from grocery item barcodes. In that same area, we were also showing our Bosch 3D studio app for iPad that allows people to practically redesign their kitchens with new appliances- without ever leaving their homes.

Many attendees played around with the Around Me Geo Trivia junaio game is a very creative example of how gaming, education and mobile AR can work together to shape an engaging user experience. Sensor fusion takes elements that we tend to take for granted — orientation, geographical relative position, radial distance — and translates them into usable information- in this case, a very fun trivia game.

Our company was built on out-of-the-box industrial solutions, so it should be no surprise to see those prototyping examples in the above video. The sub-millimeter tracking with a guided camera-arm would allow any manufacturer the highest digital scrutiny in examining a prototype on the factory floor; and with the “window-to-the-world”-type 3D mapping you can overlay the original wireframe to the real-word object itself, regardless of its size. With this kind of technology, metaio is naturally bridging the industrial gap between the digital creation and the physical construction of a given product.

Really cool stuff we’re talking about here. Really cool.

Once again, we’re going to be rolling out all sorts of video in the near future, so be sure to either subscribe to this blog or to our YouTube channel (or both!) in order to stay posted.


Augmented Reality On Every Smartphone by 2014

October 5, 2011

If you haven’t heard from TechCrunch, Dexigner, or Augmented.org, this year’s insideAR brought some very significant developments for metaio. To sum it up, we made three important announcements to over 450(!) attendees:

  • The release a free version of the Mobile SDK, soon to be integrated with a game engine
  • The release of an AR-publishing tool, junaio Creator, to enable virtually anybody to create AR content for junaio
  • Strategic partnerships with the leading chipset IP supplier ARM and mobile platform developer ST-Ericsson on joint R&D

What this means for the industry

Mobile SDK is now free

This is a big deal. AR is a young industry- we want to see it into adulthood. We want developers, researchers, students, newcomers etc to be able to test the limits of their imaginations and creativity with one of the most comprehensive and advanced mobile AR solutions out there. I can’t wait to watch these independent developers shape the future of AR applications in their endeavors.

The junaio Creator

User interface and workflow are two of the most important things that any software provider must consider- we want both of these aspects to be more streamlined, more convenient, more natural- and that’s why we announced the junaio Creator. It’s tool that takes all of the image recognition, the natural feature tracking, and the complex algorithms of junaio and reduces that magic to two simple words: point and click. Whether  you’re creating a junaio channel or utilizing our junaio Plugin to add a feature to an existing app, the junaio Creator allows you to do this without a single line of code. Check out the demo in the TechCrunch article and see for yourself.

Formal Collaborations with ARM & ST-Ericsson

I’ve been saying this for years: the surest way to enable the smoothest most immersive AR experiences is to ensure the optimization of the hardware. Though we’ve already been optimizing our software for these wonderful mobile devices that pepper our lives, metaio can now work directly with these processing and chipset providers to find the best way to ensure that mobile devices are AR-ready before they hit the shelves.

In closing

 

 

We have a genuine passion for what we do.  It may seem as though we ‘re making bold statements, but please understand that it comes from a shared excitement, an almost child-like fascination in its innocence at seeing dreams becoming reality, not just 3D and digital content (though we do that too).

Augmented Reality on Every Smartphone by 2014- It will be magic.

Magic.


Design your Kitchen with Bosch 3D Studio App on iPad

September 20, 2011

Has this ever happened to you: You are in a store, you’ve found the perfect kitchen appliance, but what about the color? Will it fit with your kitchen at home? Does the vendor have any better alternatives? If you could only try it out!

 

 

This is what the new iPad 3D Studio App by Bosch (developed by metaio) does for the buyer.  ColorGlass kitchen appliances from Robert Bosch Hausgeräte GmbH, from ovens to microwaves, have received various design awards and can be delivered in a range of colors and surface styles. The free app helps the buyer make the right choice. Take a picture of your kitchen, select the type of appliance you are interested in and pick a color. With the help of Augmented Reality the chosen appliance can then be placed, correctly scaled, on the image of your kitchen in order to let you see how it looks. Feel free to experiment with all colors and styles available.

 

 

Alternatively, if no picture of the user’s kitchen is at hand, the app offers a choice of kitchen scenes. This app is a brilliant idea to remove any nagging uncertainty and to guarantee the right choice for a significant purchase of this kind. Be sure to watch the video and visit the links above for more information, and easily start designing your new kitchen!


Japanese digital pop-star now dancing on tables in AR

September 19, 2011

  Hatsune Miky is an adorable, completely digital Japanese celebrity created by Crypton Future Media in 2007 using YAMAHA’s “Vocaloid” Software. The (evidently) 16-year-old, 5’2” songstress’s voice has been samples in thousands and thousands of user-generated videos, audio tracks, animations etc. Her albums have even topped the Japanese charts- not bad for a girl that doesn’t exist!

Hatsune Miku may be a digital construct, but the great thing about Augmented Reality is that we can take digital and 3-D content and breathe life into it by placing it in the physical world. A virtual entity could assume all three dimensions and interact with the real world- and that’s exactly what we did for the beautiful Hatsune Miku in this most recent development for Toyota.

Toyota has been enamored with Hatsune Miku for quite some time now- they’ve produced numerous (and clever) video spots featuring the star interacting with people as though she were a real person, as well as print ads, billboards (they’re everywhere here in San Francisco) and an integrated social media campaign. We were happy to be able to (literally) bring a new dimension to Hatsune Miku’s recent introduction to the states.

iOS users can immediately access the experience by downloading the free Toyota Shopping Tool App in the iTunes App store. An Android update is coming soon, but until then users with Android devices can download metaio’s free mobile AR browser, junaio, and search for the “Hatsune Miku” channel to get the same cool performance. Once the app is launched, just point the camera at the image below (called a “ToyoTag“) to see Hatsune Miku singing “Big Dream” and dancing alongside her favorite vehicle, the 2011 Toyota Corolla.

metaio used the junaio Plugin to develop this app for a Toyota, a feature that combines the technology, audience (1.7 Million Downloads) and accessibility of junaio, the most advanced mobile Augmented Reality browser, with the added value of a custom branded white-label application. We were able to use the same superior image recognition technology and tracking algorithm as we use in junaio to integrate this experience directly into Toyota’s mobile app as if it were a white-label application. Even better, the modular structure of the Plugin allows content to be easily and efficiently modified and changed, making the junaio Plugin a great development and branding solution.

Read the full press release here, and be sure to stay posted on all of Hatsune Miku’s exploits in America with Toyota. And make sure to check out this great video of the experience below:


Deep-Laid Augmented Reality

July 1, 2011

There are several ways of integrating augmented reality into your strategy, business model, project, product or ballpark. With junaio and its open API everything possible in mobile AR is possible. You can start right away without any monetary invest. That´s how for example artists play around or museums evaluate the latest digital technologies. And after you find out, that you can generate buzz, more turn-over and real added value for your clients you now can even integrate a junaio Plugin into your own app. That´s what publishing house Bauer Media did recently with two of their magazines and the related apps. With Smart View and Trailer View they enriched their print magazines with trailers and animations. The AR features are powered by metaio´s image processing technologies running smoothly in the background. The result is new experiences for the “readers”, new sales channels for the ad department and more creative fllexibility for the editors! And here you can see how the “Welt der Wunder” branded app works:

More information herehere and  here.


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