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.
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: