There are two things required to make an indoor AR location app:
This method entails placing Bluetooth Low Energy beacons (BLE) around the areas you wish to have mapped out. These beacons are small in size and easy to hide. Whenever the user walks into the range of the beacon, it sends out a signal to the AR app via Bluetooth which alerts the software to the position of the user.
The advantage is that the accuracy of the navigation is high since the app is being fed direct information. The cost of creating such a service goes up when you want to cover larger spaces indoors as you will need a lot of sensors.
If you have used an Augmented Reality app that makes use of ARKit/ARCore frameworks, you would have noticed that once you place 3D content on to a surface, you are able to walk away from it and see that its location persists in the real world. This is done by making use of motion tracking technology using the sensors mentioned above so that it is able to establish how far you have walked and in which direction.
Harnessing this technology, we are able to make indoor navigation apps in Augmented Reality using only sensors. What must be considered, though, is that because of the high frame rate of the sensors small measurement errors can accumulate over time to cause a significant error referred to as “sensor drift.”
The other thing to keep in mind is that the phone needs to be aware of the initial starting point and orientation in order to establish its position. This can be done in many ways, but most commonly users will be asked to scan a predefined image target which lets the app know the initial position and rotation of the phone.
Indoor AR Navigation is used in applications to allow users to easily select where they want to go to in an indoor space – such as in a mall and in an office – and be able to see the path clearly marked out from their current to their desired location. Augmented Reality includes the user’s surroundings and allows the navigation to be displayed in context with the environment.
How does Indoor AR Navigation work?
Up-to-date mobile phones are capable of running the latest Augmented Reality frameworks; ARCore and ARKit which are specifically for Android and iOS. These mobile phones are AR compatible because they have various sensors that allow for motion tracking. The accelerometer in the phone measures the change of velocity (acceleration) of the phone to help track the user’s movement. The gyroscope measures the orientation and angular velocity of the phone and its camera. The camera itself supplies live feed information to the AR software to be processed in order to produce spatial maps of the surroundings.
For accurate tracking of the user’s orientation, modern mobile phones have a magnetometer. This informs the application of the phone’s orientation in relation to the earth’s magnetic field. This helps determine which way the phone is facing so that the application can provide appropriate directions. Mobile phones also have built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) which provides geolocation services.
Why is Indoor Navigation not as straightforward as Outdoor Navigation? GPS does not work indoors. This is because the satellite signals are too weak to penetrate walls and roofs. This means that indoor navigation needs to rely on the use of mobile sensors and other external sensors in order to receive accurate location services.
Extended Reality, abbreviated as ‘XR,’ is exactly what it sounds like; it is the expansion of reality by using digital simulations and applications.
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality technologies enhance physical reality by enabling users to add digital information to their physical spaces, or by immersing them into a different reality. Extended Reality is essentially the umbrella term for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality.
Mixed Reality is the merging of the physical world with the digital world. It is a more immersive form of Augmented Reality where digital simulations are able to accurately interact with the environment. For example, a digital character can hide behind your physical curtains. This is not a form of Virtual Reality as it still includes the external environment.
2 – Spatial Mapping
Spatial mapping is a method of scanning a physical environment using Mixed Reality hardware (such as the HoloLens or HTC Vive Pro) in order to produce a 3D mesh of the space. The Mixed Reality hardware is then able to display digital simulations in relation to the physical aspects of the space.
3 – Occlusion
Occlusion in Mixed Reality is when an augmented object is obscured from view by a physical object. This is what would enable the digital character to hide behind the physical curtains from the first example. Occlusion is one of the features that distinguishes Mixed Reality from Augmented Reality.
4 – Fields of View
A field of view in Mixed Reality pertains to how wide the view is in the Mixed Reality hardware. The wider the view, the more immersive the experience.
5 – Latency
Latency is a term used in the world of Mixed Reality, as well as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. It is the time between a simulation and a response, so in the case of Mixed Reality, it is when the digital simulation does not react to the user’s movements or the external environment immediately. Gamers would use the term “lag” instead.
An interesting fact about Mixed Reality is that its capabilities are based on physics in the sense that if you throw an augmented ball at a physical wall, the technology will enable the ball to bounce off the wall even though it is a simulation. The ball will bounce off the wall and on the floor as if you had thrown an actual one.
In our last post we shared AR related vocabulary, and in this post, we will do the same for VR.
1 – Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is the construction of a digital world that can be experienced through different hardware. It manipulates the senses to convince the brain that the surrounding reality is the digital world and so the body reacts accordingly.
2 – Immersion
Immersion is when a physical person is put into a digital simulation of an alternate environment. This works by feeding the body’s senses information that makes the brain believe that the body is in a certain environment.
3 – Interaction
Interaction is the level at which the digital object can respond to the actions of the user toward it. This could be as basic as the object being able to change size, to having a character sit alongside you.
4 – Bounding Box
The area visible within the VR headset that indicates where the VR experience is taking place in the physical world. The area must be free of obstacles, and leaving the bounding box will take the user out of range of the sensors that enable tracking for the VR experience.
5 – Head-mount Display (HMD)
An HMD is a form of VR hardware that displays the necessary audio and visual content of VR experiences. It is worn on the head so that it can reach the eyes and ears, and also render the hands free for using controllers.
We have noticed a break in the communication between VR and AR consumers, and VR and AR service and content providers. Here is a breakdown of terminology used in the industry to help you, as the client, get your request across and to understand what we mean when we say…
1 – Augmented Reality
Simply put, Augmented Reality is the construction of virtual objects which are then displayed as part of a real environment. A mobile device with a lens and a screen is required to make use of AR applications.
2 – Photogrammetry
Photogrammetry is a process by which measurements of a three-dimensional object are taken from a two-dimensional image. It is a process used to digitize physical objects and implement them in AR applications.
3 – Image Target
A visual marker that is scanned by an AR application. This trigger is programmed to project AR simulations on a mobile screen. Content can be in the form of 3D objects, photographs, and videos. These can be interactive as well.
4 – Surface Tracking
An AR application scans the environment for tables, walls, or floors as surfaces on which to display AR content.
5 – 3D vs Video Content
AR content can be displayed as 3D models or standard videos.
Digital games go as far back as the 1950’s where games were being developed for research purposes. The 1970’s saw the production of home consoles where games were developed for entertainment. Video games are now a prevalent part of our global culture.
Video games come with a multitude of benefits for the user:
Monkey see, monkey do
While some games require an entire body level of interaction, even games that require only simple handheld controllers can motivate the players to go out and take part in the real-life counter parts. Good examples of this are basketball, skating, and football.
Play away the pain
It is a common technique for a person to distract themselves from physical pain by focusing on something else. Many people turn to gaming as their distraction. Playing video games produces an analgesic (pain-killing) response in the higher cortical systems, so not only do they serve as a distraction, but they can actually help your body relieve itself of pain.
Talking to strangers?
There has been a rise in multiplayer games that require you to form a bond with your team mates in a matter of seconds. You are playing with people from all over the world and need to coordinate strategies in game. This calls for you to communicate and so aids in the development of social and communication skills, and relationship building.
New information is constantly displayed amidst a game. Being able to react and create a plan in an instant to accommodate the new information provided to you can be an indispensable tool both in high level gaming and in a business environment. Quick and efficient decision making is often the mark of a good leader.
Video games help develop skills that are needed in business and everyday life. Playing games in VR makes the simulation more realistic, and so enhances the experience of the above-mentioned benefits of gaming.
If you just celebrated the coming of the new year in Dubai, you got to enjoy incredible displays of fireworks.
Dubai set a Guinness World Record for the World’s Biggest Pyrotechnics Display with its fireworks show in 2014, having spent $6 million on 400 000 fireworks!
If you were not in Dubai, you unfortunately did not get to experience this year’s fireworks. Luckily for you, like with every other location sensitive experience, VR technology can bring fireworks to you.
Have a look at this example below through your VR headset: