Augmented Reality User Guide – Bringing Your Content To Life

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

Your company already has content for the different operations that happen throughout the different departments. Are the booklets being read? Are the user and maintenance guides being used for their intended purpose?

People do not refer to guides unless they are needed, and when they are needed it is usually due to an urgent matter. Augmented Reality makes your content easily accessible and helps display it in a way that is easy to follow and understand.

Augmented Reality adds a layer of entertainment to the information as well. Content that is important can also be displayed in a way that makes it exciting to look at; AR does this in a way that makes sense and engages the viewer.

Use of Augmented Reality technology enables a company to have their own mobile application which can be used internally, or by consumers as well.

Below is an example of how Augmented Reality guides work.

 

How 3D, AR, VR, Photography, and Videography work together

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

 

The fields of photography and videography, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, and 3D design all pull pieces of information from both art and science, and so contribute to each field as well.

Each of these fields borrow from and lend to each other as well. The purpose of this blog post is to show how they all interact and how innovation is born from these interactions.

Photography and videography go hand-in-hand in that they are the same thing, but one is still and the other is in motion. The nature of both come with different benefits for different purposes. There is an example v below.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality also offer the same thing in different ways. They both offer an extension and enhancement of reality, but Augmented Reality offers it through a mobile device, while Virtual Reality offers it through a head-mounted device.

Photography and videography are used in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to create the alternate realities. 3D design is also used to create environments, characters, and special effects and animations.

The best example of how all of these fields can be integrated is found in the innovation of digital portals.

A digital portal can be opened in Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, depending on the preferred device. Using 360 photography, a person can walk into the portal with their device and have a look at a certain location.

Using 360 videography, a person can walk into the portal and, not only look at the environment, but also see how people interact with the environment. 360 videography is commonly used in Virtual Reality experiences and films.

An example of a location that you can view in one of our portals can be found here.

 

What is Indoor Navigation? – Part 2

BY NAIRAH THAHA

 

There are two things required to make an indoor AR location app:

  1. Beacon Technology:

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.

  1. AR Technology:

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.

What is Indoor Navigation? – Part 1

BY NAIRAH THAHA

What is Indoor AR Navigation?

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.

AR & VR Definitions – PART 4: Extended Reality

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

 

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.

If you would like to read up on certain definitions pertaining to Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, or Mixed Reality, then you can click on the topic of your choice and you will be directed to our blog posts about them.

If you have any questions about any of these technologies, please do not hesitate to contact us through our web chat or any of our social media platforms.

AR & VR Definitions – PART 3: Mixed Reality

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

 

1 – 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.

Interesting Fact:

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.

AR & VR Definitions – PART 2: Virtual Reality

BY KAYLA NOBREGA

 

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.