Monday, April 2, 2012

Augmented reality applied in the ubiquitous context

Excited about the work done by my colleagues in the group UnBiquitous, I thought of a proposal for the integration of augmented reality and ubiquitous environment to which the UnBiquitous was inserted. But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Ricardo Andrade, I am undergraduate student of Computer Science at Universidade de Brasilia and I currently work at CAIXA Information Technology with development in two areas: Data Quality and Corporate Risk, both involving DW (Data Warehouse), ETL (Extract, Transformation and Load) and BI (Business Intelligence). Additionally, I have worked for a long time with web development at Mirante Web Services.

Now, back to my work. Augmented reality offers a full complement of real world and virtual world, using elements or information of both worlds. This allows the visualization of new information, usually unseen to the naked eye, about real or virtual objects. This supplement brings real-time interactivity between both worlds, making the manipulation of information more natural.

The insertion of virtual objects may occur by two means: through markers or points of interest.

1. Markers: For the objects can be recognized as valid markers, they require a standard format consisting of a "frame", made with square edges in black. The identification code is located within these markers may be composed of symbols or a square array of black or white, as seen in the figures below.


After identification of the marker, starts the decoding process code inside. When this process is completed, a virtual object is associated with the identification code of the marker. Finally, the virtual object is superimposed on the marker.

In the example below, the marker was found from the frame and the car, the virtual object was associated with the code "Hiro" decoded and superimposed on the marker.

2. Point of interest: Unlike what occurs with the markers, points of interest does not have a pattern to be recognized. Identification and localization is based oncoordinates. The coordinates of location of the user is obtained using GPS, subsequently cross-positions of longitude, latitude and altitude mapped from a point of interest in a database.

Sights and places of interest can be mapped and for providing information according to user's profile, helping to find places of interest. When the camera is positioned to a point of interest, information can be presented as a description, distance, among others.

In the UnBiquitous, many works have been developed aiming at provisioning and using resources. With the aid of radar, we have information about what resources are available in the ubiquitous environment. However, the location of the devices on which the  resources resides, are not clear, making and intuitive view of the available ones a worthy problem.

My proposal consists of using augmented reality as a mechanism for viewing the available resources and providing a device redirection for a specific resource, based on the integration with the application Hydra. This application will be supported by the Android platform and is divided into:

1. Identification of markers: The identification code of the markers will be obtained by QRCodes, which represent the name of the  application running on the device. For the recognition of the marker and decoding QRCode party applications will be used ARToolkit and ZXing, respectively.
2. Finding the resources: The UOS middleware will provide a list of resources for the application.
3. Presentation resources: Here comes the augmented reality. Resources will be made available to the device and a virtual list overlapping the marker selected with the aid of the application DroidAR.
4. Redirection of resources: Finally, the user will be able to redirect a resource from the list presented to the Hydra application.

Advances will be given to the user achieve greater transparency and knowledge of resources available in the smart space and also ease the redirection of these resources.