Sunday, May 3, 2009

Augmented Architecture

A definition

Architecture is defined as the art and science of designing and erecting buildings, buildings are containers for space thus it can be concluded that architecture is the art and science in which space is contained. Space can be defined as an extent or expanse of a surface or three-dimensional area. Architecture does not only contain space but it defines it.
Humans perceive architecture or the built environment through five sensorial modes, vision, sound, taste, olfaction and touch. Perception can be defined as the process by which organisms interpret and organize sensation to produce a meaningful experience of the world. Sensation usually refers to the immediate, relatively unprocessed result of stimulation of sensory receptors in the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, or skin. Perception, on the other hand, better describes one’s ultimate experience of the world and typically involves further processing of sensory input. In practice, sensation and perception are virtually impossible to separate, because they are part of one continuous process. Cognition is the act or process of knowing. Cognition includes attention, perception, memory, reasoning, judgment, imagining, thinking, and speech. Attempts to explain the way in which cognition works are as old as philosophy itself; the term, in fact, comes from the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Though through western thinking we identify these three processors these themselves can be segregated into five constituents, Passa, Vedana, Sagnya, Sankara, Vignyana as stated in Buddhist philosophy.
Augmenting or heightening architecture would mean Augmenting or heightening the spatial quality felt/sensed by the human sensorial modes. Thus through heightening of the senses “felt “by humans we would be able to achieve augmented architecture

Applications that use augmented reality

While the application of augmented reality can be foreseen to be virtually endless although augmented reality has been used for some time its applications at present are in a very small number and it is only now that we are beginning to see this valuable tool used in day to day life.

GE is infamous advertisement on alternative energy is a very good example of the use of AR in the commercial platform. The mini minor web site is also quite similar to GE’s.

BMW is now using AR in repairing their automobiles. The mechanic receives additional three-dimensional information on the engine he is repairing, for example, to help him in diagnosing and solving the fault. Apart from the real environment, he sees virtually animated components, the tools to be used and hears instruction on each of the working steps through headphones integrated inside the goggles.

The most innovative use for AR can be seen at the Nokia Research Center in their MARA or Mobile Augmented Reality Applications project, which explores utilizing camera equipped mobile devices as platforms for sensor-based, video see-through mobile augmented reality. The project also investigates new and exciting applications enabled by this technology, and UI solutions and paradigms motivated by the restrictions of the mobile devices.

If the absolute location and orientation of a camera is known, along with the properties of the lens, it is possible to determine exactly what parts of the scene are viewed by the camera.
The MARA prototype application uses accelerometers in all three axes to determine orientation, a tilt compensated compass for heading, and GPS for positioning.
Since these sensors give the (approximate) location and orientation, it is possible to annotate the viewfinder screen with information about real world objects, once the device is focusing on those objects

PARIS, ENHANCED: Nokia's prototype mobile AR system couples a camera, a cellphone, GPS, accelerometers, and a compass to follow the user through a city and point out all the sights.

The prototype application overlays the continuous viewfinder image stream captured by the camera with graphics and text in real time, annotating the user's surroundings. The prototype consists of Nokia S60 platform phone and attached external sensor box providing position and orientation information to the phone via a Bluetooth connection.

Notable features:
  • The prototype enables users to find locations more easily by highlighting them on-screen with Virtual Object.
  • URLs can be associated with Virtual Objects, allowing for hyper-linking of real world objects
  • Objects can be stored on the terminal, or streamed from a server. Streaming allows users to share positioning data, facilitating "Find a Friend" style applications (picture).
  • The prototype has automatic switching to map-view when the user holds the phone horizontally. This displays the users' position on a map of the area, and highlights nearby virtual objects.
A step beyond ARf is this amazing Augmented Reality program developed for Topps Baseball Cards. From Topps

This amalgamation of GPS, Bluetooth, RFID and Web connectivity can be considered the dawning of a new era in perception. The networked society that we live in will enable man to exchange data, overlay data, and carry out activities as never done before.

Will we see a worldbook instead of facebook where people use to scribble their thoughts on the virtual overlay of the physical landscape?

Will we see advertisements on live cricket matches, without having interruptions by usual ads that we see at present?

What will the future be with character recognition and virtual overlay? Will every one know about every one?