Augmented reality (AR) is alive, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.
Abasyn University has well established platform for RnD projects specially Augmented Reality. Under this platform, different projects have been developed and some of them are under process. The list of these projects are as follows:
Ufone advertisement AR application enables the user to get to know the latest Value added services offered by Ufone. The user points the mobile device to a specific image which triggers the application and a 3d model of a boy appears which seems to explain the services offered by Ufone. It also contains an option for the user to get information about any of the 2 latest services offered by Ufone, which the user selects through Virtual Buttons.
Video Play is also an AR based advertisment application. While running this application, when the user points his mobile device camera to the logo of Qualcomm, the video of Qualcomm launches through youtube.
We have developed Augmented reality based educational application named AR based ABC book which is an example of marker based augmented reality. When user runs the application, the mobile device camera has starts. In this application, there are 26 markers/pictures (one for each alphabet). When the user points the mobile device camera towards any picture, the animated 3D model of an object related to that alphabet will appear and the sound plays e.g if a user points mobile device camera towards the picture of alphabet “A”, the 3D model of Apple will appear and sound plays “A for Apple”, which is very easy to understand for a kid of kindergarten. As the 3D model is animating, after seeing it, the kid is amazed and feels as if he/she is seeing a live size object. Same is the case for all alphabets of ABC. Also we have developed Arabic alphabets book for kids which is same as ABC book.
Mobile Medicine Describer is an AR based application which enables the user to get to know about a medicine whenever the user points his mobile device to the logo of a medicine. For example, when the user points his mobile to the logo of panadol, a graphical overlay of textual information is displayed on the screen which tells the user that in what circumstances, should the patient take panadol tablets.
AR Piano is an entertainment application. When the user points the mobile device camera towards the picture of piano, the virtual piano keys will appear and then the user can interact virtually with the keys. When a user virtually touches any key, the sound of that specific note will play and this way the user can play piano without having a real piano.
We have developed Augmented reality based CAR application which is an example of marker based augmented reality. When the user points the mobile device camera towards a marker, the 3D model of a car will appear and four GUI buttons for selecting colors are appeared on screen. Now the user can experience augmented reality by changing the colors of a car by pressing any of four GUI buttons. When a button is pressed, the color of a car changes and user can see that car 3D model in every dimension by rotating the marker. This application can be used by any car manufacturer company for advertisement and marketing. They can use this application in their showrooms to let their customer order a car of any customized color. In future, we are planning to develop the next phase of this application in which the user can open/close the doors, windows, bonnet, trunk and sunroof having the augmented car in live size.
Submitted to National ICT R & D Commission, Pakistan by Abasyn University Islamabad Campus Mobile Computing is considered to be the next big thing on the face of technology and availability of platforms like smart phones is going to play a very important part in enabling the mobile computing to achieve its true potential. Even in the time of economic crunch in 2008-2009 smart phones market has been seeing continuous improvement and big guns like Google, RIM and PALM have made heavy investments in this market in one form of the other. Some of the companies have focused on the hardware while some of the companies have realized that availability of killer applications on the smart phones can enhance their revenue many times. Applications development on the smart phones is comparatively newer field. Although the techniques like J2ME (Java2 Micro Edition) have existed for quite some years but as the name indicates they had micro set of features. Only after the availability of iPhone and Android enabled smart phones, the world has seen the availability of the functionally complete APIs for smart phone applications development. This was a big step as the future of smart phones market depends heavily on the availability of killer applications.
Mobile environment, though constrained, provides some interesting features and facilities not directly available on the desktop computers. One such feature is the availability of integrated cameras on most of the smart phones. This feature can be used to provide killer applications related to Character Recognition but before that some API / framework and engine should be there that can provide the basic building blocks for the development of applications related to Character Recognition. This proposal has been inspired by the motivations described above. We want to develop a state of the art OCR Engine which can be used by the developers to develop their own applications. We intend to divide the project into two different phases. In the first phase we want to tackle the character recognition problem for the constrained document images and in the next phase we want to tackle character recognition problem for the unconstrained document images. This document gives a top level overview of the techniques and algorithms that we intend to use in this project. Besides giving the top level design, we have also discussed some of the candidate algorithms. Almost all the commercially available OCR systems have image pre processing modules associated with it. We have also divided our system into four steps: Image acquisition, Image preprocessing and segmentation, Classification / Recognition of the text and Post Processing. Experience of our Team in different dimensions of character recognition namely Image Pre Processing, Pattern Recognitions, and Smart Phones Development augurs well for the success of this project. Success of this project would not only result in research experience and related advantages for the developers inside Pakistan but will also stimulate the smart phones software development in Pakistan. Last but not the least it would give a great opportunity for the students of Abasyn University and other local universities to work on the top notch research problems of the field. Open source nature of the project would encourage collaboration from developers all over the world.