Jeff and I spoke at Res Baz 2017, in Victoria University’s Kelburn, Hub, about this project thus far. Our presentation and transcript can be found below.
I’m Jeff and I’m Jono we are both post graduate students from the Victoria University school of design. We are in the process of creating a mobile application for the Wai-Te-Ata Press that we like to call a Literary Atlas of Wellington.
Our brief was to create an application that augments the Victoria University Library Collections into physical space making their content interactive for public consumption. So far through our development process we have completed an Augmented reality mobile platform which will host these interactions.
Our Literary Atlas app will allow users to walk to locations along the Wellington Waterfront in order to gather information about well-known Victoria University Writers from their sculptures on the Wellington Writers Walk. This is achieved through a combination of Geo Location Tracking and Augmented Reality.
Why Augmented Reality?
We chose to use augmented reality technology as it is a powerful new way of communicating ideas effectively. Think technology like the holograms from Star Wars.
For those who don’t know Augmented reality, or AR, is defined as having the following three properties;
– Combines real and virtual objects in a real, physical environment
– Runs in real time
– Aligns real and virtual objects with each other.
In our application we are using Video AR in which we use a video feed of the real world on a mobile device upon which virtual images are overlaid. This is the same concept which Pokemon Go uses.
However what sets us apart is outdoor natural feature tracking (NFT) through ARToolkit 5 which uses natural feature points to position Virtual Objects onto real world surfaces. Geolocation Positioning (GPS) to understand which writer the user is near and therefore initiate the corresponding AR Experiences
Slide 3 60 sec
What is AR toolkit 5, NFT’s
How are we making it?
AR toolkit 5
Open Street Maps
AR toolkit 5 is an open source project that can run in Unity’s development environment. It gives developers a multitude of functionality for developing AR applications right out of the box and because it is open source allows you to examine the code and add customize your own features as well.
Unity 5 is a gaming engine that allows you to write code once and port to many different devices. It also comes with a range of functionality to help speed up development is is pretty user friendly
And Open Street Maps for pulling in real world geometry data and constructing a mesh that the user can then navigate around based on their geolocation. We have also implemented functionality that allows us to position things on that map based on its geolocation in the real world.
One aspect of AR toolkits 5 functionality, as jono has already touched on are NFT’s, the ability to turn images of real world things into Natural Feature Points and then recognize these points in real time through the mobile devices video feed. We can then display virtual scenes that appear to be tracked to physical objects.
As well as scenes tracked in space we are using the gyro and accelerometer to give users instanced AR (a scene that surrounds a static point). This allows the user to have a full 360 experience but does not allow virtual objects to “stick” or be tracked in physical space
Cultivate a habit of mistakes and become a connoisseur of them – this is our design ethos
It’s important to consider app development in terms of an evolutionary process. Its full of trial and errors. This is why testing frequently becomes an essential part of development – Testing whether it still compiles and runs on your mobile device, testing whether the UI is best suited for a mobile screen size, testing the how interactions work.
It usually highlights problems or errors and if you test frequently you are able to isolate these issues rather than having to sift through a multitude of changes to find the cause.
It allows your development team to find mistakes, understand them and then implement improved changes that are informed by them.
You should also consider and use other apps that relate to yours. Analyze them and carefully critique them. Ask yourself what makes them good and what makes them bad and how you can apply these insights to your app.
Our next steps are as follows ;
We are about to develop augmented reality experiences into the application based on our Writer’s poems.These will be virtual representations of the poems and will be constructed to embody the main themes and ideas of each poem.
We have also begun the process of incorporating a function which allows users to write their own poems and add them to a database for other uses to enjoy.
If you would like to follow our development process or see in more detail what we have accomplished thus far please visit our development blog by following the link on the slides.