AR Forum - Discussion on Augmented and Virtual Reality Technology

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a newly emerging technology  by which a user's view of the real world is augmented with additional information from a computer model. With mobile, wearable computers, users can access information without having to leave their work place. They can manipulate and examine real objects  and simultaneously receive additional information about them or the task at hand. Using Augmented Reality technology, the information is presented three-dimensionally integrated into the real world. Exploiting people's visual and spatial skills to navigate in a three-dimensional world, Augmented Reality thus constitutes a particularly promising new user interface paradigm.


Research in Augmented Reality and wearable computing is beginning to receive more and more attention due to striking progress in  many subfields and fascinating live demonstrations (due to advances in computer miniaturization, mobile networking, and sensing technology). Augmented Reality, by its very nature, is a highly inter-disciplinary field, and Augmented Reality researchers work in areas such as signal processing, computer vision, graphics, user interfaces,  wearable computing, mobile computing, computer networks, distributed computing, information access, information visualization, software engineering, and the design of new displays.

Research Issues

Augmented Reality is a new research activity which explores various approaches to augment a user's view of the real world with additional information. By combining live video input with immersive display technology, Augmented Reality allows users to work with and examine real 3D objects while seeing additional information about the objects or the task at hand. Augmented Reality can be applied in many sectors of industry, e.g., for repairing and maintenance of complex machines and facilities, visualizing sensor or simulation data, and for interior design.

Alignment between real and virtual world

Before overlaying synthetic information on an image, the 3D viewing parameters of the real and synthetic camera must be aligned. To this end, the real camera or the user head-mounted display has to be calibrated and tracked over time. Additionally, all used coordinate systems of the tracking system and the world model have to be calibrated as well.

Information visualization

Depending on the application scenario, architects or construction workers need access to various kinds of data, e.g: what the final building will look like, where and how particular parts are to be attached, what the schedule is, and which colleagues and other companies are involved.

The Augmented Reality system needs to access the relevant information and present it appropriately, e.g. as a wireframe, as fully rendered objects, or as text-based annotations that could serve as active links to retrieve further information or to establish direct communication channels with collaborators.

Interaction between real and virtual objects

Realistic immersion of virtual objects into a real scene requires that the virtual objects behave in physically plausible manners: they occlude or are occluded by other objects, they are not able to move through other objects, and they cast shadows on other objects. Augmented Reality Systems need very detailed descriptions of the real environment to simulate such physical constraints.

3D user interaction

In an Augmented World, users need new multi-media and 3D user interaction schemes to communicate with the computer: they are away from their keyboard, and computer interaction has to integrate well into the daily work patterns of the user.

Real-time processing

In Augmented Reality, objects have to be tracked and information has to be rendered in real time. This constraint supersedes all other considerations for pretty and detailed information visualization or user interaction paradigms. In this respect, the chosen approach depends on priorities defined by specific application scenarios.

Prof. Gudrun Klinker, Ph.D.

Edit | Attach | Refresh | Diffs | More | Revision r1.3 - 05 Apr 2006 - 08:43 - MartinBauer

© 2005, by the contributing authors.    rss.gif