Sonic Boom! – Conference Papers and more AR

Last weeks time I used extensively to go through this year’s Siggraph papers and posters. Again, great news and ideas from our fellow researchers. Today I’d like to share two of them that are related to AR and happen to have a public available videos online for all of us to enjoy.


Ken Nakagaki and Yasuaki Kakehi present their sonic shooter at the conference. The title is “SonalShooter: A Spatial Augmented Reality System Using Handheld Directional Speaker with Camera”. It shows once more that AR does not only refer to visual overlays or feedback, but can also mean augmented audio. Their gun-shaped device lets users point onto objects of interest (aided with laser pointer, recognized through markers) and the gun uses directional speakers to implant the audio output into the object itself, i.e. you recognize the sound coming from that source and not from the gun!

Of course it’s not really possible to understand the concept listening to the video, but it explains the approach and technology pretty good:

SonalShooter from xlab on Vimeo.

I especially like the interaction idea of switching channels through rotation of the device (i.e. for selecting other languages).

Kinect Fusion

The inventors of the Kinect themselves (Microsoft research) have presented a great paper on 3D real-time scanning of rooms, objects and living things. You would say: yeah, well, that’s what the Kinect does, right? But this is far more advanced. Using the depth information through the IR pattern, Microsoft can create high-quality 3D models. “The system allows the user to scan a whole room and its contents within seconds. As the space is explored, new views of the scene and objects are revealed and these are fused into a single 3D model. The system continually tracks the 6DOF pose of the camera and rapidly builds a volumetric representation of arbitrary scenes.”

So, to make it easy, have a look below:

I’d say it shows us the future of devices to come, imagine having this in your AR goggles embedded: helping the cloud-based representation of the 3D world and allowing far better interaction of virtual and real objects. The video shows this on two Augmented Reality examples: first, the splash demo, that uses real-time physics to spill the virtual color over the real objects and secondly the possibility to paint onto real surfaces with your bare finger! Awesome!

ISMAR 2011

Besides the Siggraph, we sure are all waiting for at least two more conferences this year (insideAR from metaio in September) and the biggest show: the ISMAR 2011, this year to be held in Basel, Switzerland. By the way: I’ll be on location all days, blogging live from this year’s ISMAR. I hope we can meet up! Show me your inventions! :-)

To have a sneak peek on this year’s papers, I selected a paper on 3D reconstruction as well (as seen above from Microsoft) – but this time running on a mobile device! It’s called “Rapid Scene Reconstruction on Mobile Phones from Panoramic Images”:

By using a very fast and flexible algorithm a set of panoramic images is captured to form the basis of wide field-of-view images required for reliable and robust reconstruction. A cheap on-line space carving approach based on Delaunay triangulation is employed to obtain dense, polygonal, textured representations. The use of an intuitive method to capture these images, as well as the efficiency of the reconstruction approach allows for an application on recent mobile phone hardware, giving visually pleasing results almost instantly.

The system shows us where we are going and what we can expect during the next years! Calculation of the 3D geometry takes 18 seconds on the mobile device itself. We sure will see this number falling.

In other news…

Rouli found this Denno Coil-like future vision, showing us again how cool AR could be with the perfect blend of realities. Damn you science, that you develop still so slow for one measly human lifetime! Here we go:

AR Browsers News

The deployment of AR browsers is still growing and we see more and more fun and helpful features around. The guys at FARRAGO (formerly MixAR) have their first app out, giving us more social-linked AR fun to enjoy. ipad app will follow soon, too!

Staying with mobile AR browsers, we have a big update coming from metaio, too. Their browser junaio has undergone a major update (now 3.0), giving us their tagged “scan the world” functionality. It allows us to scan anything from pictures to bar codes or QR codes and get information about it from Junaio’s channels. But the information has to come from a junaio channel/metaio partner! It makes sense, but does not give us the google goggles approach of being able to scan everything and do an image search on it. (I couldn’t try it out yet, will do this weekend. So bare with me, hope I didn’t get this wrong.) Anyway, here we go with their announcement (lots of videos today, yeah!):

… and to close with HMDs!

To more pieces of news on HMDs for the AR crowd out there. Brother seems to be ready to commercialize their Airscouter HMD! Can’t wait!

… and Sony comes with a new device with HD support for both eyes and OLED technology. It’s not directly equipped for AR (no see-through or camera), but it sure looks promising, that the big players keep investing here.

Enjoy the week!

– Toby.

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