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Infotech — Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality for the Real World

Point the camera of a tablet computer or phone at a landmark, and watch as information about the building appears on the screen. Bat at bugs on a table to rehabilitate arm and shoulder movement: the bugs actually appear only on a head-mounted display.

Augmented reality programs are rapidly being adopted in a wide variety of sectors, from military and civilian training programs to online product marketing to museum exhibits. The market intelligence firm ABI Research estimates that revenue associated with augmented reality–for handheld devices alone–will have increased from $6 million in 2008 to more than $350 million by 2014.

Drivers Ed for the Military

In the past, military drivers often had to travel to learn to operate complicated, hefty vehicles—such as the armored Stryker or the mine-protected Buffalo—on large immovable simulators. Those massive systems, complete with augmented reality tools, helped drivers feel as if they were moving genuine tank and truck controls and operating the machinery. Today, researchers at the international company SAIC, working at their Orlando office, have reengineered the architecture of the system from the ground up, so that entire virtual systems, complete with the appropriate hardware to create the necessary effects, can be shrunk down to fit into one trailer. These systems can also easily be reconfigured for different vehicles.

“We’ve taken the entire system and made it mobile,” says David Rees, senior vice president. “We’ve already built 13 or 14 trailers for the Army, and they can now take those trailers to wherever the troops are located.”

The vehicles have external arms that can be manipulated to clear explosive devices; the virtual trainer has a system just like it that the drivers can operate, then view the results on its monitors.

Commerce and Entertainment

Stephen Barker, founder and president of Sarasota-based Digital Frontiers Media, has received national attention for the company’s eye-catching interactive websites. He notes that advances in cameras and computer speeds and smart phones have dramatically enlarged the possibilities for augmented experiences. Barker describes a scenario where “for fashion, you’ll want to know what a particular piece of clothing will look like. So you’ll stand in front of the webcam and interact with the camera, change the clothing that you’re checking out, so you can get a feeling of what it will look like on you.”

At ESPN’s Innovation Lab, in Orlando, Florida, the engineers have developed virtual team members for many different sports. The on-air sportscaster appears to interact with the computer-generated athletes, striding among them as they execute a variety of plays. This system was used during the 2010 World Cup, allowing analysts to break down and explain plays and formations in a virtual environment.

Museums Spring to Life

E2I Creative Studio, a lab that bridges the academic and commercial worlds, has brought a new sense of reality to Florida museum exhibits. At the Orlando Science Center, the bones of prehistoric sea creatures were failing to captivate visitors. So researchers at the University of Central Florida’s Media Convergence Lab (the precursor of E2I) created a portal that resembled a science fiction time-travel device. Visitors stepped up to the portal and through it viewed an exhibit that had suddenly been “flooded” with water, bringing the bones to life. Virtual creatures slithered through the water and peered out from behind the real museum’s support pillars.

E2I Creative is now developing a series of exhibits for the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science, including an augmented otter habitat display. Says Eileen Smith, the lab’s director, “We decided to go with stylized virtual creatures, instead of attempting to make them look exactly like the real thing.” The point, she continues, is to offer just enough verisimilitude to let the user’s imagination take over.

Download the Augmented Reality in the Real World white paper to learn more about
  • - augmented reality games for rehabilitation;
  • - new tools for movie-making; and
  • - military training.

Augmented Reality Videos

Augmented Reality applications by Florida companies:

Augmented Reality articles from technology review

Augmented Reality Goggles: New video glasses can produce dazzling special effects, but who'll wear them?

Augmented Reality Goggles: New video glasses can produce dazzling special effects, but who'll wear them?

I held a black-and-white square of cardboard in my hand and watched as a dragon the size of a puppy appeared on top of it and roared at me...

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Augmented Reality Lacks Bite for Marketers: Companies are experimenting with adding AR layers to real-world scenes. So far, it's not doing much to boost business.

Augmented Reality Lacks Bite for Marketers: Companies are experimenting with adding AR layers to real-world scenes. So far, it's not doing much to boost business.

While enjoying a game at Yankee Stadium, you take out your smart phone and point its camera at the field...

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Real-World Virtual Reality: The technology is being used in engineering, design, and moviemaking.

Real-World Virtual Reality: The technology is being used in engineering, design, and moviemaking.

Virtual reality (VR) products are now commonly used by many car and aeronautics companies, often to test product designs and simulate user interaction...

More »

Augmented Identity: A new app makes it possible to identify people and learn about them just by pointing your phone.

Augmented Identity: A new app makes it possible to identify people and learn about them just by pointing your phone.

An application that lets users point a smart phone at a stranger and immediately learn about them premiered last Tuesday...

More »

Resources

Augmented Reality White Paper

Augmented reality applications are a natural fit in entertainment and marketing but did you know that their use is also growing in fields such as physical therapy, training, and education? Find out what the next generation of augmented reality and simulation technologies has to offer.

Download the white paper now »

Florida’s IT Cluster

Market Brief

Florida is a top ranked IT state and is known for its excellence in modeling, simulation & training, photonics/optics and digital media. Learn more about Florida's infotech cluster and business advantages.

Download »

Florida's Infotech News

Infotech Feature

Medical Simulation

The medical simulation field is moving mainstream thanks to recent significant technological advances and a solid track record of helping medical professionals improve their skills. Learn more about the medical simulation field and Florida’s major role in it.

Infotech Feature

Mobile Technology

Mobile data solutions represent the future of the wireless platform, opening up vast new revenue opportunities for operators as well as reshaping how subscribers interact with the world around them. Explore the technologies and trends pointing the way for mobile's next step forward, and learn about some of the newest mobile services coming to market.

Access Here »