March 17, 2017

See a different world with Augmented Reality

3D Design / AR

Sam Garner

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3D Augmented reality is a new application platform with which you can embedded in real time 3D objects into a live video feed. Whether you’re looking for a parking spot or the hottest restaurant in town, you can do this in a matter of few seconds. Augmented reality is the ability to insert and overlay the digital and virtual information into the world. You can recognize and see things and immediately get information from them using your smartphone or any smart device with the application installed. Imagine the ability to browse live, like we browse the web.

It might seem revolutionary, but the technology started in 1962 when a cinematographer Morton Heilig created the Sensorama. A simulator with visuals, sound, vibration and smell. The augmented reality’s first real world application was the heads-up display in fighter jets where symbols are projected in a transparent glass screen which takes away the distraction of looking at gauges. It allows pilots to aim their weapons better. Heads-up displays are now starting to appear in cars, too. Companies like BMW is one of the pioneers. The basic principle is that it displays all crucial information such as speed, navigation and it projects it to the front glass of the car. These signs are only visible to the driver.

Commercial use of 3D Augmented reality

Augmented reality will ease activities such as travel and shopping. It even can be applied in medicine and education. With the technology’s rapid development its potential is endless. It’s very popular as a marketing tool and it is actually about to drive people towards advertising and retain engagement. Many brands have adopted this new marketing strategy, including IKEA. In 2014 the IKEA catalogue came with an augmented reality application designed to recognize many sorts of furniture in the catalogue to overlay. E.g animated 3d furniture. Instead of seeing a video, you actually look at the catalogue with your camera and the app visualizes the bed right there on the page. If you wonder how a wardrobe would fit into your home decoration, the app can help you seeing it as well. One of the first huge deployments of AR in the commercial space was the initiative of LEGO. In every LEGO store in the world you can simply walk in, grab a box from the shelf and hold it up in front of the shot screen with a camera on top of it. There you can visualize the entire model animated on the top of the box. It’s so successful that people at LEGO think of this as their magic trick. Because once a kid sees the model on the top of the box, it’s not going home without purchasing the model.

3D modelling for AR projects

Today, many companies are eager to touch the new technology for different purposes. For these, providing 3D models is a tricky thing. First you have to analyze the underlying object from different angles, measuring it, take mediums on it until you can find the most optimal way to modelling it with a 3D modelling program like Maya. In the modelling software you can add the virtual object to the real world. There are plenty of AR software providers and based upon the industry and the end goal, one has to find the best solution. Having worked with eliNext, we had some good experience using their technology in order to build up our experience and bring our 3D modelling skills to the next level.

AR and ART

Augmented reality is also used to replace manuals and show real time instructions. Another use is in art museums, where a mobile phone replaces long audio tours. When you point your device at each painting, an overlay of information displays in real time. But the main thing what AR was about was vision. Google was here at the forefront. Google glass allows users to take pictures and videos, get directions, send messages, and get information simply by speaking to the glasses. But their expected launch in 2014 has been met with criticism. Distracting users of the obvious problem led law makers in West Virginia to propose a ban on drivers from wearing Google glass. Privacy is also a concern with many cinemas and bars that ban the glass as well. Hollywood has had their visions of augmented reality from heads up displays in Iron Man to computers in Minority Report and maps in Avatar. And today we’re closer than ever to making those visions a reality.