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Mostly AR and Stuff

TI demoed tablet with stereocamera

In relation to this post TI demoed OMAP3 tablet with dual camera capable of recording 3d images.
TI promise dual core OMAP4 will be even better at this.

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18, February, 2010 Posted by | Augmented Reality, Mobile | , , , , , | Comments Off on TI demoed tablet with stereocamera

Dual boot Android on N900?

via Engadget


Well, that spectacular, to say the least. Wondering if camera/opengl drivers would work.

24, January, 2010 Posted by | Mobile | , , | Comments Off on Dual boot Android on N900?

What I would say to Nokia about mobile AR (if it would listen)

#augmentedreality
I have been struck off the list of the Nokia Augmented Reality co-creation session, so here is a gist of what I was intending to say about AR-friendly mobile devices.
I will not repeat obvious here (requirements for CPU, FPU, RAM etc.) but concentrate on things which are often missed.
I. Hardware side
1. Battery life is the most important thing here. AR applications are eating battery extremely fast – full CPU load, memory access, working camera and on top of it wireless data access, GPS and e-compass.
It’s not realistic to expect dramatic improvement in the battery life in near future, though fuel cells and air-fueled batteries give some hope. If one think short term the dual battery is the most realistic solution. AR-capable devices tend to be quite heavy and not quite slim anyway, so second battery will not make dramatic difference (iPhone could be exception here).
Now how to make maximum out of it? Make batteries hot-swappable with separate slots and provide separate battery charger. If user indoor he/she can remove empty battery and put it on charge while device is running on the second.
2. Heating. Up until now no one was paying attention to the heating of mobile devices, mostly because CPU-heavy apps are very few now (may be only 3d games). AR application produce even more heat than 3d game and device could become quite hot. So heatsinks and heatpumps are on the agenda.
3. Camera. For AR the speed of the camera is more important than the resolution. Speed is the most important factor, slow camera produce blurred images which are extremely hard to process (extract features, edges etc)
Position of the camera. Most of the users are holding device horizontally while using AR. Specific of the mobile AR is that simultaneously user is getting input from the peripheral vision. To produce picture consistent with peripheral vision camera should be in the center of the device, not on the extreme edge like in N900.
Lack of skewing, off-center, radial and rolling shutter distortions of the camera is another factor. In this respect Nokia phone cameras are quite good for now, unlike iPhone.
4. Buttons. Touchscreen is not very helpful to AR, all screen real estate should be dedicated to the environment representation. While it’s quite possible to make completely gesture-driven AR interface buttons are still helpful. There should be at least one easily accessible button on the front panel. N95 with slider out to the right is the almost perfect setup – one big button on front panel and some on the slider on the opposite side. N900 with buttons only on the slider, slider sliding only down and no buttons on the front panel is the example of unhelpful buttons placement.

II. Software side
1. Fragmentation.
Platform fragmentation is the bane of mobile developers. Especially if several new models launched every quarter. One of the reasons of the phenomenal success of iPhone application platform is that there is no fragmentation whatsoever. Whit the huge zoo of models it practically impossible support all that are in the suitable hardware range. That is especially difficult with AR apps, which are closely coupled with camera technical specification, display size and ratio etc. If manufacturers want to make it easy for devs they should concentrate on one AR-friendly line of devices, with binary, or at least source code compatibility between models.
2. Easy access to DSP in API. It would effectively give developer a second CPU.
3. Access to raw data from camera. Why row data from camera are not accessible from ordinary API and only available to selected elite developer houses is a mistery to me. Right now, for example for Symbain OS camera viewfinder convert data to YUV422, from YUV422 to BMP and ordinary viewfinder API have access to BMP only. Quite overhead.
4. API to access internal camera parameters – focus distance etc. Otherwise every device have to be calibrated by developer.

10, November, 2009 Posted by | Augmented Reality, Mobile | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Symbian Signed again.

A discussion is going on at the symbian.org. It looks like a new symbain signed rules are in the work (my guess they will be implemented no earlier than symbian^4). Symbian signed may become cheaper and a new class of publisher ID may become available for anyone with a credit card.

29, October, 2009 Posted by | Mobile | , , , | Comments Off on Symbian Signed again.

Openness – Maemo vs Android

A great post from coll900 about comparative openness Maemo and Android for developers and users. Maemo designated as a clear win. The one point missing in the original post is a platform fragmentation. Android try to get around fragmentation using Java virtual machine (albeit with non-standard bytecodes). However native code will not be binary transferable between devices. That is especially relevant for augmented reality and other cpu-heavy apps. Here is a question – will Maemo be any better? For some mysterious reasons Nokia afflicted by irresistible drive to fragment it’s own software platform as much as possible. If Nokia manage to gather enough strength of will to keep Maemo on a single but mass-produced device line, like Apple with iPhone, Maemo could become developers dream and a serious competitor to iPhone. However if Nokia keeps its bad habit of producing zoo of semi-decent not-quite-compatible devices, with introduction of a new just-little-different device every quarter, just to break whatever compatibility still remaining, Maemo, with all its openess will not have practical advantage over Android.

PS. It looks like there will not be any Maemo fragmentation. Source at Nokia told Reuters that there will be one Maemo device, at least for next year. That a good news actually.

28, October, 2009 Posted by | Mobile | , , , , | 1 Comment

Another prospective AR device

Nokia RX-51. It reported having OMAP3 600Mhz CPU with hardware 3D, camera, phone connectivity – it’s not a pure tablet like N800, GPS, accelerometers, and most testy – Maemo 5 Linux
No reports of electronic compass though.

9, August, 2009 Posted by | Mobile | , , | Comments Off on Another prospective AR device

Air-fueled batteries

As I’d already written I think the battery life is the key to adoption of high-performance mobile devices, strong enough for advanced image processing and real-time augmented reality.
Here are some news – Technologyreview report it seems there are some advances in lithium-air batteries. Air-fueled batteries is something similar to fuel-air explosives Like FAE air-fueled batteries are not storing oxidizer in themselves, but use oxidizer from the air. AFB should allow ten times energy density of the common batteries.
Lithium AFB are developed by IBM, Hitachi and could use not only lithium but zinc and aluminium

28, June, 2009 Posted by | Mobile | , , | Comments Off on Air-fueled batteries

Nokia consider Maemo Linux as alternative to Symbian ?

As cnet point out Symbian is not mentioned in the joint Intel-Nokia press release about 3G and Open Source Software collaboration. Only Maemo and Moblin are mentioned. Symbian, though also open sourced is left out. It could be that Nokia is less enthusiastic about Symbain OS now. Existing Symbain OS UIs are inferior to iPhone UI, Symbian OS third party applications are not getting enough traction and most of Symbian users are not even aware they exist. Symbian Signed restrictions are not helping either. BTW most of Symbian users are not even aware they are Symbian users.
So Nokia seems hedging its bets with Maemo linux. Cnet think Nokia could switch to Maemo for high-end devices and leave Symbian for mid-range.

25, June, 2009 Posted by | Mobile, Symbian | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another prospective AR device – Samsung i8910 Omnia HD

Also Symbian OS. 600Mhz CPU, 3d accelerator, accelerometer, proximity sensor, GPS, touchscreen. Some kind of hardware image processor seems too, but with closed API, so that is not really useful.
Here are full spec.

23, March, 2009 Posted by | Augmented Reality, Mobile | , , , , | Comments Off on Another prospective AR device – Samsung i8910 Omnia HD

The Register article mention AR Tower Defense

The Register article on Augmented Reality make a mention of AR Tower Defense.

PS. In relation to this article, if smartphone need better display for AR – what mobile AR device need first

19, March, 2009 Posted by | Augmented Reality, Games, Nokia N95 | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Register article mention AR Tower Defense