Something I did for Samsung (kernel of tracker). Biggest improvement in SARI 1.5 is the sensors fusion, which allow for a lot more robust tracking.
Here is example of run-time localization and mapping with SARI 1.5:
This is the AR EdiBear game (free in Samsung apps store)
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
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.
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.
Code of markerless tracker is finished for emulator. It’s in in minimal configuration, without some optimizations, bell and whistles like combined points-edge pose estimation for now. Now it’s bugs squashing and testing with different video feeds for some times. Modified bundle adjustment is the nicest part, seems pretty stable and robust.
Demo-version of binary Symbian multimarker tracking library SMMT available for download.
SMMT library is a SLAM multimarker tracker for Symbian. Library can work on Symbian S60 9.1 devices like Nokia N73 and Symbian 9.2 like Nokia N95, N82. It may also work on some other later versions. This version support only landscape 320×240 resolution for algorithmical reason – size used in the optimization.
This is slightly more advanced version of the tracker used in AR Tower Defense game.
PS corrupted file fixed
Shenxiu produce gatha:
The project is a source tree,
the code a standing mirror bright.
At all times polish it diligently,
and let no bugs crawl.
When a fra passed the rice mill chanting Shenxiu’s gatha, Huineng immediately knew this verse lacked true insight. He went to the wall, and asked a avout there to write a gatha of his own for him. The avout was surprised, “How extraordinary! You can not write assembly code, and you want to compose a gatha?” Whereupon Huineng said, “If you seek supreme enlightenment, do not slight anyone. Lowly java programmers may have great insights, and assembly coders may commit foolish acts.” In veneration, the avout wrote Huineng’s gatha on the wall for him, next to Shenxiu’s, which stated:
Project has no tree,
nor is the the code a standing mirror bright.
Since all is originally empty,
where does the bugs appear?
Huineng then went back to rice pounding. However, this gatha created a bigger stir; everyone was saying, “Amazing! You can’t judge a person by his looks! Maybe he will become a Living Saunt soon!” However, when the alarmed Hongren came out, he just casually said, “This hasn’t seen the essential nature either,” and proceeded to wipe the gatha off with his shoe.
Huineng refactoring code
With release of native code kit Android now looks more like a functional AR platform. NDK allow for native C/C++ libraries, and complete application seems need java wrapper still. It’s not clear to me still how accessible are video and OpenGL API from NDK – have to look into it.
On related note – there are rumors about pretty powerful 1Ghz phone for Android 2.0
One of the big problem in image registration/structure from motion/3d tracking is using global information of the image. Feature/blob extraction, like SIFT, SURF or FAST etc using only local information around the point. Region detector like MSER using area information, but MSER is not good at tracking textures, and not quite stable at complex scenes. Edge detection provide some non-local information, but require processing edges. That could be computationally heavy, but looks promising anyway. There are a lot of methods which use global information – all kind of texture segmentation, epitome, snakes/appearance models, but those are computationally heavy and not suitable for mobiles. The question is how to incorporate global information from the image into tracker, and make it with minimal amount of operations. One way is to optimise tracker for specific environment – for example use the property of cityscape, a lot of planar structures and straight lines. Such multiplanar tracker wouldn’t work in the forest or park, but could be a working compromise.