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)
Well, that spectacular, to say the least. Wondering if camera/opengl drivers would work.
Smartphone with stereocamera is not exactly a new concept
But 3d registration, rangefinding, augmented reality would be a lot more robust and efficient with stereocamera.
Of cause it should be implemented properly, distance between lenses should be as big as possible. Preferably with lenses near opposite ends of the phone, to increase baseline, which would increase 3d precision.
Special geek model could have second camera on the retractable extender for even more precision.
Stereocamera would make AR markerless tracking trivial. 3d structure of the scene could be triangulated in one step form the single stereoframe.
There are two recent developments related to Augmented Reality and Google – Google Goggles and Google integrating QR codes into Google Maps. While I was talking on twitter with @noazark the question arise about Google Google not doing real-time localization of the user, thus not being a “real” AR.
Here come QR codes. QR code are extremely easy to recognize in the camera image, and their square shape allow for fast calculation of camera position relatively to QR. In fact each QR code include three fiduciary markers:
And well known marker-tracking technique easily applied to them. Marker tracking could be augmented (pan intended:) by planar tracking of the corners of the pattern itself. That allow for attaching virtual 3d objects/animations to QR codes, but there is more in it. As QR code contain more than 4k of data, exact GPS coordinate, pattern orientation and its’ size could be encoded in the pattern. That way mobile phone seeing the code can easily calculate it’s exact 3d coordinate and orientation, not only relatively to QR, but absolute.
More of it – QR code can have coordinates of nearby QR codes, creating kind of localization grid, which can point user to any location covered by that grid with arrow on the screen of the phone.
Now to markerless tracking – QR code can be used to jump-start markerless tracker and assist it with error-correction(drift compensation), especially mentioned grid of the codes. That is especially relevant to markereless trackers which use planar structures and straight edges.
Now there is one problem here – white QR code is easy to segment out of dark background. But on white background it not so easy to recognize, and embedded fiduciary markers will not be seen form afar. Here is suggestion – make thick black frame around the QR, and make it part of the extended standard. This square shape would be easy to recognize, even if it’s only couple of dozen of pixel in diameter. With incremental tracking phone will be able to track it(after initial close up) even if moved quite far from the QR. If this square frame is part of the standard, always having the same relative size, it could be used for distance estimation.
Now combine it with Google Goggles real time and you have functional AR with 3d registration.
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 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.
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.
During the tests I’ve found out that bundle adjustment is failing on some “bad frames”. There two ways to deal with it – reject bad frames or try to understand what happen – who set up us a bomb? :-).Any problem is also an opportunity to understand subject better. For now I suspect Gauss-Newton is failing due to too big residue. Just adding Hessian to does not help – I’m getting negative eigenvalue. So now I’m trying quasi-Newton from the excellent book by Nocedal&Wright. If it will not help I’ll try hybrid Fletcher method.