Augmented Reality-Interview with Duane Nickull, Senior Standards Strategist at Adobe

According to Wikipedia “augmented reality” as “the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.”

Now it’s come to Flash, with some amazing results. For today’s podcast, I met up with Duane Nickull, Senior Standards Strategist at Adobe at the Web 2 Conference in San Francisco. In addition to providing a great demo on video Duane introduced me to a number of videos that he produces for Adobe TV.

Today’s Web Professional Minute is sponsored by Peach Pit Press. Peachpit has been publishing top-notch books on the latest in graphic design, desktop publishing, multimedia, Web design and development, digital video, and general computing since 1986.

A complete transcript will be available in twenty four hours.

Augmented Reality Current Applications


promoting a new product by providing impressive and interactive AR application on Internet
Support with complex tasks, in assembly, maintenance, surgery etc.:
by inserting of additional information into the field of view (for example, a mechanic getting labels displayed at parts of a system and getting operating instructions)
by visualization of hidden objects (during medical diagnostics or surgery as a virtual X-ray view, based on prior tomography or on real time images from ultrasound or open NMR devices, e.g., a doctor could “see” the fetus inside the mother’s womb).

Navigation devices

in buildings, e.g. maintenance of industrial plants
outdoors, e.g. military operations or disaster management
in cars (headup displays or personal display glasses showing navigation hints and traffic information)
in airplanes (headup displays in fighter jets are one of the first AR applications anyhow; meanwhile fully interactive as well, with eye pointing)

Military and emergency services (wearable systems, showing instructions, maps, enemy locations, fire cells etc.)
Prospecting in hydrology, ecology, geology (display and interactive analysis of terrain characteristics, interactive three-dimensional maps that could be collaboratively modified and analyzed)
Visualization of architecture (virtual resurrection of destroyed historic buildings as well as simulation of planned construction projects)

Enhanced sightseeing : labels or any text related to the objects/places seen, rebuilt ruins, building or even landscape as seen in the past. Combined with a wireless network the amount of data displayed is limitless (encyclopedic articles, news, etc…).
Simulation, e.g. flight and driving simulators
Collaboration of distributed teams
conferences with real and virtual participants. See also Mixed Reality
joint work at simulated 3D models
Entertainment and education
virtual objects in museums and exhibitions.

Future applications

Expanding a PC screen into the real environment: program windows and icons appear as virtual devices in real space and are eye or gesture operated, by gazing or pointing. A single personal display (glasses) could concurrently simulate a hundred conventional PC screens or application windows all around a user.

Virtual devices of all kinds, e.g. replacement of traditional screens, control panels, and entirely new applications impossible in “real” hardware, like 3D objects interactively changing their shape and appearance based on the current task or need.

Enhanced media applications, like pseudo holographic virtual screens, virtual surround cinema, virtual ‘holodecks’ (allowing computer-generated imagery to interact with live entertainers and audience)
Virtual conferences in “holodeck” style
Replacement of cellphone and car navigator screens: eye-dialing, insertion of information directly into the environment, e.g. guiding lines directly on the road, as well as enhancements like “X-ray”-views

Virtual plants, wallpapers, panoramic views, artwork, decorations, illumination etc., enhancing everyday life. For example, a virtual window could be displayed on a regular wall showing a live feed of a camera placed on the exterior of the building, thus allowing the user to effectually toggle a wall’s transparency.

With AR systems getting into mass market, we may see virtual window dressings, posters, traffic signs, Christmas decorations, advertisement towers and more. These may be fully interactive even at a distance, by eye pointing for example.

Virtual gadgetry becomes possible. Any physical device currently produced to assist in data-oriented tasks (such as the clock, radio, PC, arrival/departure board at an airport, stock ticker, PDA, PMP, informational posters/fliers/billboards, in-car navigation systems, etc. could be replaced by virtual devices that cost nothing to produce aside from the cost of writing the software. Examples might be a virtual wall clock, a to-do list for the day docked by your bed for you to look at first thing in the morning, etc.

Subscribable group-specific AR feeds. For example, a manager on a construction site could create and dock instructions including diagrams in specific locations on the site. The workers could refer to this feed of AR items as they work. Another example could be patrons at a public event subscribing to a feed of direction and information oriented AR items.

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