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Report on ACM SIGGRAPH VRCAI 2011 in Hong Kong (Virtual Reality Continuum and Its Applications in Industry) Reason:

Full paper presentation on "dMarkers : Ubiquitous dynamic makers for Augmented Reality" (using Ambikraf Technology for AR markers)
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dMarkers for Augmented Reality

Mixed Reality is one of the most interested topics for the Keio NUS CUTE Center since its early stages. Roshan et al. submitted a paper to ACM SIGGRAPH VRCAI Conference 2011 and was selected as a full paper. We used the Ambikraf technology to create dynamic markers which are quite similar to the normal markers such as paper based markers. The temperature is controlled on the surface of the marker so that the thermochromic ink changes its colour. I (Prabhash) presented the paper on behalf of the team and the lab on 11th of December 2011. The conference was held on 11th and 12th. Given below are some of the important things which I discovered during my conference visit. The conference was held in City University of Hong Kong.

Surprisingly, on the very first entrance to the City University of Hong Kong where the conference was held, I met my very good friend Dr. Gauqi He who worked with me in the CUTE Centre previously. He had come from Shang Hi to present a paper in the VRCAI 2011 Conference.


Keynote Presentation 1: Prof. Mark Billingurst (HITLab, New Zealand), “The Reality of Augmented Reality”Edit

Mark Billingurst, an emperor in Augmented Reality delivered a wonderful keynote speech on “The Reality of Augmented Reality”. He spoke about how the augmented reality evolved over decades, how it becomes a common term in day to day life, and its future. He spoke about the popularity of augmented reality considering the terms related to augmented reality. As showing in Figure 1, the popularity of augmented reality rised to a peak around a decade ago, and it has decreased rapidly. He has considered the terms in television, newspapers, films etc. The major reason for this is immaturity of augmented reality to become a part of day to day life. Even though it seems augmented reality is getting popular again as the curve goes up, and Mark mentioned that it’s the researchers’ duty to help with innovative solutions to speed up the popularity as a mature technology into day to day life. Describing his work, he showed the first public demonstration of augmented reality as shown in Figure 2. Further, he mentioned about constructing the real objects by using multiple views. He showed SIGGRAPH 2002 submission “Real-Time 3D Interaction for Virtual and Augmented Reality” (see Figure 3, 4).

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Figure 1: Mark Billinghurst explaining the popularity of Augmented Reality which increased rapidly sometime back, but reduced recently, and increasing again.











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Figure 2: Mark Billingurst showing a video of exposing the augmented reality applications in a public place. The user is wearing a video see through head mounted display. This was a marker based augmented reality application.











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Figure 3: Constructing a 3D model of the real world by using multiple videos real time.












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Figure 4: Constructing the virtual character by using mutiple views (videos). This has been used for video conferencing.













He mentioned about the importance of looking into scientific fictions and related movies whereas the future is predicted which can be helpful to drive the technology. He showed some projects which are related to such movies for creating the scientific equipments; foldable display as in the film “Red Planet” (see Figure 5, 6), and Iron Man 2 (Figure 9, 10).



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Figure 5: Mark Billinghurst discussing the importance of looking into scientific fictions and showing the foldable display as introduced in the movie “Red Planet (2002)”.













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Figure 6: Mark Billingurst showing the AR Foldable display where four markers are used to find the four points of the virtual display. The foldable display indicates augmented information. The idea has been taken from the scientific fiction “The Red Planet (2002)”.
















Smart phone applications in augmented reality seemed one of Mark’s early interests. He showed an AR display of a virtual stadium mapped to the real stadium by using the GPS and compass modules in Android Smart Phones. He mentioned the importance of getting into the track of smart phone based AR applications as the phones have become a part of people’s lives and increasing the performance and features everyday (Figure 7).

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Figure 7: Mark Billingurst explaining the Android AR applications. He describes an AR Architectural application where a virtual stadium has been mapped with the real world using GPS and Compass.
















Mark described about the architectural applications of augmented reality. He mentioned about the AR applications for redisplaying the buildings after a disastrous situation such as earth quake (Figure 8). He showed an ancient building in New Zealand which was destroyed from an earth quake, but reconstructed virtually in the augmented reality application.



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Figure 8: Augmented Reality experience of an ancient building (first public library) in New Zealand which was damaged from an earth quake.















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Figure 10: Mark describing the natural interaction with virtual objects by using the Microsoft Kinect device (2011). The motivation is the hand interaction as in Iron Man 2 movie. The person in the left hand side of the photo is holding a virtual ball. He/she puts it into the cup. There were some issues with occlusion handling, but overall system is very exciting.















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Figure 10: Mark describing the natural interaction with virtual objects by using the Microsoft Kinect device (2011). The motivation is the hand interaction as in Iron Man 2 movie. The person in the left hand side of the photo is holding a virtual ball. He/she puts it into the cup. There were some issues with occlusion handling, but overall system is very exciting.



Other Presentations to the Lab ProjectsEdit

Mingang Chen et al. described about “Hierarchical Frame Structure Based Interactive Video Object Cutout” where he showed an image of a seal whereas different camera positions and focusing causes different levels of surface colour segments, so that the hierarchical frame structures can help to cutout the seal. I think this was an important paper for the “AR for Emergency Providers” project in the sense of tracking.

Jiahua Chen et al. described motion deblurring technique which is not real time (“Motion Deblurring From a Single Image Using Gradient Enhancement”). But the presenter mentioned that they have plans to port the algorithm to GPU processing and speed it up. This may be important for the “AR for Emergency Providers” project where there is a considerable amount of damage caused for consistent tracking by the motion blur problem.