3D graphics, reality fuse on the fly

March 4, 2010 by Pete Wilton

(PhysOrg.com) -- Software developed at Oxford University is making it possible to fuse real and 3D computer-generated visuals on the fly.

The Parallel Tracking and Mapping [PTAM] is a camera-tracking system which maps the environment around you as seen through a camera and turns real world surfaces into platforms for virtual objects or characters without the need for pre-stored maps or tags.

The video above, showing PTAM working on , gives you an idea of how the software might be used.

The video will load shortly

It's just been announced that the system has been licensed to company QderoPateo LLC by Oxford’s technology transfer company Isis Innovation. QderoPateo will integrate the software into mobile phone applications, to provide novel advertising and other services.

‘The blending of real and virtual worlds is common enough in films and television, but is usually achieved by extensive processing of the recorded images or by filming in studios with known objects at fixed locations,' David Murray of Oxford University's Department of Engineering Science, who led the work, told me.

'The PTAM software allows developers to augment a camera’s video stream in real time and in everyday locations. It allows developers to build augmented reality applications for consumer markets and education, both quickly and economically.'

The software builds a detailed 3D map containing thousands of features which can be tracked at a standard frame-rate with an accuracy rivalling that of model-based systems.

It can also recognise objects and scenes through the appearance of clusters of features that form a 'digital signature' of the location. As the map is built, the camera viewpoint and angle is calculated in such a way that 3D graphics can be projected into the so that they appear to belong in the same scene.

On a smart phone PTAM can help improve the accuracy of sensors such as GPS and digital compasses and fill in when satellite, 3G and WiFi signals drop out. One potential application is a PTAM-enabled app featuring an avatar 'guide' who could appear in your camera view and lead you down the street towards a restaurant while explaining the menu and making your reservation.

QderoPateo have ambitious plans to grow the mobile augmented reality market and create an augmented reality search and gaming engine running for their 'Ouidoo' smart phone - expected to make its debut at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo this spring,

Isis Innovation is also looking for commercial partners who will develop the software for a variety of other useful applications.

Explore further: An added dimension for virtual museums

More information: www.robots.ox.ac.uk/~gk/PTAM/

Related Stories

An added dimension for virtual museums

December 5, 2004

Culture vultures enjoy exploring museum collections online. New 3D technology promises to make their experience richer still. With a mouse click, people can manipulate valuable objects as if they were in their own hands. ...

New technology could make TV more exciting

February 2, 2005

Live TV outside broadcasts that combine real action and computer-generated images could become possible for the first time, thanks to camera navigation technology now under development. The work is opening up the prospect ...

Augmented Reality: Science Fiction or Reality? (w/ Video)

July 7, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Computer graphics have come a long way since the birth of Atari Games over 30 years ago. Today, computer graphics seem very real and some day researchers will pull graphics out of your television or computer ...

Point your phone to ID places

September 30, 2009

Imagine seeing a cool-looking building from afar that you want to know more about. Or seeing someone whose name you can't remember coming toward you with their hand outstretched.

Virtual museum guide

February 2, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Archaeological treasures are brought to life by Fraunhofer software. Real images are enriched with digital information on a virtual tour through ancient buildings, creating a more vivid experience for the ...

Recommended for you

Auto, aerospace industries warm to 3D printing

August 25, 2016

New 3D printing technology unveiled this week sharply increases the size of objects that can be produced, offering new possibilities to remake manufacturing in the auto, aerospace and other major industries.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4.3 / 5 (3) Mar 04, 2010
I was talking about this concept the other night to a friend. It seems to me that the next step in everyone's virtual life, will be to augment reality with it.

Imagine then, a pair of glasses with built in camera that constantly communicates with your mobile device, augmenting your reality with the avatars of other mobile device users etc.

Take this concept, splice it with the XBox Natal project and then add in some Moore's law and you get the best total immersion augmented reality games you can think of.

Could be tricky taking the glasses off and going back to the real world though; not to mention playing a zombie game down at the supermarket and clubbing innocent bystanders.
not rated yet Mar 04, 2010
"Clubbing innocent bystanders."

Classic! So simple, but worth a smile.

Yeah, this seems like holodeck 1.0. Not to mention the article mentioning the brain controlled computers. I'm sure that would play into this augmented reality very well since you would not need any button pushing to execute commands and functions.
not rated yet Mar 05, 2010
splice it with this development. there's glasses that project an image onto the retina. Basically liek a Heads Up Display allowing you to see tags on real world objects like terminator vision. ">innocent bystander: do not club"


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.