Project: Touristic Augmented Reality Environments Guide

1. Background_x000D_Nowadays, museums, monuments and touristic sites represent a particularly suitable context to explore new interaction techniques to enrich visitors' guidance experience. This is COly due to the large amount of digital information available in this area (maps, 3D virtual data, 3D reconstruction of artefacts/monuments, image/photo databases). Additionally, technological resources are increasingly becoming of more common use (e.g. smartphones with capable processors, good autonomy, high resolution camera, Wi-Fi, movement sensors and precise Global Navigation Satellite System technologies such as GPS and the upcoming GALILEO)._x000D_Yet, many touristic sites present their information in a passive and non-engaging way, not taking advantage of the new technological possibilities and resources. The visitor has to search for ad-hoc information appearing sparsely through booklets, guides or websites. Additionally, this information may not meet the visitor's specific needs and requires analysis and work before it can be used. Moreover, the information available in brochures is just a small sample of what could be given to the visitor, apart the fact that carrying and absorbing comprehensive books throughout one’s visit would be cumbersome anyway._x000D_Few museums make use of audio guides to communicate information about exhibits. However, only auditory information is presented, no guidance along the museum is provided, the language can be a barrier for foreigners and the acquisition of such device implies a high cost for the institution._x000D__x000D_2. Goals_x000D_This project proposes a mobile navigation system with an Augmented Reality (AR) interactive component which allows persons to navigate both through indoor and outdoor environments, visiting points of interest in a content enriched manner, using their personal smartphone._x000D_During a visit, the user (with cultural or just touristic interest) can point the phone’s camera at any object of interest (sculpture, painting, monument, building or touristic sight) and, using orientation (from the compass), pose (from accelerometers), location (from GNSS sensorial information when available) and image data given by the smart-phone, the application is able to automatically retrieve information about that object or sight and can superimpose additional visual information on the camera image (markerless augmented reality)._x000D_The CO objectives of the project are the following:_x000D_-Create a new level of interaction with the user's surroundings through the inclusion of an augmented reality component on top of the images that are taken by a mobile device’s camera;_x000D_- Recognize previously known 3D objects out of images obtained from the device's camera and other available information like position, pose and orientation;_x000D_- Provide an application that can run in the user’s own smartphone, making it possible and simple to use the system in any location;_x000D_- Provide indoor and outdoor maps and navigation in the same framework;_x000D_- Provide positioning indoors where there is no GNSS available (in this case, image cues must fulfil the location needs) and be generic enough to be used outdoors, aided by the fact that GNSS signal is available._x000D__x000D_3. The Consortium_x000D_The project is proposed by two companies with the complementary skills needed to accomplish the goals. Reverse Lda has 8 years of experience in vision systems. It has developed patented 3D scanning technology with industrial and medical applications and, recently, an Augmented Reality system which provides the experience of using 3D virtual eyeglasses over the user’s face viewed by a camera and displayed in a screen. LatitudeN GmbH is a start-up company with 5 months of existence, born as an incubatee in the ESA Business Incubation Initiative. It focuses on mobile (smartphone) map navigation systems for tourism and is currently developing a map based mobile city guide to accompany the tourist in real-time when visiting a city._x000D_In the context of this project, Reverse will develop the computer vision component of the system. This component allows for the augmented reality experience to take place when the user points the mobile device to a known object and also contributes to the map navigation system with its user location estimate (which is critical in an indoors environment) when an object whose location is known is recognised._x000D_LatitudeN will develop the map navigation component of the system and the user interface. The navigation component uses the compass and location information provided by GNSS (outdoors) or the result of the location from the vision system (indoors) to place the user on a map. It also provides all available orientation, location and poses estimations from the device to the vision component. The user interface component integrates the two previous components and allows the user to have an intuitive interface to fully explore the system features, namely explore the artificial reality environment that is presented to him/her.

Acronym TouAREG (Reference Number: 5547)
Duration 01/10/2010 - 31/01/2013
Project Topic TouAREG proposes to develop an Augmented Reality (AR) Mobile Guide for indoor and outdoor scenarios, relying on smartphones with GPS, camera and accelerometer. It integrates the available information in real time, providing maps, multimedia content and AR explanations to guide the tour.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO result of this project consisted on a mobile system implemented as an application for smartphones, which includes a mobile map navigation component and computer vision component that allow for an interactive augmented reality component, suitable for indoors and outdoors environments._x000D_Users run the application on their own smartphone while moving through a city or museum and, at any time, can point the phone’s camera at mapped points of interest. As long as this is a known object in the system’s database, the application is able to automatically retrieve information about that object, superimposing in the image visual content rich information (augmented reality). The information presents the user detailed information about the object, comparing with other works of the same artist/architect or even superimposing old archive images of the location/building or monument to show what it looked like at different times.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 4

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 LatitudeN GmbH Partner Germany
2 Reverse Engineering, Sistemas de Metrologia e Multimedia, Lda Coordinator Portugal