Augmented Reality: ICEmobile with Vuforia

Without question, the most captivating new feature in ICEmobile is the Augmented Reality marker viewer.

Here is a short demonstration showing how marker-based augmented reality can be easily used within a web application. The application developer simply creates a list of Wavefront .obj files and these are attached to the AR markers according to their index in the list. (This is just mobileshowcase with the addition of some new .obj files for the demonstration.)

Developing the page is very easy. .obj files contain 3D object models and are simply stored as files on the web server, and it’s just a matter of adding the component to your page (learn more on the wiki):

<mobi:augmentedReality  buttonLabel="3D Augmented Reality"
        value="#{realityBean.markers}" var="marker"
        markerModel="#{marker.model}" />

What can you use this for? The most straightforward application is that it is an easy way to interact with a three-dimensional model — users do not need to learn rotation and zooming controls, they can simply view the object in front of them. For instance, this could be used in a part supply shop to allow customers to view the part before retrieving it from the warehouse. (Of course, the major task would be to create models for all the parts.) Watch this space for a short introduction on how to create the models with the open source Blender application.

This feature will be enhanced to allow touch events on the models (think of this as an HTML image map or select component in 3D). Beyond that, the path is substantial work to implement, but very interesting: dynamically scriptable models with events are what we need, and at that point the “web browser” will inhabit an augmented reality with us (and not look like a printed page at all).

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