AR Immersion 2010: Summary: Mobile AR

Bruno Uzzan, Jason Smith, Hartwig Adam and Michael Breslin gathered during the “Mobile AR” panel to discuss new features in Total Immersion’s D’Fusion Mobile SDK and what the future has in store for mobile augmented reality.

Total Immersion defines AR for mobile devices as markerless tracking and image-recognition, as opposed to geolocation (GPS, real-time 3D data) and marker-based tracking.  Developing successful mobile AR applications depends on integration with the unique hardware features of the smartphone as well as with mobile apps. The D’Fusion Mobile SDK , which boasts optimized algorithms for such tracking, is now available for partner development on the Android and iPhone, with such features as facetracking.

Glu’s Michael Breslin sees AR as spurring a revolution in mobile gaming. Smartphones have become an ubiquitous platform with a projected 3 billion sales in 2011, and an install base of 1.9 billion mobile cameras at the end of 2008. AR games can be defined as a “new and rich game experience allowing players to move and interact in their physical environment with 3D content”. Two current trends in mobile AR trends are small, modifiable apps, and larger-scale games that integrate physical and virtual triggers (i.e. geolocation-triggered text messages). The freemium model can be adapted to AR gaming with upsells for AR features and content. For example, in-game purchases of AR poker chips for a mobile poker game bring in more revenue than one-time downloads.

Google Goggles is an image-reading and recognition technology that connects user-submitted image queries with information and content on the web on a global scale, enabling mobile AR interactions. It can currently recognize 1B pieces of artwork, and other such image categories as logos and product packaging. Google’s streetview database also allows realtime location tracking, for such applications as 3D annotations and virtual graffiti. Query return speeds depend mainly on Wifi vs 3G; currently image-recognition takes 500 ms, making it the least significant contributor to latency.

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