Tag Archives: Personal Information System

Printed media scanner apps

Paper and ink are the unbeaten leaders in transporting information, news and facts to the people all around the globe. But today, the transition from print to digital media is going on. Today, the digital content is personalized and depends on the location of the consumer [1]. And, especially on the internet, for the consumer it is easy to get further facts about a topic in less clicks. That is something, what print media cannot serve with because they are static [2]. With the use of augmented reality, print media can be enriched with additional facts and multimedia content.

Augmented Reality makers brings the paper to life

With the use of augmented reality, static papers come back to life. Additional content can be displayed by the reader with the smart phone by scanning a marker. Makers can be, for example, a special sign (a QR code) or an image and must be scanned with a special tracking software or app. A marker should have some special characteristics like the form, the colors, the position or a unique identification symbol [3]. The software or app reads the data content from the marker and open the corresponding data source from the internet or the local in-app database. The additional content is now visible for the reader on his smart phone and gives him a link to more information or plays a video corresponding to the text that he is reading. Markers and the corresponding apps gives static papers the chance to be a bit dynamic and that gives printed media much more possibilities.

Smart phone scanners for augmented media content

Mobile augmented reality scanner applications are available in two kinds. These two kinds called AR Browser or AR App. But there are some important differences between these two kind of augmented reality scanner applications.

AR Browsers are apps like Wikitude, Layar, Junaio, Aurasma or BlippAR. These apps can link scanned markers to the content of many different content providers. A content provider is usually a company who want to advertise or present products or news. The content provider has to pay the AR Browser provider, that his content is available in the AR Browser application. The AR development kits (SDK) are normally also not free to use and to create the content. The user has to download the AR Browser to get access to the content of a specific content provider. That bad thing is, that AR Browsers do not have any standards like a web browser. Each AR Browser works with different technologies to bring the augmented reality content to the user [2].

An AR App is developed for a specific purpose. That could be to deliver additional facts or information for a specific product or for a specific topic. For example, the Lego 3D catalog app can only be used for scanning content from the actual Lego catalog. An AR App could work also with offline-content (like images, texts, videos), so the user does not need internet access in contrast to an AR Browser. The disadvantages of this offline availability is, that an AR App could need much more disk space than an AR Browser [2].

Examples of AR Browser implementations

The following examples gives an idea how AR Browsers works. To show how that the given examples works, you have to download the appropriate app from the Apple iTunes, Google Play Store or Microsoft Store.

Augmented reality commercials with BlippAR [4]

Download the BlippAR app (iOS, Android, Windows) and scan with the app one of the following images. The BlippAR scanner “blipps” (scans) the image and present additional content.

Behind the “Lucky Charms” image is a game to play. To see and play that game, scan the image with the BlippAR app. That this image is enriched with augmented reality content is recognizable by the BlippAR sign on the right side.

BlippAR example
BlippAR example “Lucky Charms” [5]
Note: This presented image come from the BlippAR showroom. There are much more such examples available. It is possible, that some “blipps” can only be viewed within specific regions.

Papers and commercials with LayAR [6]

The LayAR app works similar like BlippAR. The LayAR app scan an image or a page and shows additional information to the scanned topic. For the following example the LayAR app is necessary (iOS, Android).

An example for the use of the LayAR app is the 2015 annual report from the car company Audi. This report is available digital and printed. In the report it is written on page 8, that the LayAR app can be used on several pages with a special mobile phone sign to view extra content information. Example of augmented pages in the report are page 24, page 31, page 91, page 106 or page 109. The list of the pages with additional content is not completely.

Open this link for the Audi 2015 annual report as PDF document.

The next example is an advertising about the tourism in Ohio. Scan the image with the LayAR app and the app shows a video and further tourism facts about Ohio.

LayAR example about Ohio Tourism
LayAR example about Ohio Tourism [7]
Note: This image about Ohio tourism come from the LayAR inspiration page. On the page, there are much more examples [7].

Examples of AR Apps implementations

The difference between AR Apps and AR Browsers (like LayAR and BlippAR) is, that AR Apps only support one product or one brochure. The user need for that product a special app. The next example comes from the well know Lego company. The 2016 catalog contains augmented reality Lego models, presupposed that the reader has the Lego app (iOS, Android) installed on his mobile phone.

The online Lego catalog is here available. Open it in a new browser tab, download and install the Lego app (iOS, Android) on the smart phone and scan the pages in the catalog with the yellow Lego brick (for example page 28, page 44, page 66, page 84, page 110, page 124).

How that it works with a physical paper Lego catalog shows the following video:

The value chain for augmented reality enriched print medias

Especially in the marketing and communication domains has the use of augmented reality an impact. For the augmented reality enrichment of a printed media like a catalogs or a brochures, in contrast to normal paper media, there are more parties like a 3D agency or an augmented agency involved. How that the value network could be shows the figure below. This figure is created with images from lego.com and in dependence on Santana J. (2010) [8].

Augmented Reality Marketing Value Network
Augmented Reality Marketing Value Network [8]

For the printed media, augmented reality is a chance to combine paper and multimedia contents. Papers with enriched content has an added value for the reader. Also for companies augmented reality advertising is interesting because the augmented media is able to tells much more about a product than a normal poster can do.

But today, augmented reality is not well known by the readers or users of a smart phone. Perhaps in the future, news papers writes only a short management summary and the reader gets his detailed information by scanning the article. It could be, but it do not have to.

[1] Standards for AR with Print: Call for a New Initiative, Ch. Perey, Online Source: http://www.perey.com/ARStandards/Perey-Standards_for_expanding_AR_with_Print.pdf [15.04.2016]
[2] B. Furht (2011), Handbook of Augmented Reality, Springer: New York
[3] A. Mehler-Bicher, L. Steiger (2014), Augmented Reality – Theorie und Praxis, De Gruyter: Oldenburg
[4] BlippAR – Online Source: https://blippar.com/en/ [17.04.2016]
[5] BlippAR Showroom – Online Source: https://blippar.com/en/showroom [17.04.2016]
[6] LayAR – Online Source: https://www.layar.com [17.04.2016]
[7] LayAR Examples – Online Source: https://www.layar.com/features/inspiration [17.04.2016]
[8] J. Santana (2010) Finding the Nexus of Business, Technical and User Needs in Building a Commercially Viable Mobile Augmented Reality (Thesis). Online-Source: http://www.ischool.berkeley.edu/files/student_projects/JSantanaThesis.pdf [17.04.2016]

AR Gaming apps

Augmented Reality Games on personal information systems like smart phones are on the rise. Smart phones games are usually easy to play and they can be played almost everywhere and at every time. One of the first mobile AR game was “ARQuake” [1], a first-person PC shooter game, created in the year 2000 [2]. The game allows the player to walk around in the real world while he plays a game in a computer generated environment. To play the game the player need a GPS system, a standard laptop on a backpack with GPS tracker and orientation sensors and ad least a custom made gun controller [3].

AR Quake Game
AR Quake needs a huge equipment [2]
Perhaps the first augmented reality smart phone game called AR Soccer. The game was available in 2004 and the player has to kick a virtual ball with his real foot into the virtual goal [1]. A game with the name AR Soccer is still available in the today’s app stores (iOS, Android), but it seems that it has not the same kind of game content like the very first version. In the same year, the first multi-user augmented reality game called “Invisible Train” was presented. In that game, players controls virtual trains on real wooden miniature railroad tracks. With their PDA’s, which are connected over Wi-Fi, they saw and steered the virtual trains [4].

Invisible Train
Invisible Train [4]
Combine virtual games with the real world

The major advantages by playing games on mobile devices like smart phones are whose mobility. They can be played anywhere; they can combine the real world with virtual elements. Augmented reality games are not restricted on a TV or PC screen and they can offer a better user experience [5]. Below there are introduced some different kind of up-to-date augmented reality games.

Massively Multiplayer Game: Ingress

Ingress (iOS, Android) is an augmented-reality massively multiplayer online location-based game [6]. The playing field is the world himself. The Ingress Game was developed by Niantic Labs from Google. The first in 2012 released version was only for Android devices, but since mid-2014 it is also in the iTunes App Store available. In the game, the player has to find and to capture “portals”. These portals are real world places like landmarks, monuments, buildings and so on. The player has to go close to these portals, at most only 40 meters away. When the player captured a portal, he can link portals together and earns in that way points for him and his fraction. The other fraction, there are two fractions, the ” Enlightened” and the ” Resistance”, tries to get the portals back. In that way, the player has to walk around, find the portals, capture or defend it, alone or together with other players [7].

Ingress Screenshots

The business model of the Ingress game depends on the one hand on an in-game store, where the players can buy special game items with real money. On the other hand, companies can pay for portals at their location or in-game equipment. These portals or game equipment wear then a company logo and/or the name of the company [6].

Game Apps for Education

Augmented reality apps could give a hand to learn things better. It is possible to enrich texts with supplementary multimedia information like movies, images or links to further knowledge sources. For that, papers and books can contain “markers” that, when scanned with an app on a smart phone or a tablet, shows this additional information [7]. An example of such an app for tablets is the i-Wow Atlas World (iOS, Android). With this app, children get easy additional and fascinating facts to our planet when the scan a globe with the app.

Another example is the app smart phone and tablet app “Quiver” (iOS, Android): With “Quiver” children colors plain pictures of for example animals and with the app they can see the animal in 3D. Children gets with these apps an idea how the animals are living in the real world. The pictures to color for must be purchased, the app himself is free. Without these pictures, the app does not work. An example how it works is demonstrated in the video below.

Another application are simulations which helps to understand things better [7]. A famous and well known kind of simulation and educational app is “SkyView” (iOS, Android). This app helps to spots objects on the sky like stars, galaxies, constellations and other additional facts about astronomy. Apps like this are normally not free to use or includes some advertisings.

Sky View
Screenshot from the SkyView app on a iPhone

Such educational apps can help parents and teachers to help children to learn things easier and in more than one way. The children not only read the facts about a topic, they can also see the objects in 3D and they can play with it. To learn something with the assistance of augmented content is named “Augmented Learning” or “E-Learning” [8][9].

Funny pastime games: Virtual Basketball an Bowmaster AR

Finally, there are also other games for the pastime available. These kind of games usually are not free to play. Either the cost something in the app store or the contains some advertisements.

Virtual Basketball (iOS): For that game, the player need to printout a small marker. To play the game, the smart phone’s camera has to point at that marker and a virtual basketball basket is shown up. Now the player can throw basketballs into the basket to get points. This game is a funny implementation of augmented reality and a very good example of the technology.

Bowmaster Augmented Reality (iOS): The game needs also a printed marker and it works similar to the Virtual Basketball game. Instead of throw balls, in that game the player has to shoot arrows to different targets.

Virtual Basekball and Bowmaster AR
Virtual Basketball and Bowmaster AR

[1] B. Furht (2011), Handbook of Augmented Reality, Springer: New York, Page 103
[2] Origins and Evolution, Augmera – Online Source: http://augmera.com/?p=65 [14.04.2016]
[3]AR Quake, Wikipedia – Online Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARQuake [14.04.2016]
[4] The Invisible Train, Technische Universität Graz – Online -Source: https://studierstube.icg.tugraz.at/invisible_train/ [15.04.2016]
[5] D. Schart, N. Tschanz (2015) Augmented Reality, Praxishandbuch, UVK: Konstanz, Page 32
[6] Ingress (video game), Wikipedia – Online Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingress_(video_game) [14.04.2016]
[7] Ingress: The game that reveals Google’s secret war to control London, The Guardian – Online-Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/04/ingress-the-game-that-reveals-googles-secret-war-to-control-london [14.04.2016]
[7] Augmented Reality – Wikipedia – Online Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality [15.04.2016]
[8] Lernen, Wikipedia – Online-Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lernen#E-Learning_und_Augmented_Learning [15.04.2016]
[9] Augmented learning, Wikipedia – Online Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_learning [15.04.2016]

AR guides us: Navigation and the search for POI’s

One of the first augmented reality apps was ” Wikitude Drive” for Android. This app was available in the Android Marketplace at the end of the year 2010 [1] and displayed the planned route directly into the camera-image. It combines the navigation map data, the actual position with the real world seen through the mobile phone’s camera.

Wikitude Drive App
Wikitude Drive App [2]
This was almost six years ago. Actually the app is not anymore available in the app stores and other navigation apps do not support augmented reality navigation. But the next generation of augmented reality navigation systems will perhaps arrive soon and it could looks like the picture from the company WayRay.com below.

WayRay Navion
WayRay Navion [3]
The company writes at their homepage, that this new navigation system called “Navion” should be released in 2016. The compact “Navion” device, it does not work with a smart phone, is placed on the car’s dashboard. The device projects holographic information onto the road ahead and does not need any additional eyewear [3].

Another actual available augmented reality smart phone app for cars is the app called “iOnRoad” (iOS, Android). The app detects with the mobile phone camera other cars driving in front of you and calculate the distance between the two cars in seconds. If the car is too close, the app warns the driver. The app checks also, if the car drives over an unbroken line and gives a signal. This features can enhance the safety while driving a car [4].

iOnRoad Smart Phone app
iOnRoad smart phone app [4]
Point of interest smart phone apps

But there are not only augmented reality navigation apps available. Apps like  Layar (iOS, Android) or some city travel guides (eTips) displays through the smart phone camera directly interesting places, right where you are. Apps like these two examples can help tourists to find the right locations like shops, restaurants or hotels (POI’s). They often display not only the name of the locations, but also additional information’s like prices or review. The pictures below show a AR project from Hotels.com and Wikitude [5].

Hotels.com – AR search for hotels [5]
Apps like Layar or Hotels.com depends on location-based services (LBS). Location-based services are computer programs that combine location data with additional information’s like point of interests or reviews from other users [6].

The business model of navigation or POI’s apps

Navigation apps, similar apps like iOnRoad or apps for tourists are often not free to use. The user or customer, has to pay for the app or he has to buy some In-App Purchases for the real interesting or additional features.

So the developer’s business model is to develop and to sell the app as much as possible. Includes the app an offline map, the developer has to update the map in regular intervals. The developer is responsible that all online services, like traffic information, has to be available all the time.

For the developer, the use of augmented reality features is not mandatory, but it is a unique selling argument which gives him an advantage over his competitors.

The users benefit is that location-based augmented reality apps connects the real environment with media contents from the internet. The user gets the relevant information for his actual context (time, location, situation). The augmented reality apps combine the real with the virtual world and the user gets information from both sides.

[1] oe24: Erste Augmente Reality Navi-App startet – Online Source [12.04.2016]
[2] Wikitude Navigation – Online Source [12.04.2016]
[3] WayRay Navion – Online Source [12.04.2016]
[4] iOnRoad Smart Phone app – Online Source [10.04.2016]
[5] Wikitude and Hotels.com – Search for Hotels – Online Source [09.04.2016]
[6] D. Schart, N. Tschanz (2015) Augmented Reality, Praxishandbuch, UVK: Konstanz, Page 105