Augmented Reality is the overlay of digital content and information on top of the real world. It enhances the view of our surroundings and helps us understand our environment using state-of-the-art technology. The digital overlay of AR is seen through phone cameras using various trigger mechanisms.
Location-based augmented reality shows augmented reality content that is attached to a specific location. This location can be outdoors or indoors.
Outdoor location-based Augmented Reality
Outdoor location-based augmented reality shows augmented reality content triggered by a specific GPS location.
In order for GPS location-based augmented reality apps to work, a user’s phone needs to have the GPS(location) option turned on.
GPS accuracy is affected by a number of factors, including satellite positions, radio signal noise, atmospheric conditions, and natural barriers to the signal. Noise can create an error between 1 to 10 meters and results from static or interference from something near the receiver or something on the same frequency. Objects such as mountains or buildings between the satellite and the receiver can also produce errors, sometimes up to 30 meters. Therefore, a more accurate user position is shown when the user stands on an open field instead in a city surrounded by buildings.
Indoor location-based Augmented Reality
GPS location is not suitable for indoor usage since the use case quite often requires an accuracy of less than 10m. Therefore, we offer two different indoor location-based augmented reality solutions.
The position inside a building can be determined through the use of a Bluetooth Beacon (iBeacon). Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology enables the use of batteries for months, without having to resort to external power supplies. This means that temporary installations, such as exhibitions, can also be realized in unusual locations. Inside enclosed buildings, the position can be pinpointed to within a few meters.
The utilization of the internal sensors of a smartphone also plays an important role in indoor positioning and indoor navigation. A variety of sensors in a mobile device (smartphone) are used and evaluated: 3G/4G/5G, magnetic fields, compass, barometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope. Positioning can be significantly improved through the unique combination of these technologies with other options for navigation inside enclosed buildings.
An AR trigger or ‘marker’ will bring up AR content on a devices screen when it is scanned.
An AR marker can be any 2D image, company logo, symbol, or even a simple QR code.
But for the ‘marker’ to work successfully, it should have the following characteristics:
The marker should:
have rich details
be rigid, not flexible
be matte, not glossy
The marker should NOT:
have large portions of blank areas
contain mainly text or text only
only contain graphics that look the same in any orientation, such as the shape of a circle
only contain graphics with repetitive patterns
Marker physical size
The recommended marker size varies based on the actual target rating and the distance to the physical image target.
A physical printed marker should be at least 3 cm in width and of a reasonable height for a good augmented reality experience.
Consider increasing the size of your marker if the distance of the marker is greater.
You can estimate the minimum size your marker should be by dividing your camera-to-marker distance by approximately 10.
For instance, a 20 cm wide marker would be detectable up to a distance of about 2 meters (20 cm x 10). Note, however, that this is just a rough indication. The actual working distance/size ratio can vary based on lighting conditions, camera focus, and marker rating.
The lighting conditions in your test environment can significantly affect marker detection and tracking.
Make sure that there is enough light in your room or operating environment so that the scene details and marker features are well visible in the camera view. Markers should be viewed in moderately bright and diffused lighting. The surfaces of the object should be evenly lit. Indoor scenes generally work well.
If your application use case and scenarios require operating in dark environments, we recommend using the option of enabling the device Flash torch (if your device has one).
Printed marker – flatness
The quality of detecting the marker can degrade significantly when the printed markers are not flat. When designing the physical printouts, game boards, and play pieces, try to ensure that the markers do not bend, coil up, and are not creased or wrinkled.
Printed marker – glossiness
Printouts from modern laser printers might also be glossy. In ambient lighting conditions, a glossy surface is not a problem. But certain angles and light sources, such as a lamp, window, or the sun, can create a glossy reflection that covers up large parts of the original texture of the printout. The reflection can create issues with tracking and detection, since this problem is very similar to partially covering up the marker.
The marker features will be harder to detect and tracking will be less stable if you are looking at the marker from a very steep angle, or your marker appears very oblique in regards to the camera. When defining your use scenarios, keep in mind that a marker facing the camera and well aligned with the camera viewing direction will have a better chance to get detected and tracked.
Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world, depending on the environment. That environment can be a 360° photo or video of a real place taken anywhere in the world, or a realistic 3D-generated virtual world. The VR environment is immersive for the user because it often feels like you are actually there.
A Head Mounted Display (HMD) or Virtual Reality device is something you can use to ‘enter’ and experience the virtual world. The level of immersion depends on what device you are using.
Virtual Reality devices can be classified into three categories:
Mobile-based VR is the least expensive option to get into the virtual world, and it offers the lowest level of immersion.
It usually consists of cardboard (Google cardboard type) or plastic VR goggles. The price of these devices ranges from as low as €1 (unbranded cardboard glasses) to €130 (Samsung GearVR with controllers).
PC-based VR offers some of the most immersive VR experiences out there. However, it requires a high-end ‘VR ready’ PC.
We fully support the following most popular PC-based VR headset devices:
HTC Vive Pro
Oculus Rift S
Standalone VR presents a new generation of VR devices that are independent of a PC and are much easier to handle.
Standalone VR devices offer the most immersive experience possible. Recent (May 2020) updates to some devices even have the option of hand tracking directly from the device, offering an even better immersive experience in virtual worlds!
We support a wide range of these devices, but will single out the most popular Standalone VR devices:
Serious games are special video games that are designed for a purpose beyond pure entertainment. They are used in diverse professional contexts such as training, assessment, recruitment, knowledge management, education, innovation, and scientific research.
Serious games engage users in order to convey a professional message in an entertaining way.
These games use the motivation parts of game design (collaboration, curiosity, competition, individual challenge), game media, avatars and 3D immersion. The aim of serious gaming is to motivate participants to engage in dull or complex tasks.
Serious games involve goals beyond entertainment and tools such as story, art, and software. They can be classified into games which promote gamification principles in various industries and games for educational purposes.
For example, serious games focus on behavior changes in industries such as healthcare, marketing, and business. In terms of education, serious games can help users inform, memorize, and learn new material, train each other, and develop skills in all aspects of education.
Regardless of whether the games are used with the aim of developing a business brand or for education, they are created to engage, stimulate and reward users.
There are two types of skills a serious game may help develop: soft skills and hard skills.
Hard skills include technical or administrative procedures that are valuable to the way the company operates. They are relatively easy to learn because these skills tend to be new to the player/learner (depending on their experience) and are difficult to unlearn. Hard skills are easy to measure and quantify and easy to test. A person either knows how to do something, or they don’t.
Soft skills are the tricky part. They include skills that can be used in any number of jobs and disciplines, such as emotional intelligence, creativity, collaboration skills, negotiation skills, and more. They’re not so easy to observe or test and are a lot more difficult to train.