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Category Archives: Augmented Reality

Roughly two years ago there was big hype around Augmented Reality, the main driving force behind this was the transition from augmented reality being bound to desktop software to the ARToolkit being ported for Flash and therefor able to run in the browser. I jumped on the band wagon and wrote some samples in AS3 using the FLARToolkit which is an as3 port of the ARToolkit and the results were very nice. Thats pretty much where it ended.

In the last couple of weeks I have had more and more request for code that involves augmented reality. Most notably a project involving a wide open space being mapped as an AR maze. The challenge is to have a persistant 3d virtual maze to walk around. I am not sure if it is even possible with the equipment we have here but I have begun testing some ideas.

The video above is the first experiment in a long time involving AR. I wanted to check how well processing would handle the ARToolkit instead of Flash. I used the wrapper class of the NYARtoolkit as a base but I found the adaptation by who has added multiple marker functionality to the library. The end result is a lot slower than i remember AS3 to be but I am loading an .STL file with 97000 triangles. I am using the unlekker library to load the .STL file but I am thinking about using the  OBJLoader library instead because of the texture support.

The .STL was a download from I can’t find the name of the person to credit anymore but the  file is called doneShell.stl



Life writer By Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau.


We are artists working since 1991 on the creation of interactive computer installations for which we design metaphoric, emotional, natural, intuitive and multi-modal interfaces. The interactive experiences we create are situated between art, design, entertainment and edutainment. One of our key concepts is to create interactive artworks that constantly change and evolve and adapt to the users’ interaction input [1]. For several of our interactive systems we have therefore applied Artificial Life and Complex Systems principles and used genetic programming to create open-ended systems that can evolve and develop over time through user interaction.









For the last 2-3 months in the corner of my office a project has been slowly growing as bits and pieces ordered have been arriving sporadically from Ebay’s global sellers. finally, this morning I found an hour or two at work in order to make a concerted effort to get everything pieced together so that I could test that the project would work. The video above is a proof of concept for my first attempt at making an frustrated internal reflection touch screen table (FTIR). The theory is simple; FTIR works by shining infra red light into the sides of a sheet of acrylic so that it internally reflects around the inside of the acrylic. Internal reflection continues until something on the surface of the acrylic sheet disturbs the internal reflection and deflects the infra red out of the acrylic and allows an infra camera (bodged web cam) to spot the infra red thus detecting where the object is on the surface of the table. There are 100’s of articles on line about FTIR, all of them more concise and worded better.

As a first run I am very pleased with the results. Obviously There is still a lot to be done. I need to work on the rear projection surface and what is called a compliant suface between the acrylic and projection surface. The good news from todays experimenting is that i know it works.

A video from the applied science department at Microsoft. The video explains some future technologies into stereoscopic and tangible interface.
“What is the next step after touch screen?”

My favorite part is the use of directional light to allow 2 different images to be seen from the same screen.

found at

Try to keep up! The statement I have been telling myself a lot recently. The shift to HTML5 and CSS3 has left me scrambling for browser support comparisons and video encoding specifications. Web technologies like tectonic plates are shifting, some struggling to find their place while others are emerging powerful with claims of modularity and future proofing. All this change has rekindled my love for web development but there have been a couple of changes that I really want to shout about so here it goes:

Starting with the most obvious first – jQuery

This JavaScript library is an awesome alternative to the Flash based websites of the past. Don’t get me wrong I am addicted to AS3 and spend a lot of time tinkering with FLAR Toolkit (Flash augmented reality), Papervision 3d and APE (Actionscript physics engine) but the idea of having to install a third party plug-in to view a standard web page seems a little outdated. jQuery is a very capable library allowing tweening, DOM manipulation (Document object model) and AJAX capabilities all in an easy simple to implement package. I am not convinced that Flash will be run out-of-town by this JavaScript alternative, instead the technologies will settle in their own rightful places.

I love the power and ease of use that the java framework provides so I was excited to hear that an evolution of this framework has been developed, again utilizing the power of JavaScript. is a port of processing that runs within the browser without having to install a third-party plug-in (Are you starting to notice a pattern here?) The port has most of the important features of its parent and renders them within the HTML5 canvas tag. I have not had time to experiment with but if it’s as addictive as processing is then my schedule is about to be ruined. This is also a good example of why the move from HTML4 to HTML 5 was so important.

The last few changes that I find interesting are still based around the wonders of JavaScript but this time focusing on mobile technologies. If you have experience with jQuery then you will probably enjoy using jQtouch. The official site describes jQtouch as a “jQuery plugin for mobile web development on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and other forward-thinking devices.” I presume by forward thinking devices they mean other touch screen equivalents to the iPhone. This plug-in allows a developer to emulate a lot of the UI style and functionality of the iPhone within their mobile website. This means that a developer can bypass the rigmarole of getting that app accepted and published in the app store as long as they don’t mind it being run in the browser of the phone instead of installed on the phone itself.

Last but not least I want to talk about PhoneGap. PhoneGap allows you to write apps for many different smart-phones using HTML and JavaScript. I recently spent some time experimenting with the iPhone SDK and learning a bit about xCode (from what I can see xCode is another name for objective C.) The process is very bloated and slow, probably due to my lack of experience in objective C. There are a lot of well written tutorials around though so eventually I managed to get a couple of apps running reasonably well. This being said at the time I had not heard of phoneGap but if I had then I probably would have achieved my end goal in half the time. Not to mention the fact the finish article could have been exported for not just the iPhone but also Android, Symbian and Blackberry phones. What a breath of fresh air.

The underlying theme here is most definitely that 2010 is a good year for JavaScript. There are still some issues with browser compatibility and these are mainly down to Internet Explorer none the less I am excited to see what else can be achieved with a language that has been built into browsers ever since Netscape in 1995.

Above is one of my Favorite examples I have seen so far of augmented reality. It was coded by Saqoosha who I am very thankful to as he was one of my main sources of information and documentation for the FLARToolkit.

The last two days I have spent bashing about with the FLARToolkit for AS3. Its very addictive and there are some very good example online. In the end I produced some working examples by mixing the examples given by Mikko Haapoja and into one AS3 file. I can’t wait to see where these experiments will take me and i hopefully post them up here soon.

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