I started playing a little bit with Augmented Reality tonight. Perhaps it is more like augmented virtual reality. I was mainly playing with ARtag. I don’t have a webcam to play with at the moment, so I decided to see what I could do with virtual worlds. Thankfully, a program from ARTag had some sample patterns that I could upload, as well as a program to read images besides video camers and then Augment Reality to display a computer generated image.
I had quite a few problems getting the image to work. I had to save it as a portable gray map (PGM). Adobe Photoshop was saving it, but the program couldn’t understand it. I found a plug-in from Richard Rosenman filters to import and export PGM files that did the trick.
I found that image with multiple patterns caused problems, as well as images that were too large. I found that the format that caused the least amount of problems was 640×480, and removed all patterns from the scene.
The augmented reality showed an image of myself in-world standing behind a giant floating fish. Everything was gray except for the fish. I think tomorrow I may dig up an old USB camera to see if I can get a video of it in color. It may be possible that I can use the VH Screen Capture driver to capture my desktop directly.
With the plug-in archtecture that the Second Life Viewer 2.0 is going to expose, I am curious if we can add in plug-ins to augment virtual reality. That is to say, you can see a museum with tags all over it, but with the plug-in, you would see very complex and detailed sculptures. The museum on it’s own would only need a few prims since everything is represented through the tags. A 512 parcel can then have a rich environment that appears to go well beyond 117 primitives that a parcel of that size supports through Augmented Reality.