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Augmented Reality is described as the integration of virtual reality into the real world. Users utilise mobile devices and other implants to filter out noise, i.e. unwanted information, from their sensory fields. Subsequently new information can be added in their environment including landmarks and alert notifications of different kinds. The primary hardware components that are required for AR are computers, tracking and input devices. A combination of powerful CPU, camera and accelerometers are in-built in today's smartphones and hence become prospective platforms for AR.
Some of the previous projects for AR on Android Mobile Phones are:
(a) Rock'em Sock'em Robots: It is a two-player boxing game that was initially introduced in 1964. It illustrates a fight between two robots. A simple mechanical guide is used to manipulate the players to control their robot. The game is won when one of the robots loses his head. Mattel Inc., one of world largest toy companies, enabled the new generation to experience the Rock'em Sock'em Robots game via AR on an Android mobile phone. Rock'em Sock'em Robots is the first incarnation of a sophisticated AR development system by chipset manufacturers Qualcomm, running on an Android 2.1 handset with a Snapdragon processor (Augmented Reality website). This game was principally developed to demonstrate the potential of this system but is not commercially available.
(b) AR-enhanced books: This has been achieved and has been very successful with recent mobile phones including the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. Each page of a AR-enhanced book is outfitted with a marker and is easily detectable. As each page is turned, the system places a virtual 3D animation on top of the page. This android is very useful and is in direct competition with iPad and Amazon Kindles.
(c) Video games: This is an area which has experienced a major revolution over the past years. Now virtual reality games such as Eyetoy have been developed for mobile phone and allow users to experience a whole new experience.
2. AR on Mobile Phones Built on Adobe Flash Professional CS5
AR on mobiles phones can be built using Adobe Flash Professional CS5, Adobe Flash Player 10, and a webcam. A project is created as the webcam captures the user holding a marker image in an arbitrary position. As the application increases the webcam feed, a 3D model will be seen overlaid onto the marker's position. The Flash Player 10 enables developers to use the most robust toolset to enrich application development as it handles heavy lifting such as video input, pixel-level image manipulation, and the heavy number crunching afforded with ActionScript 3. A few open source libraries in conjunction with Flash CS5 are adequate to create AR on mobiles phones. However, it is worth mentioning that libraries and assets must be prepared before coding a Flash CS5 project. As soon as the project is set up, changes will occur within the document class (Adobe Flash Professional CS5 Review website).
3. Advantages Using Adobe Flash Professional CS5 and Papervision3D.
In the previous Adobe Flash Professional CS4 release, Flash has added support for Inverse Kinematics for the realistic animation of jointed figures. Now with CS5, a physics engine has been added to enable bones to have spring and damping in order to create naturalistic effects including objects wobbling. Furthermore, Flash Professional CS5 has drastically revitalised its technical Deco tool in order to include elements such as buildings, flowers or animated particle effects. Also, the text handling has been updated, with support for Adobe's Text Layout Framework. Advanced typographic control over features such as kerning and tracking can be included. Moreover, Flash Professional offers true threaded text blocks as well as controls over multicolumn layout, inline graphics, indentation and padding. Additionally, Flash Professional CS5 can convert files to native iPhone applications although the Packager for the iPhone component is only used as to preview rather than explore (Adobe Flash Professional CS5 Review website).
On the other hand, Papervision3D, created by FlashMoto developers has an outstanding 3D template. It has an innovative and unique way of presenting images online, in fact a real visual feast to look at this Flash artwork. Furthermore, Papervision3D has an interactive drop down menu that takes website navigation to another dimension. Also, it is possible to as copy effects from one object to another. Papervision3D has a WYSIWYG editor that makes the implementation of AR for android mobile phones pleasant and easy. In addition, there are modules and widgets that are integrated into the control panel to enhance the template with further opportunities (Lively,2010: pp.47-58).
4. Advantages of using Adobe Air 2.5.
Adobe Integrated Runtime commonly referred to as Adobe AIR and developed by Adobe Systems, is a cross-platform runtime environment for building rich Internet applications using Adobe Flash for desktop and mobile applications. Adobe AIR 2.5 recently released (24 October 2010), adds Flash to android applications for mobile phones. Phone staples including accelerometers, multi-touch, and cameras have been made easier to access. New mobile user interface components have been included. Depending on the application and handset, application performance is fine-tuned by 40-60%. Further improvement in performance was due to the "thinning" the number of libraries in AIR. Furthermore, Adobe is working in collaboration with several brands mobile phones to make AIR run well on their hardware. Besides RIM and Samsung, Adobe is hoping to extend its AIR on HTC, Motorola, and Acer systems. In addition, with Adobe AIR 2.5, the same code can be used for desktops, tablets and smart phones. Therefore, it is economic as well as time saving. Also, it offers efficiencies of deployment as apps can be quickly and efficiently distributed through Adobe's application distribution service.
5. Use of Maya to Create 3D Models to Export to Papervision3D.
Maya software offers exceptional value to computer graphics (CG) designers with creative workflow and a wide range of tools for 3D animation, modelling, simulation, visual effects, rendering, match-moving, and compositing on a highly extensible production platform (Park, 2004: pp.59, 62-64). The newly Maya 2011 offers a much revitalised user interface, enhanced viewport interaction, new 3D editorial capabilities, integrated colour management, and improved character animation as well as taking AR to another level (Maya 3D animation and Visual Effect website). Once a 3D object has been created, the 'Collada' converter is used to convert the object to a Digital Asset Exchange (DAE) file. Papervision3D will be able to read the DAE file and load the code. However, it is worth mentioning that Base class name to be exported to Papervision3D has to be the same as the name in the Class path in Maya (Lively, 2010: pp. 212-221).