Mobile solution for Design Dog Park

Kirjoitettu toukokuu 31, 2012 klo 19:29, kirjoittaja artova

I come from a background of working on various types of projects at Metropolia, creating websites for the school’s WebTV show, to working with Espoo City museum to create a visual interface to run with one of their exhibitions. I’ve also done a lot of experimentation with 3D graphics, and have run a small business in the virtual world of Second Life under the alias Matti Deigan.

While looking for a final year thesis I bumped into the Artova Design Dog Park project. It sounded something unique to me and something worth being a thesis topic.
Augmented Reality is an overlay of the virtual onto physical. It is something I wished to explore, and further in the future. Originally, the intention of this project was to create a mobile augmented reality of the design in the park using Layar service platform, allowing users from multiple different mobile devices to see what the park may have looked like.

The Start

I got off to a really good start and worked on the backend required for Layar in PHP. However, work slowed nearly to a halt, as I sat idle while waiting specifications on park to create its 3D models. During this down time I decided to do a lot of experimentation with the Layar Vision subservice. There were a couple of warning flags during initial experimentation, such as models not being visible beyond 20 virtual meters. I took these issues to note, as initially I thought these to be software issues with the Layar service. I did eventually get the specifications, and I modeled the park using Blender.

Fortunately I did do the experimentation, as after months of experimentation I had to conclude that as it is currently, the problems with the 20 m hard limit was most likely a set feature, as the Layar Vision service is intended for the print medium. But I had only 3 weeks’ time to write my first draft of my thesis, and I did not have much to work on as this issue made my previous work moot. The timing of these weren’t that great either as I start doing a nearly full time job elsewhere on May, as I was supposed to be done with the thesis by my own schedule.

Breakneck change

In a drastic turn of events, I ended up writing a Virtual World alternative to the Augmented Reality prototype using Unity 3D Game engine. Fortunately it was not difficult to convert the 3D models, I had already created. Within 2 days I had the prototype done and spent the next week bug fixing, and by May 17 I had demonstrated this prototype to my instructor and client.
I still had to rewrite my thesis, and had 2 weeks remaining. But the break neck change in pace and direction took its toll, as I ended up being bedridden for nearly an entire week. Due to this I was unable meet the deadline for my draft of thesis, having only a week left. Alas, the deadline for my write ups have been moved to fall.
But the project still goes on, regardless of the changes to my academic schedule. One of the side products from the leap from augmented reality to the virtual was the fact that there is now a prototype which works on your computer or mac through Flash.

You can try it here

Unfortunately the change also limited the range in mobile devices, as I do not access to a mac that has a license for developing onto iOS (iPad and iPhone). As it is currently, the application can only be deployed on Android 2.2 and higher, and has only been tested on the higher end devices.

You will need to have 3rd party software enabled on your android for it to work for now;
You can try the software on android from here

It will be available from Google Play on a later date.

Matti Lahtinen