March 13, 2017

Augmented Reality at UniKassel

In November of last year, OnYourMap was asked by the University of Kassel’s Human-Machine Systems Engineering Group to help them work on an indoor navigation app for Epson’s Moverio BT-200 augmented reality (AR) glasses.

The group has been comparing user performance and acceptance of indoor navigation on smartphone vs. AR-glasses, with a view to improving the smart glasses’ indoor navigation app.

UniKassel2

We have been tasked with mapping the building, whose area totals around 80m2 and is spread across two floors, including corridors, stairs and an elevator. The aim is to create an app that provides contact-analogue navigation hints – mostly characterized by arrows in 3D along navigation paths – as well as signs for stairs and the building’s elevator.

The work has been challenging from the get-go. Epson glasses do not support the Bluetooth standard our beacons need, so after deploying them around the site, we had issues maintaining signal stability. This has also caused problems with localization accuracy, particularly in the building’s more confined spaces. As a consequence, the 3D navigation arrows are sometimes displayed inaccurately on the corridor floor, and often slip to the sides or appear to lie on or beyond the walls.

UniKassel1

Our solution was to use a socket connection via a smartphone, which naturally causes some delays in data transfer, but has improved both signal stability and localization accuracy.
Going forward, the group is developing a similar AR app for smartphones, and hope to implement an indoor navigation app for the brand new Microsoft HoloLens. There are many challenges ahead, but we thrive on these experiences, and look forward to bringing the world of AR to as many people as possible.

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