The question of placing an augmented reality model is an important part of the user experience. The HoloLens has the ability to scan its environment. This is a real advantage for professionals using augmented reality applications, but comes at a significant cost. Furthermore, it still needs to improve in certain areas such as the weight of the glasses and their battery life. On the other hand, ARKit and ARCore show real progress. Unfortunately for the moment only high-end and expensive smartphones offer a simple augmented reality experience without needing to track the 3D model.
Visualizing large models in augmented reality
I’d like to share my recent experience with a simple tracking sheet and an augmented reality Android application. Android tablets are fine for picturing objects of average size, like a fridge, photocopier or sofa. The entire object can fit on the screen of the tablet if you step back 2 or 3 meters. The camera of the tablet even maintains a link with the tag. On the other hand, for a large form, especially in an industrial environment, the distance necessary to have an overview can reach or exceed ten meters. Consequently using an augmented reality application on a tablet in the manufacturing industry forces us to tackle some new questions.
Samsung Tab S3 and Vuforia, a powerful combination for augmented reality
I tested a large 3D model (3m x 3m) with the augmented reality application developed by the Oreka teams. At first glance, I was skeptical that I would be able to place the tablet 10 meters away from a sheet on the ground. However, after positioning the shape, I was able to get an entire view from 10 meters back. The robot remained visible without any difficulty or additional manipulation. Similarly, I raised the tablet and was able to target the top of the robot, 3 meters high, without losing the positioning.
A video of this augmented reality usage is available: Augmented Reality tracking with Tab
Augmented reality application: tablet or HoloLens?
Certainly, the HoloLens 3D tracking provides a comfortable user experience. Once the model in augmented reality is positioned, we don’t need to worry about keeping it in place or losing view. So users are totally free to move or turn their heads. The model will always remain in place. With a tablet, on the other hand, losing the visual means having to start the positioning process all over again. But the difference in cost, simplicity in the user experience, and the continuous improvements on Android technology are real benefits. So choosing the right augmented reality depends on a thoughtful prioritization of needs. Furthermore, if your developer in augmented reality pushes the power of tracking, the possibilities are endless.
In other words, it is important to carefully define your specific augmented reality needs before developing on a particular platform. In the end, remember that augmented reality is still in its very early stages. The answer will often be a compromise of various solutions, each having positive and negative aspects.
To delve a little deeper into this subject, I will soon test our augmented reality product catalog with Epson Moverio augmented reality glasses …. To be continued !