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The Art of Living in Angers in augmented reality
At Playmoweb, we like to experiment with new technologies in order to offer them to our custom software development. In this article, I will introduce you to augmented reality and the use that we have made of it in the Vivre à Angers application . But first, let's take a look at this technology.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality refers to a virtual interface, in 2D or 3D, which enriches reality by superimposing additional information such as sound, images or text.
The technology works through a system that films the real world and in real time embeds virtual objects, animations, texts, data, sounds, which the user sees from the screen. This system can be a smartphone, a touchscreen tablet, glasses, etc.
The synchronization of the real world and virtual information, which is extremely important, is done using geolocation and on-board sensors (accelerometer, gyroscopes, etc.) which locate the user in relation to his environment and adapt the display to function.
In recent years, we have seen a strong interest in this technology. Many areas such as video games, mobile development, cinema and television (post-production, virtual studios, sports broadcasts, etc.), industries (conception, design, maintenance, assembly, etc.) or the medical field use it. . We can cite a few examples.
Technology on iOS & Android
On Android, Google has been providing developers with the SDK (Development Kit) called ARCore since 2018. This SDK makes it possible to manage the detection of shots in the real environment by locating a cloud of fixed points on each image, with the aim of to calculate the position of the mobile in space.
This technology allows developers to build applications capable of understanding the user's real environment for software company, and capable of adding 3D objects and information to it. ARCore does have some limitations in terms of compatibility, however. Indeed, even if the list of phones compatible with this SDK continues to grow over time, we notice on their website that the list does not represent the majority of phones circulating in the world.
On iOS, Apple provides an SDK called ARKit in the same way as Google. Available since 2019, ARKit is compatible with a large number of iPhones unlike ARCore. Indeed, the oldest compatible iPhone is the iPhone SE which dates from 2020.
An augmented reality module in Living in Angers
On the occasion of the new year 2020, the town hall of Angers has decided to make the greeting cards interactive, but also to be able to use this augmented reality on the fresco at St Laud d'Angers station. This augmented reality consists of animating the “ANGERS” contained in the fresco or in the greeting cards.
First of all, here is the fresco to “increase”:
In order to apply augmented reality to this fresco, you must first indicate to ARKit a marker. This will determine when the it application development should execute the code and thus animate the fresco. This marker is an important point not to be overlooked in order to correctly detect the fresco. This is particularly the case for the fresco of the station because depending on the schedule during the day, the brightness is not at all the same, some parts are less visible than others. We must therefore find a part of the fresco that will allow us to carry out the most effective detection possible.
In the case of Apple, advice is given to us concerning the marker:
1. Enter the physical size of the image in Xcode as precisely as possible. ARKit uses this information to determine the distance of the image from the camera.
2. When adding reference images in Xcode, pay attention to the quality rating warnings. High contrast images are the most effective for image detection.
3Examine how your image appears under different lighting conditions. If an image is printed on glossy paper or displayed on the screen of a device, reflections from these surfaces may interfere with detection.
We therefore carried out many tests before finding the good part of the image acting as a marker, here is the result:
Secondly, a 3D model using the design of the fresco was created. The aim of this model is to take the “ANGERS” of the fresco and dress it with flowers, plants and insects. For this we called on a 3D modeler who created this animated model and which we were able to integrate on each platform.
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