Integration of an Augmented Reality module within the WAY-Cyberpark app

Roberto Pierdicca
March 13th to 20th, 2016

Latest improvements on mobile devices functionalities are changing the way people interact with their surrounding environments. Current handheld devices are able to sense the space around user’s location, enabling improved experiences through digital services. This implies that people living an outdoor public space cannot avoid the use of localization tools to discover and live it in the best way. One of these tools is Augmented Reality (AR), a cutting-edge technology that has the capability of changing users’ point of view of the surroundings. However, even if location-based services are becoming more and more powerful, some limitations still prevent AR from becoming a widespread instrument, even if it is able to offer way finding services, contextual awareness and learning experiences at the same time.

Given the above, the main purpose of the Short Term Scientific Mission (STMS), reported in this document, was to investigate over the existing WAY-Cyberparks digital tool (developed by DeustoTech institute at the University of Deusto) and to attempt an improvement, especially for the AR functions. To validate the real performances, a case study was designed, specifically developed to represent a learning experience, during the iCiTy 2016 conference in La Valletta city, Malta. Two strategic points of the city were chose, to whom of which were uploaded to the web service several Points of Interests (POIs) to be discovered by the user during the learning experience. To achieve the expected results, a preparatory work of content development and design was performed prior the mission, in cooperation with another STSM performed by Dr. Philip Bonanno at the Università Politecnica delle Marche. The testing phase has been useful to investigate about the potential of the tools and weakness points, solved during this mission. The second task, carried out during the mission and here reported, was to explore in deep the 3D model visualization functionality, yet implemented, which offer the possibility for the user to visualize in AR mode 3D models as if they really exist in the scene. Although the visualization was still implemented, the need to investigate this function lies in the several problems that a developer face when dealing with complex geometries. Taking into account this aspect, an attempt to achieve a pre- defined workflow was performed, in order to clarify the procedure of design, upload, manage and visualize the models in the best way. This useful cooperation between developers and designers proved to be fruitful for the usability enhancement of the existing platform.