ARK and Augmented Reality

Recently I have been working away in the Unity gaming engine using it to make some Augmented Reality applications for the iPhone and iPad. It is surprisingly successful and with at least 3 different ways of getting 3D content to overlay on the iOS video feed (Qualcomm, StringAR and UART) the workflow is more open than ever. I have been attempting to load 3D content at runtime, so that dynamic situations can be created as a result of user interaction – rather than having to have all of the resources (3D models, etc.) pre-loaded into the app. This not only saves on file size of the app, it also means that the app can pull real-time information and data that can be changed by many people at once. However, in order to do that I needed some kind of back-end database…

For those of you that know me, you will know that as well as doing my PhD I work on the development of the open-source archaeological database system known as the Archaeological Recording Kit (ARK). It seemed like a logical step to combine these two projects and use ARK as the back-end database. So that is what I went and did and at the same time created a rudimentary AR interface to ARK. The preliminary results can be seen in the video below:

This example uses the Qualcomm AR API, and ARK v1.0. Obviously at the moment it is marker-based AR (or at least image recognition based), the next task is to incorporate the iDevices’ gyroscope to enable the AR experience to continue even when the QR code is not visible.

    • Shawn
    • September 13th, 2011 2:52pm

    Hey Steve,
    I’m teaching a class next winter on AR for public history. Was wondering if I could find out more about your workflow.


  1. This is brilliant real minroity report stuff. the only stumbling block to the uptake of this in a retail setting is (as is always the case with new technology) not it’s viability but it’s cost and required alteration to existing mindsets. There’s no technological reason why we shouldn’t be on Mars by now, we just lack the political will and finance. I suspect the early adopters of augmented reality (like many other technologies) will likely be the military. You can never get enough information in order to kill your fellow beings more efficiently!