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Nov 24, 2006

Mobile virtual worlds

prompted by Layla Nassary Zadeh, I wanted to understand something more about the possibility of implementing augmented reality on mobile devices. Much to my surprise, this field is more advanced than I expected.

For example, a team of researchers from Nokia's Mobile Augmented Reality Applications (MARA) project has created a prototype phone that makes objects in the real world hyperlink to information on the Internet. Using the phone's built in camera, a user can highlight objects on the mobile phone's LCD and pull in additional information about them from the Internet. Moreover, by altering the orientation of the phone, the display will toggle between live view and satellite map view. In map view, nearby real world objects are highlighted for convenient reference.


The prototype consists of Nokia S60 platform phone and attached external sensor box providing position and orientation information to the phone via a Bluetooth connection

picture of sensor box

This video of downtown Helsinki shows some Virtual Object - associated landmarks, and demonstrates the automatic switching between Augmented Reality mode and Map mode that happens when the user alternates between holding the phone vertically and horizontally.

MARA was demonstrated at the fifth IEEE and ACM International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality in Santa Barbara in October.