Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Written Proposal - Interactive Project

Project name
Team Members and Roles
            Overview of the interactive project
            Overview of the target audience
            Description of the challenges and actions the project will deliver
            Understanding the technology in use
            Development sketches/artwork
            Storyboard demonstrating how the target audience will use this device
            Diagrams clearly detailing the interaction required by the user
            Research regarding the Cathedral space
            Research regarding the technology in use
            Research regarding similar interactive exhibits
            Market research – target platform
            Commercial viability

Project Name:Augminster
Group Members: Joshua Harrington-Lunt, Rika Iijima,  Orsi Hegedus
To tackle this written proposal we agreed as a team to split up the required elements of the proposal. The introduction, understanding the technology in use, demonstrating how the target audience would use the device, diagrams detailing the interaction required by the user, research regarding technology in use, and development sketchesand artwork was completed by Joshua. Overview of the interactive project, description of the challenges and actions, research for the 3D model, research regarding similar exhibits was done by Orsi. And finally, Rika completed the overview of the target audience, research regarding the Cathedral space, research regarding target audience and commercial viability.
Augminster’s Team Roles
For this project Rikawill be designing the Old Minster 3D model. Orsi will be researching about the target audience and contributing to the 3D model. And Josh will develop the augmented reality software and tags to make it work with the 3d model.
For this interactive experience project we have to design and develop an interactive exhibit that displays information to a target audience at the Winchester Cathedral. The exhibit should be interactive and make the visitors experience more exciting with the help of new technologies. To deliver information about the Cathedral to our target audience of Foreign Visitors, we decided more visual information over written or spoken text would be the best route to take. So with the help of Augmented Reality and 3D technology we are recreating what the Old Minster cathedral that was demolished in 1093 would have looked like. Then with the use of Augmented Reality visitors can get hands on interactive visual experience with the 3D model, which is ideal for our target audience as hearing stories from tour guides might be an issue for them if English is not their preferred language.

Overview of the interactive project
In our third project we were given the opportunity to explore interactive systems which are being used for displaying information and ideas to an audience.
We were divided in teams of three to design and develop a scheme that will offer visitors of Winchester Cathedral an exciting experience. The purpose of this interactive exhibit is to really add to the people’s understanding, so they can not only look at it but they can be part of it too.
The requirement of this project is to push the boundaries of the way in which the content is delivered, technically and physically as well. This means that we had to come up with software and a hardware which is not commonly used for exhibits, especially not in historical or religious buildings.
Each team was given a target audience which are the following:
  1. Young People
  2. School Parties
  3. Foreign Tourists
  4. People with Disabilities

It is important that these target audiences should be able to interact with the exhibits, accordingly we have to make it appealing and interesting to them. Our group understands that the way the information is delivered is as significant as the information itself and the way in which people engage with it at their own speed and in their own sequence.
This project demanded from us to research the target audience (Foreign Tourists), their specific needs and interests in relation to the Cathedral, also the technology platform that we selected.
The experience of the Cathedral needs to meet a lot of demands:
  • it has to be informative
  • it has to highlight important aspects of the building’s history and architecture relevant to different locations throughout the Cathedral
  • has to allow the audience to interrogate aspects of the Cathedral history, architecture and function using an accessible system
  • employ a technology system that is easy, safe and interesting to use, but also which is easy to maintain and is secure
  • The system has to be easy to update and alter and inexpensive to maintain.

We had the chance to choose ourselves the platform in which the information is stored and delivered. We had to consider a wide range of options in order to suit the needs of our application. Finally we decided to choose AR (Augmented Reality) for showing the Old Minster Anglo-Saxon Cathedral, originally founded in 642.

Target Audience
Our target audiences are foreign tourists. Many foreign tourists as well as tourists from England visit
Winchester because Winchester is well-known as a historic cathedral city and an ancient capital city of England. And also, Winchester has won the gold awards in the national Tourist Information Service of the year category at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence twice in 2006 and 2011 (Visit Winchester, 2011).
According to the survey of VisitEngland in 2010, there were 25.4 million inbound visits to England in 2009 and 56% of them were interested in visiting castles and churches. The results of this survey show that shopping and Pub-going remain perennial favourites, but also underline the importance of culture and heritage, particularly for leisure visitors.
Therefore, to show the Old Minster using augmented reality must be fascinating to foreign tourists as well as tourists from England.  

Description of the challenges and actions the project will deliver (interactive elements)
The Interactive Project is a very complex work, which raised a number of challenges for us.
The primary defiance was to push the boundaries of the way in which the information would be delivered, technically and physically as well.
After doing a research on the Cathedral we found out that according to historians’ knowledge there is no picture or drawing about how the Old Minster Cathedral really looked like. Therefore our system would have a benefit, visitors wouldn’t have to rely on their imagination, instead our exhibit would show a 3D remodelling about how it probably looked like. The system which we named Augminster would bring users experience to life, instead of hearing stories about the building from the tour guides, people could rotate, tilt and view Old Minster Cathedral any way they want to, simply by rotating the AR tag. Besides 3D model at the side of the display monitor would be information too. There would be also the option to translate it for those whose main language isn’t English or who don’t speak English. 
Because there are two foreigners in our group, we could look at the problems from a foreign tourist’s point of view. People come to see the Cathedral from different parts of the world, this means their language, culture and faith may differ, some might interpret the information otherwise than an English would. To defeat this obstacle we decided to rather use visual elements (the 3D model) and to make it more easy, we decided to add an option to it where the information would be translated to the preferred language.
Another problem we had to confront was that the Cathedral asked us to take in consideration that people who visit the place should not be distracted by the hardware. Since Augminster would reveal a 3D reconstruction, this problem would not arise.
When we visited the Cathedral we saw that people from all age groups come to see it, so we had to take his in consideration too. Our group settled that Augminster has to be accessible, intuitive and easy to use even for those who might not have too much experience. With the help of our system visitors could look at the Old Minster by simply just rotating the AR tag. The information provided supplementary would be easy to understand too, but if not there would be the option to translate it.
In the project’s brief it was stated that Augminster has to be appealing and interesting, so we had to think of something that would instantly attract people. Because the Old Minster doesn’t exist anymore in its original shape, the 3D model would arise curiosity amongst visitors.
We are aware that the Cathedral is a listed building and no alterations or attachments can be made without the permission of the English Heritage and in some instances the Home secretary. This means we had to find hardware that needs not to be attached and which doesn’t change the building’s looks.
Also we had to take in consideration that the content needs to follow all legal, ethical and health and safety guidelines. The main technology behind our exhibit is AR which allows a camera/ webcam to recognise tags on a surface (paper), the software then generates an image over the tag which is displayed on the monitor. The computer system, which in our case would be a laptop, would be hidden away. There would be a monitor with a webcam mounted at the bottom pointing to a small surface underneath with the AR tag on it.
Due to the fact that our exhibit would be about the history of the Old Minster Cathedral, there is no need to change any information, therefore it wouldn’t require updating. In case some changes would still have to be made to the 3D model that would be stored on file and would just have to be edited, and then reloaded to the AR software. The system itself would be easy to maintain, people working at the Cathedral would just have to turn the computer on and off, start the AR software before use. Thanks to this, noises wouldn’t affect the atmosphere either, because laptop don’t make any or much and they generate very little heat.

Understanding the technology in use
The technology used for our Winchester Cathedral exhibit is Augmented Reality. This is essentially a technology that uses video tracking to calculate a cameras real time position against a printed tag which will overlay an image on screen, in our case a 3D model of the Old Minster. The way it works is that we’ll develop the augmented reality software to look using a webcam for a visual tag. This tag will be a few black squares positioned together on a small piece of paper, and then once the tag has been recognised, the software will overlay a 3D model of the Old Minster onto the piece of paper. So to the naked eye it just looks like a bit of paper, but by looking at the monitor in front of you, you’ll see a 3D model on screen. The software once locked onto the tag can recognise rotations or tilts of the paper and will adjust the model accordingly, giving the users a truly interactive experience that couldn’t be achieved from just a picture or even a video of the Old Minster.

Development sketches
Below is a sketch of the Augmented Reality tag that the software will recognise. This tag will be printed onto a piece of laminated card for the exhibit to stop the edges curling up and dirty finger prints getting over it. The size of it will be 7cmx7cm, this fits easily into hands of adults and children.

Below is a sketch of the exhibit stand. You can see the technology on show is a monitor that would be screwed down for safety, a webcam mounted underneath the monitor pointing down to the surface below where the AR Tag is. A webcam with built in LED’s may be used to light up the Tag, depending on lighting conditions. The exhibit is on a stand that has a locked cupboard below, this is to store the laptop which is connected to the monitor and webcam, there will also be spare AR Tags stored in there too in case it happens to go missing. All cables are hidden from the viewer’s angel and feed neatly into the cabinet below. The cabinet would be covered in a cloth which also acts as a sign at the front to attract visitors to the exhibit, which hides the cabinet doors too. The main content area of the screen is the taken up with the 3D model; however down the side will be information about the Old Minster Cathedral which cycles through in different languages.

Storyboard demonstrating how the target audience will use the device
Szövegdoboz: 2. The user should then hold the Tag in front of the webcamOur exhibit is very easy to interactive with, you just have to simply pick up the AR Tag and keep it in view of the webcam, and the software will then recognise the orientation of the tag and adjust the 3D model on screen accordingly.
1.       The user must first pick up the AR Tag
Szövegdoboz: 3. They could then try rotating the Tag to rotate 
the 3Dmodel on screen
4. They could then try tilting the Tag to get a different view point on the 3D model

Diagrams clearly detailing the interaction required of the user
The user interactions required for this exhibit is simply to rotate or tilt the AR Tag.

Cathedral Space
The Old Minster was demolished in 1093, and now only the outline of the Old Minster’s foundation has been left in the churchyard adjoining the Winchester cathedral. As mentioned below, there is an area that the Old Minster and the Winchester Cathedral are overlapped.
We think that the area which is near the entrance is the best place to show visitors our idea.

Research regarding technology in use
Augmented reality is a technology that although has been around for a few years now, hasn’t really caught on just yet, but it is definitely growing with more and more people starting to experiment with it. Recently there have been a few mobile applications created that use augmented reality to guide you or show you information of what is around you by recognising where you are and what you’re looking at through the phones camera. Apps that have become quite popular are:
·         Wikitude – this app points you to Wikipedia entries that are related to what you’re looking at.
·         C:\Users\Josh\Documents\Uni\interactive\golfscape-gps-rangefinder-is-everything-augmented-reality-is-supposed-to-be.jpgGolfscape GPS Rangefinder – this app uses GPS to know which golf course you are at, then uses the iPhones camera to point out bunkers, how far to the hole, and even what club to use. 
·         ARSoccer – this app uses the phones camera to recognise feet, and overlays a football on screen, allowing you to try and do keepy ups with the ball to see how many you can do.
To develop the augmented reality software there are few toolkits available, most of which are open source. The most popular toolkits are ARToolkit, FLARToolkit and osgART, they all allow people to develop just in a different way. For example FLARToolkit uses Flash and ActionScript3 to develop AR, but is best for 2d augmented reality such as text overlays, which is not what we are after for this project. ARToolkit was the original toolkit released in 2004; it is basically a toolkit that can be implemented with built software to enable viewpoint tracking and virtual object interaction. Then osgART is a C++ cross platform toolkit that incorporates ARToolkit and a couple other vision tracking libraries with the 3D graphics library of OpenSceneGraph. This will most likely be the toolkit we use because of the 3D software incorporation into the toolkit.

Research for 3D model
After some research we found out the following about the Old Minster:
“The cathedral was originally founded in 642 on an immediately adjoining site to the north. This building became known as the Old Minster. It became part of a monastic settlement in 971. Saint Swithun was buried near the Old Minster and then in it, before being moved to the new Norman cathedral. So-called mortuary chests said to contain the remains of Saxon kings such as King Eadwig of England, first buried in the Old Minster, and his wife Ælfgifu, are also housed in the present cathedral.  The Old Minster was demolished in 1093.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1079 under bishop Walkelin and, in April 1903, in the presence of nearly all the bishops and abbots of England, the monks removed from the Saxon cathedral church of the Old Minster to the new one to mark its completion. The earliest part of the present building is the crypt, which dates from that time. William II of England and his older brother, Richard, Duke of Bernay are both buried in the cathedral.
The squat, square crossing tower was begun in 1202 to replace an earlier version which collapsed, partly because of the unstable ground on which the cathedral is built. It has an indisputably Norman look to it.
Work continued on the cathedral during the 14th century. In 1394 the remodelling of the Norman nave commenced to the designs of master mason William Wynford, this continued into the 15th and 16th centuries, notably with the building of the retroquire to accommodate the many pilgrims to the shrine of Saint Swithun.
Restoration work was carried out by T.G. Jackson during the years 1905–1912, including the famous saving of the building from total collapse. Some waterlogged foundations on the south and east walls were reinforced by a diver, William Walker, packing the foundations with more than 25,000 bags of concrete, 115,000 concrete blocks, and 900,000 bricks. Walker worked six hours a day from 1906 to 1912 in total darkness at depths up to 6 metres (20 ft), and is credited with saving the cathedral from total collapse.” – Wikipedia 2011,_Winchester
You can see from these facts the building has been under constant redevelopment and the original building has been demolished and the only thing remaining about it is the blueprint.
We can only trust our imagination and some historical resources about how it might look like.


Research regarding similar interactive exhibits
Besides researching the target audience, the technology needed to build our idea, we also researched similar exhibits, using AR.
We came across the following article:
Augmented Reality: AR uninvited at MOMA NYC
On Saturday October 9th, the physical space inside the MoMA NY building will host a virtual exhibition occupying all floors (including an additional virtual 7th floor) in parallel to the ongoing show. The show will not be visible to regular visitors of the MoMA, but those using a smartphone application called “Layar Augmented Reality browser” (available for free in the iPhone app store and Android market) will be able to see additional works on each of the floors, put there using a location-based augmented reality technique. The show will test case Augmented Reality art within an appropriate critical context: the bastion of contemporary art, MoMA.
So far, the MoMA is not involved in all this yet. But that’s not a requirement anymore anno 2010, being independent by using AR. The experimental exhibition is part of the Conflux Festival, the annual New York festival dedicated to the psychogeography practice. The organizers of the event, augmented reality experimentalist Sander Veenhof from the Netherlands, and Mark Skwarek, new media artist from New York, aim to address a contemporary issue caused by the rapid rise of Augmented Reality usage. What is the impact of AR on our public and private spaces? Is the distinction between the two fading, or are we approaching the contrary situation with an ever increasing fragmentation of realities all to be perceived individually?
Being uninvited guest users of the MoMA space themselves, Veenhof and Skwarek do not claim all available exhibition space but instead they call out all ‘AR artists’ worldwide to place their virtual artworks within the walls of the MoMA too on the 9th of October. Location: lat/lng 40.761601, -73.977710. Since the exhibition happens in virtual space, there’s no reason not to host and endless amount of parallel virtual exhibitions there on that date.”
We also found an interesting Dinosaurs AR exhibition called “Great Dinosaur Exhibition” which is being held in Tokyo, Japan at the National Science Museum in Ueno, from 14th March 2011.

Commercial Viability

It is not so difficult to use our idea practically in the particular fields. In order to use it, people just need to prepare a laptop, free software and a web camera and, of course, to present something using 3D requires someone who can use Cinema 4D or 3D Max perfectly otherwise they cannot present augmented reality. However, if augmented reality becomes popular for tourism, the way of presenting will have many possibilities and allow visitors bring experiences to their lives. Once 3D modelling is done, tourists can try it after going back from their trip by downloading software of augmented reality. Therefore, this idea will bring people successful and profitable experiences.

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