Popcode: Even better than the real thing

There are augmented reality technologies on the market in which users can hold their smartphone up to a particular point of interest and the phone’s screen will give the user information on what they are looking at.

Most of these applications rely on the phone’s GPS system combined with a compass reading in order to determine what the phone is ‘seeing’. The technology developed by Taylor, Gauld and Drummond differs in that it processes the images from the phone camera directly, using the smartphone’s processor in order to recognise real-world features.The software allows the phone to compute the position of a known target in an image relative to the phone’s camera, which allows for accurate overlay of virtual information on the camera image of the real object. The method is fast enough to work in real time on a smartphone, using live video from the phone’s camera.

The team has built a framework for describing the content to be displayed, along with interactivity, animation and sound. These are all delivered to their cross-platform augmented reality player application, called Popcode. Users are alerted to the existence of additional content related to an object with the use of Popcodes – a combination of a logo and barcode. When the application views a Popcode, it fetches the content from the internet and then displays it to the user.

Cambridge Enterprise provided support to the inventors in resolving a complicated IP situation with a large corporation. Cambridge Enterprise has now licensed the technology to Korean-based augmented reality company Zenitum, as well as to Extra Reality Limited, the company formed by its inventors, Taylor, Gauld and Drummond.

The inventors are now talking with potential customers about incorporating their software into additional products.

Photo credit: 150309-charging-cellphone-smartphone-blue.jpg by r. nial bradshaw via Flickr

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