AR markers, the plan..

Annotation 2019-09-08 100019

The above is a Vuforia AR marker – specifically, a VuMark. Vuforia is a product (collection of products?) which can be used with 3d engines (Unity, Unreal) to build augmented reality solutions.

AR markers are real-world objects or images which can be recognised by machine vision and used as an ‘anchor’ for displaying 3d content, projected onto the real world. In fact, the above marker does 3 things:

  1. Has a distinct shape, allowing AR apps to clearly detect when it’s present in frame
  2. Contains a unique design and sharp edges (“features”), allowing its position in 3d space to be tracked accurately
  3. Has some data built-in, a bit like a QR-code

You might have guessed that the little tiles in the image hold the data. In this case, 4 characters (A-Z, a-z, 0-9 and underscore) can be stored in one of these images. This allows for 15,752,961 combinations, which I figure is enough for my purposes…

My purposes!

I’d like anyone who’s uploaded data to the BeatBrain API to be able to get, print off, and use a personal AR marker, like above. They could then view their own personal replays in AR… or (maybe as a next step) ‘livestream’ by allowing others to scan and view real-time telemetry using the same AR marker.

I think a separate QR code might also be cool to print along with the code, to link to app stores, so if someone finds the code in isolation they know what to do.

Challenges

It’s good to share the trials and not just the successes…

  1. The Vuforia Illustrator scripts are buggy and painful to work with. See my forum posts here and here.
  2. I had to learn Illustrator basics to get this together. Hours of hacking around..
  3. I’m pretty sure I used entirely the wrong ‘real life’ scale, so my SVGs are probably way too large. To be solved by future me!

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