Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is a leading research university committed to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology. It provides a focused, technologically based education to over 21,500 students annually. Its engineering programs across a wide range of disciplines are consistently ranked in the top 10 American institutes of higher learning by U.S. News & World Report.
Founded in 1998, the Augmented Environments Lab (AEL) in the GVU Center, directed by Dr. Blair MacIntyre, spans multiple GA Tech schools and disciplines. It focuses on understanding the interplay of technology, design, interactivity and media when directly augmenting a user’s senses with computer-generated material.
Background and Achievements
The AEL has been conducting research on Augmented and Mixed Reality since 1998. The work has spanned industrial, military, entertainment, and education domains. The lab’s work focuses on software architectures for building and delivering AR applications and experiences, and the user interface and design aspects of those experiences.
The AEL has been conducting research on Augmented and Mixed Reality since 1998. In 2000, Dr. Blair MacIntyre demonstrated the idea of using the web as an infrastructure for Augmented Reality, and using an AR-capable web-browser to browse and interact with spatial content around the user. In the paper The Real-World Wide Web Browser: An Interface for a Continuously Available, General Purpose, Spatialized Information Space (available as a tech report at https://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/3430), MacIntyre and Kooper described the framework that would inspire, a decade later, the Argon AR browser.
A major focus of the lab’s work right now is the Argon project (http://argon.gatech.edu). The Argon AR browser is a AR-enabled web browser that executes AR experiences created using standards-based web technologies and the argon.js AR libraries developed by GA Tech.
Current research in the AEL focuses on developing AR systems using web-based technologies across a variety of domains, exploring both the software architectures as well as interaction, design and integration issues of AR capabilities into complex web applications. This work started in 2009 as the Argon research project, with the goal of creating a system that allows user to run multiple, independently authored AR applications simultaneously, across different platforms (from mobile phones to head-mounted displays). The platform will soon be open sourced at http://argonjs.io.
In partnership with industry, the AEL conducts ground-breaking research on topics such as:
- User interface, architectural and software abstractions for cross-platform and multi-application Augmented Reality.
- How multiple Augmented Reality experiences and systems may effectively share one display.
- User interfaces for AR delivery across different hardware platforms (from tablets to head-mounted displays).
- Development environments suitable for authoring experiences to meet a diverse set of AR use cases, from games to industrial applications to education and cultural heritage.
The Argon project has received support from Alcatel-Lucent, Qualcomm, AT&T, Motorola, and HTC. The AEL has partnered with industry on many projects over the years, ranging from industrial AR (Siemens, and the Georgia Poultry Industry with the Georgia Tech Research Institute) to environments of future AR applications (helping create CES and Digital Hollywood demonstrations for Verizon and Alcatel Lucent). We have collaborated with Qualcomm, Motorola and Texas Instruments on handheld AR entertainment applications, and are currently using projection-based AR to create an AR-enabled digital design and education studio.