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Augmented Reality Racing

A group of students at Technische Universitat Munchen, under the direction of Gudrun Klinker, created this augmented reality racing game.  The setup is similar to the AR Drone game in that it uses a real vehicle, however, using the illusions of AR, they turned their LEGO Mindstorm robots into cars.

The students had two (analog) radio cameras and mounted each on one Lego Mindstorm Robot. With this constellation the player was presented the view on the world from a robot’s perspective. The students also placed markers on top of the robots which were being used to calculate the pose of each camera in relation to a common coordinate system (using one ceiling mounted camera). With this pose, the view of the virtual camera was matched to the real camera’s view. The students augmented the real camera images with virtual graphics such as the race course and some special items (speedup, rockets, etc). The goal was to drive as fast as possible four laps or to hunt down the other player before he can finish the race.
The calibration of the tracking system and the tracking itself was done using Ubitrack and its MarkerTracker Component developed at our chair.

We think because of some aspects this game is very special:
– The game is a twoplayer game, so you share the same virtual (and real) world between the two players.
– There are no markers in the camera view of the player since the cameras for showing the graphics and doing the tracking are not the same.
– The (real) robots are being overlayed with car models in the camera images so you do not get the the impression of playing against Lego robots. (O.K. sometimes you can see the robot due to a lag in the tracking or since it is not overlayed completely)
– And best: It was playable and is not only a concept 🙂

Good job Christian Waechter, Eva Artinger and Markus Duschl.  I think you’ll have a career in augmented reality.

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