Using AR Technology To Program Physical Objects And Their Interactions
The Smarter Objects system is a project by Valentin Heun, Shunichi Kasahara, and Pattie Maes out of MIT's Media Lab Fluid Interfaces group that seamlessly combines simple connected objects with virtual interfaces to give them increased engagement and interaction potential.
Using the system every connected physical object can become “smarter” and provide a user more functionality than just their physical tangible design can provide. By avoiding complex functionality directly on the device, power requirements, displays, dials and other details can be removed or reduced while still providing for advanced interactions by the user.
Some initial hardware explorations from the MIT team include a door handle that uses a password keypad overlay for access, light switches with different color swatch options, and a simple sensor that can display its readings on the tablet display.
Whenever an action is performed on either the connected device or the tablet interface a message get sent to the server to synchronize the states. The team's development prototypes use a Roving Networks Wifi module (PDF) and an Atmega32U4 to send the tangible device interface data to the GUI that uses Open Frameworks, Open Sound Control protocol (OSC) and Qualcomm's AR Vuforia platform to match the object and image displays.
More details about the project can be found here or by watching the real-time demos in the video embedded below.