Mobile Augmented Reality Systems


Steven Feiner

Department of Computer Science

Columbia University

New York, NY 10027





As computers grow ever smaller and faster, the option of wearing them, rather than carrying or sitting in front of them, is rapidly becoming possible.  One especially promising approach for wearable user interfaces is augmented reality.  This alternative form of virtual reality augments, rather than replaces, the physical world with additional information. For example, a see-through and hear-through head-worn display can be used to overlay relevant graphics and audio on what the user normally sees and hears.


I will provide an overview of the research problems that must be addressed for wearable augmented reality systems to play a major role in our future computing environment.  These issues include: physical and aesthetic barriers to mobility and wearability (e.g., size, weight, durability, run-time, comfort, and appearance); tracking and registration of heads, hands, bodies, and other objects; and display quality (e.g., brightness, contrast, field of view, focus, and interaction of real and virtual material).


Equally important is the design of user interfaces that are well suited to mobility. Wearable systems will need to support collaboration among mobile users, and coordination across a wide range of heterogeneous displays and devices.  Key here is the volatile nature of mobile interactions---users continually move into and out of the presence of other users and devices, and rapidly change tasks. Furthermore, augmented reality makes it possible for real and virtual objects to share the same display, creating the potential for a variety of visually confusing spatial relationships as objects overlap and occlude each other. Avoiding these problems will require that virtual material be redesigned and laid out on the fly to maintain desired spatial relationships between virtual objects and other real and virtual objects.



Brief Biography:


Steven Feiner is a Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, where he directs the Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Laboratory.  He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University in 1987.  His research interests include virtual environments and augmented reality, knowledge-based design of graphics and multimedia, information visualization, wearable computing, and hypermedia. Prof. Feiner is coauthor of Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice (Addison-Wesley, 1990) and of Introduction to Computer Graphics (Addison-Wesley, 1993). He is an associate editor of ACM Transactions on Graphics, has served on the executive boards of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Visualization and Graphics, and the IEEE Computer Society Task Force on Human-Centered Information Systems, and is a member of the steering committees for the IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization, the IEEE and ACM International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality, and the IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers.  Over the past year, he has been general chair of IEEE Information Visualization 2001, symposium co-chair of the IEEE and ACM International Symposium on Augmented Reality 2001, and program co-chair of the International Symposium on Mixed Reality 2001.  In 1991 he received an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award.