Research Proposal Augmented Reality Visualization of Outdoor Environmental Corrosion

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Research Proposal

Augmented Reality Visualization of Outdoor Environmental Corrosion

James Walsh

100063615 WALJA008

for Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours)

Supervisor: Professor Bruce Thomas

13th June 2010

Wearable Computer Lab

School of Computer and Information Science

University of South Australia


Augmented reality is the ability to enhance reality with additional virtual information and functionality. Mobile augmented reality provides the ability to apply augmented reality beyond fixed systems, such as roaming indoor or outdoor environments. The application of situated visualization within mobile augmented reality has shown promise in aiding the understanding of our environment.

Current methods for the maintenance of large structures involve the regular manual inspection by personnel to establish the condition of the structure. Previous attempts to semi-automate this process via the use of wireless environmental sensors still result is a loss of data due to context when reviewing the data logs. With previous work indicating the possibility for increased understanding of our environment via visualizing the sensor data in situated augmented reality, this research is motivated to develop visualization techniques to aid in the representation of outdoor environmental corrosion in mobile augmented reality. Preliminary results indicate a successful application of in-situ visualization of outdoor environmental corrosion in mobile augmented reality.


Abstract 1

List of Figures 3

List of Tables 4

Introduction 1

Motivation 1

Research Question 2

Literature Review 3

Augmented Reality 3

Definition of AR 3

Classification of AR 3

Applications of AR 4

Sensor Visualization 4

Limitations 7

Research Design 8

Initial Analysis 8

Research Methodology 8

Expected Outcomes 9

User Evaluations and Ethics 11

Proposed User Evaluation Form 11

Preliminary Results 13

Schedule 16

Proposed Thesis Table of Contents 17

Summary 19

References 20

List of Figures

Figure 1 The Reality-Virtuality Continuum (Milgram et al., 1995) 3

Figure 2 ARVino viewport 4

Figure 3 SiteLens viewport 5

Figure 4 SensAR visualizing temperature 6

Figure 5 Handheld humidity visualization 6

Figure 6 Proposed Tinmith shared library architecture 8

Figure 7 Proposed iterative development cycle 9

Figure 8 The Plasma effect shown at various degrees of severity 13

Figure 9 The ‘(rust) crystal’ representation, showing three stages (left-to-right) of the corrosion (15%, 35% and 70%) 13

Figure 10 The revised Box (second revision) and Gauge (fourth revision) sensor visualizations 14

Figure 11 Initial visualization system prototype showing a semi-opaque transparent overlay (left) and dialog overlay (right) 14

Figure 12 Current visualization system running in the Tinmith emulator showing first person (left) and birds eye (right) views 15

List of Tables

Table 1 Proposed schedule 16

Table 2 Proposed thesis Table of Contents 18


Located to the left of the Reality-Virtuality Continuum (Milgram et al., 1995), Augmented Reality (AR) is the supplementing of virtual information and functionality over the real world (Azuma et al., 2001), with mobile AR being a classification of AR regarding the type of AR system used. The information used to augment the world can be static (Feiner et al., 1993, Feiner et al., 1997) or dynamic (Gerhard et al., 2004, Thomas et al., 2000).

We can extend the definition of visualization (the use of computer support in interactive, visual representations to increase understanding and cognition (Card et al., 1999)) to situated (in-situ) visualization, where visualizations are relevant to the context in which they are displayed (White et al., 2007). The use of context sensitive visualization aides in the understanding of the environment by the user. Following previous efforts examining the use of situated scientific visualization in AR (White et al., 2007, Belhumeur et al., 2009, White, 2009a, Rauhala et al., 2006), the possibility of increased cognitive perception is present (Rauhala et al., 2006).


Today’s urban structures contain a ever increasing number of visible and invisible components, which may remain hidden from visitors without aids to increase observation (White et al., 2007). Current methods for the regular maintenance inspections of large structures involve a time consuming, manual examination by a site inspector to evaluate the structure’s condition and integrity. The inspection currently involves the inspector physically walking around a structure and examining each component as they move, making notes regarding the structures condition at that position.

Previous work has sought to improve upon the manual inspections by automating the collection of environmental data which may impact on the structure. Kong (2009) developed a sensor system to enable the positioning of numerous wireless sensor over a structure to monitor the environment at that position, at regular intervals. Each sensor consists of a corrosion sensor, humidity sensor and sensor internal and external thermometers. Currently, this data is available in numerical form, losing important contextual data that is associated with the sensor’s real world position. It is also relies on the inspector’s ability to translate this information from the spreadsheet given to them, into meaningful inferences regarding which areas of the structure have been affected, deducing possible relationships between numerous sensors that are located near one another.

The application of visualization in AR to onsite inspections enables inspectors to see a wealth of previously unavailable information (White et al., 2007, White and Feiner, 2009).

Research Question

This research answers the question “What are the most suitable techniques for visualizing outdoor environmental corrosion in mobile augmented reality?”.

The scope of the research project is limited to only the visualization of corrosion and associated temperature and humidity data over time. The proposed techniques are designed only to enable a more intuitive, context sensitive understanding of sensor data for on-site structure inspections. The proposed visualization system will work within the constraints imposed upon it by the Tinmith AR platform.

The remainder of this research proposal is as follows; a literature review of the areas of research relating to this project, concluding with an analysis of the literature, justifying the contribution of this research. This is followed by the research question and outlines of the design and methodology that will be applied in this research, along with the anticipated outcomes. An overview of the required user evaluations and associated ethics considerations is followed by preliminary results of the research and a proposed schedule for expected milestones.

Literature Review

This section provides a review of relevant literature. Given the research question, the literature review is broken into four sections; augmented reality definition, classification and applications, followed by sensor visualization, each providing an overview of research specific to that area. This section concludes with a review of the literature, identifying limitations and serving as a justification for the proposed research.

Augmented Reality

This section provides an overview of Augmented Reality research and current applications.

Definition of AR

Following Sutherland’s (1968) pioneering work in mixed reality, Milgram et al’s (1995) Reality-Virtuality continuum (Figure 1) represents the spectrum between the real and purely virtual worlds, and the cross-over between them. Four areas are identified; Real Environment, Augmented Reality, Augmented Virtuality, and Virtual Environment.

Figure 1 The Reality-Virtuality Continuum (Milgram et al., 1995)

One of the four positions of the continuum, Augmented Reality (AR), is the supplementing of the real world with additional, virtual information (Azuma, 1997). Located to the left of the continuum, augmented reality is more real than virtual, enabling the user to interact with the real world with additional knowledge. Given the definition of reality is not limited to a single sense, the knowledge and interactions in AR can extended beyond the visual sense (Heidemann et al., 2004).

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