Mixed- and Augmented Reality

The term Mixed Reality (MR) is used in a broader sense to describe a spectrum on the virtuality continuum that covers all compositions of virtual and real objects. In a more specific sense, MR refers to the seamless integration of virtual objects in the real world. Virtual objects should have physical properties and be affected by actions in the real world and vice versa, whereas Augmented Reality (AR) focusses on attaching information in a (loose) physical context. In AR, the display of information is not necessarily bound to objects with physical properties (e.g. overlays) and is not necessarily affected by the real world. In our group we use Augmented Reality glasses and Spatial Augmented Reality to create MR/AR settings. The ability to enrich the real world with virtual objects opens up new interesting areas of research:

In the project "Alignment in AR-based cooperation" we investigate which interactional procedures participants use in settings where each participant is being exposed to a different augmentation of the same object. The "Holographic Room" in the Ambient Laboratory allows the display of virtual objects next to real ones (e.g. Virtual TVs, lightbulbs...). We use it to develop new UI paradigms that shift from the traditional screen/rectangle UI to physics-based 3D interfaces. The ability to make solid, physical objects transparent allows more efficient object-retrieval (e.g. “Where are my glasses?”) and remote object-control (e.g. close windows in other rooms). The ability to interact with virtual objects in a similar manner to physical ones allows smarter home configuration (e.g. connect physical appliance by means of virtual wires) and more intuitive control of home appliances (e.g. pinch your fingers to control a lightbulb).