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Tracking Requirements for Augmented Reality

I In this Issue, Fltzmaurlc,~= and Feiner Errors in measured head orientation usu- angular error. At a rapid rate of 300 de-
describe t w o different augmented- ally cause larger registration offsets than grees per second, keeping angular errors
reality systems. Such sy~stems re- object orientation errors do, making this below 0.5 degrees requires a combined
quire highly capable head and object requirement more critical for systems latency of under 2 ms!
trackers to create an effective Illusion of based on Head-Mounted Displays (HMDS). Finally, the tracker must work at long
virtual objects coexisting with the real Try the following simple demonstration. ranges. When the environment Is com-
world. For ordinary virtual environments Take out a dime and hold It at arm's pletely virtual, long-range trackers are
that completely replace the real world length. The diameter of the dime covers not required because we can create an
with a virtual world, It sufflo~=s to know approximately 1.5 degrees of arc. In Illusion of flight by translating all the
the approximate position and orientation comparison, a full moon covers 1/2 de- objects around a stationary user. But In
of the user's head. Small errors are not gree of arc. Now imagine a virtual coffee augmented reality, fMng is n o t a valid
easily discernible because the user's vis- cup sitting on the corner of a real table means of locomotion. The virtual objects
ual sense tencls to override 1:he conflict- t w o meters away from you. An angular must remain registered with the real
Ing signals from his or her w~=stlbular and error of 1.5 degrees in head orientation world. Since we cannot translate real
broprloceptlve systems. But In aug- moves the cup by about 52 mm. Clearly, objects around a user at the touch of a
mented reality, virtual objec"ts supple- small orientation errors could result In a button, the user instead must move
ment rather than supplant tl~e real cup suspended in midair or interpene- himself or herself and the display de-
world. Preserving the Illusion that the trating the table. Similarly, If we want vices worn. Thus, many augmented-real-
t w o coexist requires proper alignment the cup to stay within 1 to 2 mm of Its ity applications demand extended-range
and reglstral~lon of the vlrtu~al objects to true position, then we cannot tolerate trackers that can support walking users.
the real world. Even tiny errors in regis- tracker positional errors of more than 1 For example, Fltzmaurice's active maps
tratlon are easily detectable by the to 2 mm. and augmented-library applications re-
human visual system. What does aug- Second, the combined latency of the quire trackers that can cover an entire
mented reality require from trackers to tracker and the graphics engine must be map or all the bookshelves In the library,
avoid such errors? very low. Combined latency is the delay respectively.
First, a tracker must be accurate to a from the time the tracker subsystem No existing system completely satisfies
small fraction of a degree In orientation takes its measurements to the time the all of these requirements. Systems com-
and a few millimeters (mm) in position. corresponding images appear In the dis- monly used to track airplanes, ships, and
play devices. Many HMD-based systems cars have sufficient range but Insuffi-
have a combined latency over 100 ms. At cient accuracy. Many different tracking
F i g u r e 1. , C o n c e p t u a l c t r a w i n g o f a moderate head or object rotation rate technologies exist [1], but almost all are
s e n s o r s v i i e w i n g b e a c o n s In t h e of 50 degrees per second, 100 millisec- short-range systems that cannot be eas-
ceiling onds (ms) of latency causes 5 degrees of Ily extended.
An exception Is an optoelectronic sys-
tem developed by UNC Chapel Hill that
can be extended to arbitrary room sizes,
while still providing reasonable tracking
performance. Optical sensors mounted
on the head unit view panels of Infrared
beacons In the ceiling above the user
(Photos 1, 2, Figure 1). The known loca-
tions of these beacons and the measure-
ments taken by the sensors provide
enough Information to compute the
position and orientation of the user's
head. The system can resolve head mo-
tions of under 2 mm in POSition and 0.2
degrees in orientation, w i t h o u t the dis-
tortions commonly seen in magnetic
trackers. Typical values for the update
rate and latency are 70- to 80HZ and 15-
to 30ms respectively. The existing ceiling
covers a 10-x-12 area (In feet), but we
can extend the range by simply adding
more panels to the ceiling grid. By the
time this article is published, a new ex-
panded ceiling that covers approximately
16- x 30 feet should be operational. UNC
first demonstrated this system to the
public In the Tomorrow's Realities gallery
of ACM'S SIGGRAPH '91 conference In Las

SO Jub 1993/Vol.36, No.7 ¢ O M l a l I I H I C A ' r l O N i O F ' I ' H I A C H

-RoE.A-L ,,

P h o t o 1. H M D w i t h f o u r o p t i c a l s e n s o r s a i m e d u p w a r d

P h o t o 2. T h e a c t u a l s y s t e m In o u r g r a p h i c s lad P h O t O 3. " H a t " w i t h t h r e e o p t i c a l s e n s o r s t o t r a c k a n

ultrasonic wand

f e w e r modifications t o t h e e n v i r o n m e n t . References
vegas, and t o o u r k n o w l e d g e this Is t h e
1. Meyer,K., Applewhlte, H. and Blocca, F. A surveyof
first d e m o n s t r a t e d scalable tracking sys- Perhaps t h e m o s t effective solutions will position trackerS.Presence 1, 2 (Spring1992),173-200.
t e m f o r HMDS [2]. be t e c h n o l o g y hybrids. For example, in- 2. ward, M., Azuma, R., Bennett, R., Gottschalk, $. and
While this system is suitable f o r aug- ertial trackers have Infinite range, b u t FUChS,H. A demonstrated Optical tracker with scalable
lose accuracy w i t h t i m e due t o accumu- work areafor head-mounteddisplaysystems. In Pro-
m e n t e d - r e a l i t y applications, it is far f r o m
ceedings of 1992 Symposium on Interactive 3D GraphiCS
Ideal. We need t o reduce t h e w e i g h t o f lated drift, occasional m e a s u r e m e n t s [Mar. 29-Apr. I, CamPrldge,MASS.).Comput. Graprt.
t h e head u n i t and increase t h e restricted f r o m several accurate b u t s h o r t - r a n g e 1992,43-52.
head r o t a t i o n range. Due t o line-of-sight trackers m i g h t c o n t r o l t h a t drift. These CR Categories and SuPject Descriptors: 1.3.1 [Computer
constraints, this system is n o t well and o t h e r potential I m p r o v e m e n t s m u s t Graphics]: HardwareArchltecture--fflree.dlmenslonal dis.
play,;; 1.3.7[computer Graphics]: Three-Dimensional
suited f o r o b j e c t tracking, a l t h o u g h w e be e x p l o r e d t o m e e t t h e s t r i n g e n t re-
Graphics and Reallsm--vlrtual reality
do have a " h a t " t h a t tracks an ultrasonic q u i r e m e n t s o f a u g m e n t e d reality. [ ] Additional Key Words and Phrases: Augmented reality,
w a n d (Photo 3). Because o f t h e large tracking
n u m D e r o f beacons in t h e ceiling, w e RONALDAZUMAIs a Ph.D.student at the UnlvesltyOf
The optoelectronic tracker was partially sup- North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Author's Present Aclclress: Uni-
s o m e t i m e s call it " t h e t h o u s a n d points versity of Norm Carolina,CB 3175ComputerScience
ported by ONR contract N00014-86-K-0680,
o f light." Research is needed t o d e v e l o p DARPA contract DAEA 18-90-C-0044, and NSF Dept., Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3175;emall: azuma@
l o n g - r a n g e trackers t h a t require far contract ASC-8920219.

COMMUI41CAT|OMSO~THIACMJu~y 1993/Vo1.36, No.7 Sl