Human Factors - Projects
Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE
ARMS: Augmented Reality as an advanced mobile Situation Display
The ARmS (Augmented Reality mobile Situation Display) project focuses on exploring the suitability of Augmented Reality for support of dismounted infantry soldiers on the move. The main thrust of the work is in the development of a functional prototype (hardware) including an empirically founded and optimized visualization system (software) for group commander level.
Creating adaptive situational awareness
By merging additional textual and symbolic operational data related to the enemy and allied facilities and units into the real spatial context, the system shall provide optimal situational overview and awareness, especially for potential threats to the soldier. This can bring about fast effective command and control, greater mobility and, thus, a higher level of protection. The foremost aim is always to visualize the invisible, but depending on the individual situation, this can mean different things: In open fields, Augmented Reality could, for example, indicate distant and, consequently, invisible enemy movements, while in urban scenarios, the advantage lies in the ability to clear up hidden threats and chaotic circumstances.
Combining a live video image with virtual information
Augmented reality correctly positions a real situation and superimposes additional virtual information in real time. One way of achieving this is to combine a live video image with rendered texts and geometries. The central problem here is to determine the translation and rotation of the camera (tracking) to correctly position virtual content. Accuracy needs to be within centimetres for the translation.
Pattern-based approaches are commonly used in indoor applications, but get impracticable when employed outdoors, particularly in unfamiliar terrain. Other technologies like ultrasonic or infrared receptors may work well in laboratory conditions, but cannot be transferred to open field. ARmS makes use of a different method to achieve the precision required. Differential (basically receiving a correction signal from a fixed reference station) is used for the translation, working in combination with inertia sensors and a digital compass for the rotation. So at the same time, mission-relevant data and information is transmitted continuously from an executive information system to the visualization system.
First empirical investigations are on their way
After research and analysis on existing mobile Augmented Reality systems, the project has now entered the development phase where a first tripod-mounted demonstrator has been set up. Empirical investigations on the visual indication of locations of interest have been executed to feed the visual design of the interface.
New opportunities in non-military fields of applications
High-precision mobile Augmented Reality also offers many new possibilities for displaying information in the commercial world where applications have so far been rather inaccurate. Information and associated material never seen before can now become visible. Surveying, town planning and the monitoring of construction projects are all potential applications along with data mining, art, culture and entertainment.
ARmS is one of the BWB (Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement) funded joint projects aimed at modernizing soldiers’ equipment which also encompasses the “Extended Infantryman of the Future” (IDZ-ES). In this particular area we are benefiting from close cooperation between the Human Factors research group (HF) and the Sensor Data Fusion department (SDF).This crucial partnership brings together expertise in ergonomics and mobile Human Machine systems and captures and merges complex, multiple sensor data.