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Augmented Reality Visualisation System

Abstract As explained in Chap. 3, the aim of the development of the tactile interface is to allow users to perform the tactile evaluation together with the visual one. Thanks to the desktop and portability features of the developed tactile display, the user can use as a visualisation device the monitor of the PC/Laptop, which he/she is using in order to create the digital model. However, Augmented Reality (AR) technology can be used and exploited to create a more immersive experience. AR technology allows us to superimpose a 3D visual representation of the digital model directly onto the tactile interface. In this way, the user can interact at the same time with the tactile interface, in order to perform the tactile evaluation, and with the digital representation of the model shape, thus performing the visual evaluation.

Introduction to Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is a technology that allows contextualizing digital information in a real environment. By means of Augmented Reality applications, the user can see and interact with virtual contents in the real world. To understand the relations among Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the real world, it is possible to consider the Reality-Virtuality Continuum formulate by Milgram. As shown in Fig. 8.1, considering the real and the virtual environments as the two extremities of this continuum, what lies between those boundaries can be referred to as Mixed Reality, because it shares something from the real world and from the virtual world, in the same environment.

According to the amount of reality and virtual content present in the environment, it is possible to classify Mixed Reality in two categories:

  • Augmented Reality: if the content is mainly real, therefore when digital information is added to the real world;
  • Augmented Virtuality: if the content is mainly virtual, therefore when real information is added to the virtual world.

© The Author(s) 2017

A. Mansutti et al., Tactile Display for Virtual 3D Shape Rendering, PoliMI SpringerBriefs, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-48986-5_8

Milgram’s Reality-Virtuality continuum

Fig. 8.1 Milgram’s Reality-Virtuality continuum

Even though AR considers the integration of additional virtual information to the human senses in general, it is usually related to vision. Augmented Reality has many applications. It was initially used for military, industrial, and medical applications and nowadays it is also applied to commercial and entertainment areas. Regarding the industrial and design fields the use of AR technologies is growing faster because the digital information is directly placed in the working environment.

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