Augurscope 2

The Augurscope 2 is a portable mixed reality interface for outdoors, consisting of a base unit and a detachable top. Users can move, rotate and tilt the display in order to view a virtual environment as it would appear from that particular vantage point.

The Augurscope 2 has a base unit and a detachable top. The base unit, featuring three wheels, is designed so it can easily be moved around physical terrain. It contains most of the computing, communications and power supply. In particular, the base contains the computing power to render 3D graphics that are then communicated wirelessly as composite video to the top unit. The top unit is mounted in a gimble on the stand. The gimble allows indefinite horizontal as well as vertical rotation.

By removing two pins, the top can be taken off for handheld use. We made use of a sunlight readable display to cope better with bright conditions. This has made additional physical shading unnecessary. The detachable top also contains the necessary tracking technology (such as a GPS receiver and digital compass) for global position and orientation (this information is communicated wirelessly to the base). Whether attached to the base unit or used handheld, the movement and rotation of the top changes the user’s viewpoint within the virtual world.

Our design features two handles, one attached to the base and one to the rotating mount for the top. Early push tests suggested that this would give the most stability as users could hold the top steady while pushing the base along. Indeed, with a little practice, quite flexible two-handed use is possible in which pushing can be combined with rotating. To make the Augurscope 2 usable by a variety of people the centre column and handle are height adjustable.

Potential applications for the Augurscope include cultural heritage, architectural visualisation and the prototyping of AR experiences. For the public trials of the Augurscope we chose a historical application: recreating Nottingham’s medieval castle on the site of its modern castle. For this we recreated an approximation of the castle site of the late 15th century as a 3D model to be overlaid visually on to the present Castle grounds. Our aim was to provide visitors with an engaging experience enabling them to make sense of the relationship between present and past topography from a dynamic, location-based and user controlled viewpoint.

Developed in the EU Shape project. Building on the Augurscope.

Associated Publications:

Schnädelbach, H., Koleva, B.,  Benford, S., Paxton M., Twidale, M., Anastasi R., The Augurscope: Refining its Design, Presence special issue: Virtual Heritage, MIT Press, 2006

Benford, S., Schnädelbach, H., Koleva, B., Anastasi, R., Greenhalgh, C., Rodden, T., Green, J., Ghali, A., Pridmore, T., Gaver, B., Boucher, A., Walker, B., Pennington, S., Schmidt, A., Gellersen, H., Steed, A., Expected, sensed, and desired: A framework for designing sensing-based interaction, TOCHI, 12(1), ACM Press, 2005

Schnädelbach, H., Koleva, B., Twidale, M., Benford, S., The Iterative Design Process of a Location-aware Device for Group Use, UbiComp 2004, Springer, Nottingham, UK