Apple Patent | Method for Representing Virtual Information in a View of a Real Environment

Patent: Method for Representing Virtual Information in a View of a Real Environment

Publication Number: 20190005734

Publication Date: 2019-01-03

Applicants: Apple

Abstract

A method for representing virtual information in a view of a real environment comprises providing a virtual object having a global position and orientation with respect to a geographic global coordinate system, with first pose data on the global position and orientation of the virtual object, in a database of a server, taking an image of a real environment by a mobile device and providing second pose data as to at which position and with which orientation with respect to the geographic global coordinate system the image was taken. The method further includes displaying the image on a display of the mobile device, accessing the virtual object in the database and positioning the virtual object in the image on the basis of the first and second pose data, manipulating the virtual object or adding a further virtual object, and providing the manipulated virtual object with modified first pose data or the further virtual object with third pose data in the database.

Background

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology in which virtual data are overlaid with reality and which thus facilitates the association of data with reality. The use of mobile AR systems is already known in the prior art. In the past years, high-performance mobile devices (e.g. smartphones) turned out to be suitable for AR application. These devices meanwhile have comparatively large color displays, installed cameras, good processors and additional sensors, such as e.g. orientation sensors and GPS. In addition thereto, the position of the device can be approximated via radio networks.

In the past, there were various projects implemented on mobile devices using AR. At first, there were used special optical marks for ascertaining the position and orientation of the device. As regards AR, which is usable for large areas as well and thus is also referred to as large area AR, there have also been published hints for sensible representation of objects in connection with HMDs (Head Mounted Displays) (S. Feiner, B. Maclntyre, T. Hollerer, and A. Webster. A touring machine: Prototyping 3d mobile augmented reality systems for exploring the urban environment. In Proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on Wearable Computers, pages 74-81, 1997). In more recent times, there are also approaches to utilize GPS and the orientation sensor systems of modern devices.

However, the approaches published so far have the disadvantage that they do not permit a simple integration of other users in the AR scenes. In addition thereto, most systems based on GPS and compass have the disadvantage that these devices cogently have to be provided and that there may be great inaccuracies occurring.

US 2009/0179895 A1 describes a method of blending in three-dimensional notes or annotations in an image of a real environment (“street view”). A user, by way of a selection box in the image, selects the location at which an annotation is to be blended in. Thereafter, the selection box is projected on a three-dimensional model in order to determine a position of the annotation in relation to the image. Furthermore, location data corresponding to the projection on the three-dimensional model are determined and associated with the annotation entered by the user. The annotation is stored together with the location data in a database of a server and can be blended in another image of the real environment in accordance with the location data.

The term “tagging” in general and in the following is used to describe enriching of the reality with additional information by a user. Approaches realized so far in connection with tagging include the placing of objects in map views (e.g. Google Maps), taking photographs of location points and storing these images together with additional commentaries as well as creating text messages at specific location points. There is the disadvantage that remote viewers and users can no longer obtain AR access to interactive scenes in the world. Only so-called screenshots (screen images) of the AR scene can be viewed, but no longer be altered.

It is the object of the present invention to indicate a method for representing virtual information in a view of a real environment, which permits users to interactively view AR image scenes created by other users by means of augmented reality and to guarantee high accuracy and user friendliness in doing so.

Summary

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for representing virtual information in a view of a real environment, comprising the following steps: providing at least one virtual object having a global position and orientation with respect to a geographic global coordinate system, together with first pose data permitting a conclusion to be made on the global position and orientation of the virtual object, in a database of a server, taking at least one image of a real environment by means of a mobile device and providing second pose data permitting a conclusion to be made as to at which position and with which orientation with respect to the geographic global coordinate system the image was taken, displaying the image on a display of the mobile device, accessing the virtual object in the database of the server and positioning the virtual object in the image shown on the display on the basis of the first and second pose data, manipulating the virtual object or adding a further virtual object by corresponding positioning in the image shown on the display, and providing the manipulated virtual object together with modified first pose data in accordance with the positioning in the image or the further virtual object together with third pose data in accordance with the positioning in the image in the database of the server, the modified first pose data and third pose data each permitting a conclusion to be made on the global position and orientation of the manipulated virtual object or the further manipulated object. In this regard, the image can be provided on the server e.g. together with the second pose data.

According to a further object of the invention, there is provided a method for representing virtual information in a view of a real environment, comprising the following steps: providing at least one virtual object having a global position and orientation with respect to a geographic global coordinate system, together with first pose data permitting a conclusion to be made on the global position and orientation of the virtual object, in a database of a server, providing at least one view of a real environment by means of data glasses (e.g. a so-called optical see-through data glasses or video see-through data glasses) together with second pose data permitting a conclusion to be made as to at which position and with which orientation with respect to the geographic global coordinate system the data glasses are positioned, accessing the virtual object in the database of the server and positioning the virtual object in the view on the basis of the first and second pose data, manipulating the virtual object or adding a further virtual object by corresponding positioning in the view, and providing the manipulated virtual object together with modified first pose data in accordance with the positioning in the view or of the further virtual object together with third pose data in accordance with the positioning in the view in the database of the server, the modified first pose data and third pose data each permitting a conclusion to be made on the global position and orientation of the manipulated virtual object or the further virtual object.

In an embodiment of the invention, the mobile device or the data glasses comprise, or are connected to, a means for generating the second pose data.

For example, the pose data may include respective three-dimensional values concerning position and orientation. Moreover, an orientation of the image of the real environment can be defined independently of the earth’s surface.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a storing location on the server stores in which image of several images of a real environment or in which view of several views of a real environment, which virtual object of several virtual objects has been provided with pose data.

When the position of the mobile device is determined e.g. by means of a GPS sensor (GPS: Global Positioning System), it may happen due to sensor inaccuracy or GPS-immanent inaccuracy that the position of the mobile device is determined in relatively inaccurate manner only. This may have the consequence that blended in virtual objects are positioned in the image relative to the geographic global coordinate system with a corresponding inaccuracy as well, so that in other images or views with different viewing angles, the virtual objects blended in there are shown in correspondingly displaced manner with respect to reality.

For enhanced accuracy of the representation of virtual objects or the position of the same in the image of the real environment, an embodiment of the method according to the invention comprises the following steps: providing a reference database with reference views of a real environment together with pose data permitting a conclusion to be made as to at which position and with which orientation with respect to the geographic global coordinate system the respective reference view was taken by a camera, comparing at least one real object that is shown in the image with at least part of a real object that is contained in at least one of the reference views, and matching of the second pose data of the image with the pose data of the at least one reference view, and modifying at least part of the second pose data on the basis of at least part of the pose data of the at least one reference view as a result of said matching.

Another embodiment, furthermore, comprises modifying at least part of the first pose data of the virtual object positioned in the image as a result of matching of the second pose data of the image with the pose data of said at least one reference view.

Further developments and embodiments of the invention can be taken from the dependent claims.

Aspects and embodiments of the invention will be explained in more detail hereinafter by way of the figures shown in the drawings.

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