Methodology and Computations (Draft)
Author: Ivan Bercovich
Visitors to a new area struggle to find their way around. Often they can be standing right in front of the building they are looking for without even realizing it. It would be very helpful if there was a system which would place large virtual labels above buildings the user was looking at, as well as information specific to buildings in the user's field of view. It can be extended to applications such as a virtual tourguide that could display information about paintings in an art museum, along with many other new and exciting applications.
Our SDP project consists of a heads up display capable of supplying the user information that complements the current vision range. In order to accomplish this task, we will include a series of measurement instruments such as gyroscopes, compasses, GPS, and accelerometers. A microcontroller will be used to perform all the mathematical operations and a mini-VGA card will display the desired information on the transparent screen.
We will detect points of interest in the range of view and display them to the user. To perform this task, an embedded GPS device will supply the microcontroller with the information necessary to discover the relative position of the POIs (points of interest). POIs will be previously selected and their latitude and longitude stored in a database.
It is clear that GPS obtained data can only supply us with the absolute distance between POIs and the user. But unless the user is moving on a straight path, it is impossible to rely solely on this piece of information to determine orientation. If the user is stationary, we will have to use an instrument such as a compass to determine the orientation of the userís vision. Nevertheless, the compass has two setbacks. Firstly, it is an unreliable instrument because it can be affected by any sizeable metallic object in the proximity; and secondly, it does not respond to rotational movement as quickly as the specifications would require.
This problem can be solved by obtaining the initial orientation through the compass, or maybe by asking the user to walk on a straight line, or even ask the user to rotate such that his/her shadow is just in front (during the day). Once the initial orientation is computed, gyroscopes and accelerometers will keep track of rotational and angular changes, and this way we will have an almost real time sense of direction for a prolonged period of time.
Eventually, it is expected that small inaccuracies in measurement and calculations will cause a loss of synchronization. At this point, the user will request the HUD for a recalibration, and perform one of the abovementioned calibration methodologies.
An additional feature that we would like to include to the project once the previous goals have been accomplished is face recognition. To achieve this, it would be necessary to include a webcam to the previously mentioned set of instruments as well as a DSP IC and a database of the individuals to be recognized (just like the POIs, but instead of GPS data, we would store a special image constructed from the average of several mug shots of an individual).
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Media & Awards
- Boston Globe: "A head-up display for wayward travelers" - May 11, 2009 - Link
- RIT IEEE Senior Design Competition - Placed 2nd for IEEE Region 1
- UMass College of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering - First Place Senior Design Competition
- UMass College of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering - Student Choice Senior Design Competition
Project Links and References