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  1. Current collaborative augmented reality (AR) systems establish a common localization coordinate frame among users by exchanging and comparing maps comprised of feature points. However, relative positioning through map sharing struggles in dynamic or feature-sparse environments. It also requires that users exchange identical regions of the map, which may not be possible if they are separated by walls or facing different directions. In this paper, we present Cappella11Like its musical inspiration, Cappella utilizes collaboration among agents to forgo the need for instrumentation, an infrastructure-free 6-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) positioning system for multi-user AR applications that uses motion estimates and range measurements between users to establish an accurate relative coordinate system. Cappella uses visual-inertial odometry (VIO) in conjunction with ultra-wideband (UWB) ranging radios to estimate the relative position of each device in an ad hoc manner. The system leverages a collaborative particle filtering formulation that operates on sporadic messages exchanged between nearby users. Unlike visual landmark sharing approaches, this allows for collaborative AR sessions even if users do not share the same field of view, or if the environment is too dynamic for feature matching to be reliable. We show that not only is it possible to perform collaborative positioning without infrastructure or globalmore »coordinates, but that our approach provides nearly the same level of accuracy as fixed infrastructure approaches for AR teaming applications. Cappella consists of an open source UWB firmware and reference mobile phone application that can display the location of team members in real time using mobile AR. We evaluate Cappella across mul-tiple buildings under a wide variety of conditions, including a contiguous 30,000 square foot region spanning multiple floors, and find that it achieves median geometric error in 3D of less than 1 meter.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  2. Public spaces like concert stadiums and sporting arenas are ideal venues for AR content delivery to crowds of mobile phone users. Unfortunately, these environments tend to be some of the most challenging in terms of lighting and dynamic staging for vision-based relocalization. In this paper, we introduce FLASH 1 , a system for delivering AR content within challenging lighting environments that uses active tags (i.e., blinking) with detectable features from passive tags (quads) for marking regions of interest and determining pose. This combination allows the tags to be detectable from long distances with significantly less computational overhead per frame, making it possible to embed tags in existing video displays like large jumbotrons. To aid in pose acquisition, we implement a gravity-assisted pose solver that removes the ambiguous solutions that are often encountered when trying to localize using standard passive tags. We show that our technique outperforms similarly sized passive tags in terms of range by 20-30% and is fast enough to run at 30 FPS even within a mobile web browser on a smartphone.
  3. Many have predicted the future of the Web to be the integration of Web content with the real-world through technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR). This has led to the rise of Extended Reality (XR) Web Browsers used to shorten the long AR application development and deployment cycle of native applications especially across different platforms. As XR Browsers mature, we face new challenges related to collaborative and multi-user applications that span users, devices, and machines. These collaborative XR applications require: (1) networking support for scaling to many users, (2) mechanisms for content access control and application isolation, and (3) the ability to host application logic near clients or data sources to reduce application latency. In this paper, we present the design and evaluation of the AR Edge Networking Architecture (ARENA) which is a platform that simplifies building and hosting collaborative XR applications on WebXR capable browsers. ARENA provides a number of critical components including: a hierarchical geospatial directory service that connects users to nearby servers and content, a token-based authentication system for controlling user access to content, and an application/service runtime supervisor that can dispatch programs across any network connected device. All of the content within ARENA exists as endpointsmore »in a PubSub scene graph model that is synchronized across all users. We evaluate ARENA in terms of client performance as well as benchmark end-to-end response-time as load on the system scales. We show the ability to horizontally scale the system to Internet-scale with scenes containing hundreds of users and latencies on the order of tens of milliseconds. Finally, we highlight projects built using ARENA and showcase how our approach dramatically simplifies collaborative multi-user XR development compared to monolithic approaches.« less
  4. Indoor localization systems typically determine a position using either ranging measurements, inertial sensors, environmental-specific signatures or some combination of all of these methods. Given a floor plan, inertial and signature-based systems can converge on accurate locations by slowly pruning away inconsistent states as a user walks through the space. In contrast, range-based systems are capable of instantly acquiring locations, but they rely on densely deployed beacons and suffer from inaccurate range measurements given non-line-of-sight (NLOS) signals. In order to get the best of both worlds, we present an approach that systematically exploits the geometry information derived from building floor plans to directly improve location acquisition in range-based systems. Our solving approach can disambiguate multiple feasible locations taking into account a mix of LOS and NLOS hypotheses to accurately localize with significantly fewer beacons. We demonstrate our geometry-aware solving approach using a new ultrasonic beacon platform that is able to perform direct time-of-flight ranges on commodity smartphones. The platform uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for time synchronization and ultrasound for measuring propagation distance. We evaluate our system's accuracy with multiple deployments in a university campus and show that our approach shifts the 80% accuracy point from 4 -- 8m to 1mmore »as compared to solvers that do not use the floor plan information. We are able to detect and remove NLOS signals with 91.5% accuracy.« less