Ever since we’ve launched and used the amazing location aware conference application called Signpost at MEDC and TechEd, we’ve been getting a lot of interest in other events. The next time Signpost will be used will be next week during the Internal Microsoft technical event called TechReady 6 that will happen at the WSCTC in Seattle.
here’s the new version with new features and a new fiducial marker technology:
Signpost is a location-aware conference guide. It uses well established computer vision technology to track fiducial markers for sparse and low-cost wide area indoor tracking. Printed markers help Signpost identify your current location within conference buildings including the direction you are facing in to help you orient yourself. If you are a Signpost user and feel lost, just grab your cell phone and look for signs similar to the image on the right side at the conference venue, and let Signpost guide you.
Besides working as an “indoor GPS” to determine your current location at dedicated places, Signpost allows you to browse the detailed schedule of a conference or other events, shows you on a 2D map and in a 3D building model where each session is held, allows you to manage a favorite session list, and tells you where your sessions will be held.
You can search the schedule for sessions using various search criteria (day, category, time range) or typing phrases from the title or speaker name for full text search. Sessions can be added to your personal favorite list for easy access any time, and the location of a selected session’s room can be shown on a map image or in a 3D model with a single click. If you have a working network connection, the schedule can be updated using an RSS feed.
You can browse conference maps to find out where various conference facilities are located. You can pan and zoom the map freely to explore the conference venue. If you wish to see how the conference venue looks like in 3D, you can switch to a virtual “world-in-miniature” 3D model.
The live location mode uses your camera to capture markers in your environment. Just point your camera at a marker, and Signpost shows you where you currently are and which direction you are facing by rotating the view. Again, you can choose from a 2D map view or a virtual 3D model view.
Signpost features a fun scavenger hunt game. In this game virtual “Easter eggs”, 3D objects are hidden in the markers. To reveal them, just scan markers with your mobile device’s camera and collect all different items.
> Augmented Reality
The scavenger hunt game of Signpost turns your mobile device into a magic lens that superimposes virtual objects on top of the real environment. As you move you mobile device’s camera around, the virtual 3D objects are always rendered from the correct viewpoint, giving you the illusion that virtual and real coexist. This user interface metaphore is called Augmented Reality (AR). For more information, please check out the following webpages at the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision, Graz University of Technology, Austria:
> Signpost for your event?
With the kind support of the Windows Mobile Team, Signpost was first presented to a public audience in May 2007 at the MEDC (Microsoft Mobile & Embedded Developers Conference) 2007 in Las Vegas. A heavily extended version was presented for the Microsoft Tech-Ed conference 2007 in Orlando. Now we are glad to present Signpost to the audience of TechReady 6.
Signpost has been designed to be flexible and customizable as the content can be easily tailored to any other conferences or events. If you are interested in using Signpost for your event, we are happy to discuss application scenarios and implementation options with you. Please see our contact page for more information.
A video demonstrating the Signpost MEDC Edition can be downloaded from here. Please note that many features have been added to the the TechReady 6 Edition since MEC 2007 and are not shown in the video. A video of the current version will be available here soon.
The video is 9.5 MBytes large, has a resolution of 512×400 and is encoded with DivX 6 (which can be downloaded from here).