Engineering professors edit journal’s special issue on augmented reality

Vanderbilt engineering professors Jules White and Doug Schmidt, and University of Illinois professor Mani Golparvar-Fard, are guest editors of the February issue of Proceedings of the IEEE, the most highly-cited general interest journal in electrical engineering and computer science.

This special issue – Applications of Augmented Reality – delves into the notion of bridging the disconnect between the cyber world and physical world, also known as augmented reality, and focuses on new cutting-edge research applications of AR.

AR is an approach to visualizing cyber information on top of physical imagery and manipulating cyber information through interactions with real world objects. The issue explores the advances in the underlying computer vision, indoor/outdoor localization and human-computer interaction techniques that make these applications possible.

The issue points out the major challenge faced by users of cyber-physical systems: they can’t see and manipulate the cyber information needed to make decisions, in context, about the physical world.

“For example, a construction worker walking around a build site can see a 3-D model on his tablet for a project, but he can’t apply that model, directly, to the actual building that’s taking place around him. That disconnect can often lead to mistakes, and that’s where augmented reality comes in, connecting the physical and cyber world,” the editors said.

White is an assistant professor of computer science in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Vanderbilt. Schmidt is a professor and the associate chair of computer science in Vanderbilt’s Department of Electrical and Computer Science. Golparvar-Fard is a National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Fellow and assistant professor of civil engineering and computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The topics covered by the papers in this issue include:

  • An examination of key challenges that must be overcome to make AR an essential element of industrial software platforms.
  • The use of AR in safety-critical systems, such as automobiles.
  • Building AR applications that fuse data from unmanned vehicles and robots to enhance user perception of their environment.
  • Applications of AR in mobile computing.
  • Cognitive models for understanding the impact of AR on human perception and approaches for using these models to enhance therapeutic applications.
  • Research solutions for constructing real-world tools that can manipulate cyber information.
  • Approaches for enhancing the perceived realism of AR experiences.
  • Application of AR for facility management in the oil industry.

“Application of this technology will continue to uncover new needs. Already, privacy and security are becoming major concerns as Google Glass has gained increasing traction. This special issue provides a window into leading researchers who are helping solve these types of critical research challenges as they emerge,” they said.