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4 Conclusions

The teaching methodology explained in connection with this item is thought to introduce our grade students to virtual and hand-held augmented reality (HHAR) to superimpose virtual models on real scenes. Having previously developed test methods to confirm the motivation of our students to work with VR and AR technologies, our next point will be to determine the best resources and systems to introduce these techniques in the educational community.

In later papers the implementation of this methodology in a practical course at the Architecture University of Barcelona (ETSAB) will give us information about advances and users results about different issues:

VR software and rendering

AR applications

GIS (geographical information) systems on mobile devices

Computer graphics have become much more sophisticated, becoming more realistic. In the near future, researchers plan to display graphics on TV screens or computer displays and integrate them into real-world settings. Therefore, geometrical formulation of 3D architecture for virtual representation is now possible with 3D SketchUp, Rhinoceros or Autocad due their compatibilities in DBX or DWG files to generate a database.

In the field of architecture, virtual reality rendering requires several options for ambient occlusion such as color, reflection or material, using tools and files allowing the introduction of the latitude and light-time. Based on these premises we will work with Artlantis, V-ray or 3DStudioMax to offer more interactivity with real-world environment.

Fig. 6. Geographic information channel linked on a 3D model

The implementation of AR can be explored in various areas of knowledge, contributing significantly in education. It provides great potential in the creation of interactive books, allowing intuitive and easy to learn interaction. Developing on our previous experiences using AR applications we decided to use ArMedia (iOS) and to develop a new application for Android, RA3. The major difference between the two platforms that display AR services is the GIS (geographical information system): iOS works with GPS and Android needs a marker based on regular shapes (i.e. QR codes) as location encoders. GPS systems are not currently accurate enough to aid in the teaching of architecture. Therefore, in case of urban planning it is recommended to replace the GPS for location based on shapes or QR codes.

Fig. 7. Comparison of composed images of different students from the experimental group and the process to adapt the proposal in a correct size

Fig. 8. Student proposals with compositions more similar using AR

Analyzing the experience, and accepting that we are in the first feasibility study phase of the methodology to be implemented, the first conclusion of the exercise is that the students detect the correct point of view after placing the 3D geometry in the scene from its photo-composition. In other words, they are not capable of interpreting the information from the EXIF file, a situation that can lead to a great disparity of data because of the lack of homogeneity in the sensors. With this procedure, the angle of vision of a flat monocular image is reduced (with a relatively closed field ranging between 4045º), very differently from the panoramic field that has a human user. For this reason, the proposed sculptures are smaller, as it has happened with the students that carried out the experiment, it will be necessary to adjust them in the final step using the RA. In relative terms, the increase in the size of the sculptures has been around 25%, once the students were located in situ and they were able to see the size of the square firsthand. This adjustment has been similar in both the iOS devices and Android, and whether their screens were 4 or 7 inches, which means that the size of the screen it is not significant.

Regarding the use of markers, six works were delivered: two were with markers and four geo-referenced. All students described some relative difficulties for fine adjustment of the models, although these were not insurmountable. On the other hand, the initial location of the object was considered easier using the mark, after which the students proceeded to move, rotate and scale the model on its final location. The only disadvantage is that it must always be visible in the scene.

For the students who used geo-referencing, the most difficult initial step was to locate the object in the square given the lack of accuracy of the mobile phones GPS, which forced them to move through the square in addition to adjusting the height in relation to the observer. The best way to facilitate this first approach is to use a QR code on the location to download the model.

To conclude, we can affirm that the experiment is viable and, if we can corroborate these results in the future with a big sample of users, we will be able to affirm that these experiments are the proof of the suitability of the method to solve these types of problems of urban design. Similarly, initially we can affirm that the students felt comfortable and were very motivated with this type of experiment in comparison with traditional classes, involving themselves for more hours than expected, which generated quality work and consequently an increase in their qualifications that are currently being evaluated.

Acknowledgements. Project funded by the VI National Plan for Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation, 2008-2011, Government of Spain. No EDU-2012-37247/EDUC.

 
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