Augmenting Reality by Adding 'Intelligence' To Digital Images

Augmented Reality (AR) is a way of viewing digital information which has been superimposed – or augmented – onto a live view of the physical, real-world environment.  A geo-location-based AR application, for example, could use GPS, a compass and other sensors in a digital camera to provide a display of location-specific information about the scene viewed through the camera.  AR is limited by its use of a 2-dimensional display to represent what is seen in a 3-dimensional world.  U Albany’s “intelligent image” technology provides the ability to deliver and display 3-dimensional information (position and height) about geospatial features viewed in the real world onto a 2-dimensional image of a scene captured by a digital camera. 

For example, a hiker walking through a mountain range would be able to point her intelligent image camera at a scene and the intelligent image function would display the name of the peak in the view.  The image below simulates how someone in Zion National Park using Intelligent Image technology on the ground might see a feature from her momentary point of view.

Augemnted REality Image

A tourist on a boat in New York Harbor looking at the city skyline through his intelligent image camera would be able to identify specific buildings in his camera view.  This information would continuously update in real time in the view finder in response to the tourist’s continually changing field of view and line of sight.

Potential Applications

  • Tourism
  • Games
  • Mapping and navigation
  • Land surveying
  • Search and rescue
  • Pilotless flight

Competitive Advantages

  • Provides 3-dimensional information about the scene viewed through a digital camera, in real-time.
  • Can be used in fixed and mobile applications.

Technology Description

Our intelligent image technology uses GPS coordinates, azimuth and altitude angles, and GIS Digital Elevation Model data to deliver and display geospatial coordinate information (distance and height) in real time to enhance the value of a typical 2-dimensional image of a scene.  Additional environmental information is combined with traditional geo-spatial location information to correctly align virtual objects in augmented reality applications and create a seamless, realistic representation of a scene in real time.  The end result is an ability to blend virtual data – information, rich media and even live action – with what we see in the real world to deliver an intelligent image.

Stage of Development

This invention was developed by Dr. James Mower, in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University at Albany, SUNY and is protected by U.S. patent number 6,930,715.  A prototype is available for demonstration. 

For More Information Please Contact:
Peter Gonczlik
Office for Innovation Development and Commercialization
University at Albany, SUNY
ES 244
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12222
[email protected]
(518) 442-3270