You are in the section: Technologies (Vadinia).
Basic everyday tasks require knowledge about the layout and organizational structure of the physical environment around us. For instance, going from our home to the bakery in order to buy fresh bread, requires a perfect knowledge of the way to follow, the layout of the traffic lights in our way and the kind of products on sale at the bakery. Buying specific products in other districts of our city requires even more complex knowledge, such as for example, the bus number we must get in, as well as the desired bus stop.
For many users around the world, this information is very difficult to be obtained, if not impossible.
People suffering dementia or severe memory-related disabilities might find very difficult to get their way around to the bakery. Without help from other users, it would be really difficult for blind people to know whether is it safe to cross the street (how many seconds of green light are left?) or what kind of delicious cakes they also could buy at the bakery. Foreigner visitors who do not understand our language, might find difficult or impossible to get on the right local bus or the get off in the right bus stop.
Recent widespread use of handheld devices (such as mobile phones) has encouraged the rise of a series of new cheap technologies related with ubiquitous computing and geographical context-aware applications that provide users real time information about the physical world around them.
Vadinia project makes use of such kind popular devices to make the interaction with physical environment around us more accessible for everybody. Geographic information is modeled for a multimodal interaction approach using small handheld devices powered by geographic location devices which informs the application about the exact geographic location of the users through the interactive experience.
Knowledge about the environment is easily edited in a Context Markup Language (CML) which renders its contents in real time using visual and auditory interfaces, providing an accessible interface for users with different kinds of disabilities. Although the standard interaction with the system is performed though the graphic pointing device of the hand held device (the Stylus in the Pocket PC) it can also be fully operated using the device buttons, providing a full interaction experience for visually disabled users.
This information displayed is powered by the use of Augmented Reality techniques also offering context awareness services and natural interaction; which are related to the concept of ambient intelligent, encouraging the creation of intelligent environments whose services fit dynamically the demand, not always made explicit for the user.
Designers or Vadinia applications can model the semantic of the geographic information in one or several CML documents with references to the different kind of multimedia objects supported by the system. They can be textual information, images and sounds, which are displayed whenever the user enters inside the range of coverage of a POI (Point of interest) included in the CML. Semantic meta data about this information is also broadcast through the auditory channel. This meta data provides extra semantic meaning for objects (such as images) that certain kind of users (such as blind people) can not perceive.
Once designed, the whole geographic model can be zipped into a single file that can be stored in the memory of the hand held device and loaded into the Vadinia application. Depending on the amount of information modeled, this file can be included in an external memory card.
Nevertheless, dynamic information is distributed and managed through a small network of handheld devices. Small pocket computers powered by wireless networks (Wifi) provide areas of coverage for specific zones of the geographic environment. Inside those zones, users might receive live information from the environment (for instance, are the traffic lights in the green status?) but also information from other users, enabling basic social exchange capabilities and encouraging the future development of collaborative geographic context aware systems.
Users of Vadinia-based technologies can use their own view of the information provided by the system, editing it and submitting it to the system so other users can get information updated by users who have visited the areas before. This approach enables a collaborative editing system for geographic objects, where several users can collaborate to provide life and accurate information for each piece of modeled environment.
Vadinida works in any PocketPC device running Compact Framework 2.0 and powered by a Wifi and Bluetooth connection. Current user location is obtained using GPS antennas (Global Positioning System) in open sky environments (such as cities, archaeological sites, etc.) and Bluetooth antennas inside buildings.
In order to test Vadinia, we have developed an interactive tourist guide of the city of Oviedo, capital city of the province of Asturias (Spain). The guide includes context aware information about the main monuments and buildings of the town describing their history using text, images and sounds. Users can also attach their own images and texts to the objects discovered during their visit.
A picture is better that 1.000 words, an a motion picture is even better! The videos and audios included below show of some of the key features of this technology:
Oviedo Tourist Guide. Interactive Guided Tour powered by context-aware augmented technologies. Users can modify the virtual environment uploading their own comments and multimedia objects [Video length: 05:51].
Mining and Industry Museum of Asturias. Interactive Guided Tour showing the indoors capabilities of the Vadinia techonology. Visitors of the Mining and Industry Museum of Asturias are able to play video games in their handheld devices, interacting with other users [Video length: 03:53].
Augmented Reality. This video shows the Augmented Reality features of the Vadinia technology. 3D objects collected by users during a guided visit are then rendered on top of the user's handheld device, which can be used to rotate, scale and transform the object [Video length: 01:52].
Virtual Museum with Augmented Reality. This feature of the Vadinia technology allows to create virtual exhibition rooms, where users are able to select their favourite artworks. [Video length: 01:01].
Virtual Flowers . This prototype for a botanical museum shows how virtual flowers can be rendered in real time on a piece of paper, being displayed using a $20 web cam. [Video length: 01:31].