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10. 06. 2005  10:47 | 09_EPFL

Designer's AR Toolkit

email excerpt:
To: Discussion on Augmented and Virtual Reality Technology (AR Forum); ARToolkit ARToolKit; director - Shockwave - and Flash Game Production; dart-announce@cc.gatech.edu; Dart Mailing List
Subject: [ARFORUM] Announcing release 2.0 of DART, the Designer's AR Toolkit

We are pleased to announce that a new release of DART (The Designer's Augmented Reality Toolkit) is available for download from our website.

For those unfamiliar with DART, it is a powerful, extensible AR authoring environment built on top of Macromedia Director. DART if available for free; the license (which is meant to be very liberal) is in each of the Director casts. DART is the product of a research project aimed at understanding how a wide variety of people think about creating experiences and systems that mix 3D virtual and physical spaces. So, what we really would like in return is feedback what you think, what works and what doesn't, and what you do with it) and acknowledgment when you publish or distribute things built with DART.

For an overview of DART, please read the DART_Overview.doc available in the download site, or for a more detailed look at the research behind DART, please read our UIST 2004 paper, available at http://www.cc.gatech.edu/ael/papers/dart-uist04.html

(Blair MacIntyre, Maribeth Gandy, Steven Dow, and Jay David Bolter. "DART: A Toolkit for Rapid Design Exploration of Augmented Reality Experiences." Proceedings on conference on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST'04), October 24-27, 2004, Sante Fe, New Mexico).
(If you are going to be at SIGGRAPH, we will be presenting this paper in the "Reprise of UIST and I3D" session, as one of the best papers from UIST last year!)

DART consists of a set of Lingo scripts and an Xtra plug-in that extends Macromedia Director with support for live cameras, marker tracking (using the ARToolkit or ARTag) and various hardware sensors and distributed shared memory (using VRPN). We chose to develop on top of Director as it provides a very full featured development environment with an active developer community and cross platform support (Win and Mac/OSX), something that academic software projects do not often have. All the scripts are open and editable, allowing a developer to easily create new components as needed.

Some Highlights of version 2.0
In addition to significant bug fixes and general improvements throughout the code and Xtra, some other highlights include ...
-Corrected scene hierarchy when loading 3D models. Now the parent-child relationships are preserved.
-Better handling of animations. Now includes support for bones as well as keyframe animations.
-Created a LightActor. Now you can place lights of all types in the scene and control them with a Transform script just like any other 3D Actor.
-Better 3D world cleanup. Fixed problems with 3D elements not being removed from the world when they went out of scope.
-New set of 2D HUD components.
-Improved TextActor that supports actions such as programmatically setting the text, changing font etc.
-New OverlaySketchActor that allows you to display still and animated images on the HUD.
-New OverlayMapActor that creates a 2D overhead map that automatically shows the locations and orientations of actors and cameras in the scene.
-New OverlayProgressBarActor that can be used to show a progress bar on the HUD that can be controlled programmatically.
-Support for creating large numbers of cues and actions.
-MultipleTimeCue lets you define lists of timecues in a textfile.
-MultipleActions allows you to define lists of actions for an actor in a textfile.
-New FlashActor that allows you to texture-map Flash content (even some interactive content) on ObjectActors. This feature will only work under Director MX 2004 and later.
-New ReplayAR behavior that transparently buffers all video and 3D transformations at runtime, giving you the ability to pause and review live video and tracker data when the need arises.
-You can now use LiveVideo (e.g. for marker tracking) without having to display the video in the background. Both Live and Playback video can be flipped horizontally and vertically.
-In LiveVideo, if you don’t specify a data directory the system will use the directory “Data” under the directory containing the Director file.
-System performs sanity checks to see if the DART data directory and camera calibration file are present when using the LiveVideo script, that the OpenGL renderer is being used (required for getting video into the background efficiently), and that the Xtra is present.
-A much more robust way of finding the target video texture in the Xtra.
-New DART-Debug cast that contains all debugging related behaviors.
-New MarkerDebugControls script that allows you to see the ARToolkit thresholded image with corner dots on detected markers while modifying the threshold value.
-Support for ARTag marker tracking (can be used instead of ARToolkit).

Posted by patrick keller at 10. 06. 2005 10:47