Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
This master thesis is about Augmented Reality (AR), a phenomenon that has existed since the mid-fifties but only recently has become available for the general public. This report is a knowledge compilation about AR, focusing on AR in cell phones and the use of the technology in traffic related situations.
AR is usually described as adding a digital layer of information onto the real world. There are different technologies to make virtual images; in cell phones sensor-based and camera-based technologies are the most common ones.
In this report, the market of AR applications for cell phones has been investigated. Three use cases have also been investigated in order to get more knowledge about the designers' thoughts and visions.
In order to analyze the technology and the applications in a broader and more scientific perspective, two theories has been used: Situation Awareness (SA) and the Service Dominant Logic (SDL). These theories seem useful when reflecting on the Swedish road administrations vision, and to investigate what the applications and the AR technology can contribute to the traffic domain.
The conclusions of this thesis are that:
- AR can be applied on most of the human senses, but augmenting by visualization is most common.
- The market for cell phone applications is growing rapidly: AR applications are relatively new but on the rise. Among AR applications games, marketing, tourism and information about the neighborhood are today the most important categories. Android (Google) and iOS (iPhone) are the main operating systems on the Swedish market.
- AR applications are a new way to communicate and interact. It can be seen as a relatively easy way to reach new targets or a great amount of people. Depending on the content of the applications they can for example be used to distribute information and increase security in certain situations.
- Mobile applications, as well as other IT-services and products, should satisfy the requirements for usability and reliability, but they must also be requested by potential users. An application with no user value will soon be out of market, ignored or forgotten. Applications that are complicated or generate safety risks for the user are not acceptable either. When developing and deploying new technologies, like AR-applications, it is important to evaluate such technologies from a point of view where it is possible to include prior knowledge, surrounding factors and the surrounding world. In conclusion, such applications should be evaluated from a socio-technical point of view, not just by the functionality the provide us with.
- The development of AR technology is strongly connected to the development of cell phones. More advanced cell phones means more improved AR applications.