Experimenting with Apple's ARKit

1 Comment

Experimenting with Apple's ARKit

ARKitTA-692719332.jpg

Augmented Reality (AR)  is coming quickly to your pocket. This year’s developer conferences for Google, Facebook, and Apple all had a very heavy focus on AR and VR technology; it is a safe assumption that augmented reality will be the next “mobile.”

At The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017 in June, Apple introduced a new software development library/kit that enables developers to turn iPhones and iPads into augmented reality devices without the burden of custom implementing a Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM) solution. In other words, Pokemon Go is just the beginning. There are approximately 300,000 iOS app developers in the United States market alone, greatly affecting the Apple platform by making it easy to develop with augmented technologies.

Pulse Design Group  is focused on the comprehensive field of immersive computing from Virtual Reality to Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. We started building with the toolkit immediately to investigate potential use cases, and to get a better understanding of feasibility and timelines. There are great possibilities for Augmented Reality on iOS devices, and remarkable use cases for training simulation and architectural applications. The following is an example of our early proof of concepts and provides a brief rundown of the process.

SteveSquat.gif

In this gif you can see how the iPad is able to move freely around the room while presenting content that appears to persist in the virtual space. Apple accomplishes this through what they call “Visual-Inertial-Odometry,” which is the blending/cross referencing input from the camera and the internal motion sensors in the mobile device.

The current hardware and software requirement is any iPhone or iPad with an A9 processor or better, and iOS 11. We installed the update and got started! We used the Unity development engine in this project due to its current support for ARKit. Below are the techie details for how we implemented one of our models into an ARKit project.

A current version of Unity needed to be installed to begin development for ARKit. The link to download can be found here.

After installing of Unity create a new project, then download the plugin for ARKit. 

 

Now the fun begins!

Initially, we took one of our existing architectural models of an operating room and imported the .fbx file from Autodesk 3DS Max into one of the example ARKit scene samples that were provided in the above link to the asset store, which worked immediately! One difficult thing to account for is how ARKit will read the real world space, therefore it is necessary to package and export your project to the device and run the software on compatible hardware. It is hard to get an exact sense of what is happening in the app from the Unity viewport/simulator alone. The ARKit plugin for Unity performs most of its magic in relation to the camera viewport, which doesn’t exactly come across in the in editor viewport.

At this point, we built and ran the program on the device and found that our model was inhabiting a surface plane that was detected and properly used by ARKit! However, this was not enough and we quickly realized that we needed to implement some sort of simple control scheme to navigate the model. We concluded that the best method was the tried and true “pinch to zoom” and “tap to place” control scheme. To do this, we implemented a C# library called “LeanTouch” which allowed us to set some of this behavior in Unity. One issue we ran into was separating a “one finger tap” from a “two finger pinch.” This was an issue because users typically do not remove both pinching fingers from the screen at the exact same time, leaving a brief moment where one finger was down, registering with Unity the “one finger tap” command, and thereby moving the model to the last registered tap. We are currently getting around this with a three finger requirement for tap to place, so it will not interfere with the pinch to scale implementation.

Special note time: Pulse Design Group has a branded RGB shade of green that is used for all promotional marketing and other visual elements. By simply finding and changing the RGB value of the particle emission system, we were effectively able to customize the look of the application to fit our company’s branding.

An ARKit demo that features a flyover map application.

An ARKit demo that features a flyover map application.

The result is an impressive demo to show and introduce ARKit to our clients. Additionally, we are able to showcase our work in a 1:1 scale, or in a smaller scale dollhouse view, as long as we are using an iOS device!

At Pulse Design Group, we will continue to improve the ARKit demo, add functionality and interaction, investigate the best possible use-case for the software, and build internal concepts. ARKit is very promising and appears to make AR development much easier than it was just three months ago.  


To learn more or further discuss AR technology, contact Andrew London at alondon@pulsedesigngroup.com or Steve Biegun at sbiegun@pulsedesigngroup.com

 

1 Comment

Table of Experts: Health Care

Richard Embers, Pulse Design Group Principal, weighs in on the Kansas City Business Journal's Healthcare Table of Experts. 

Embers explains how the expanding role of technology is changing what health care facilities look like. Click here to hear his answer. 

 

New Pain and Sleep Clinic

Project photography of a new pain and sleep clinic that Pulse Design Group recently renovated and relocated. The Pain clinic is an outpatient facility that includes four exam rooms, one ultrasound room, two procedure rooms, four prep/recovery bays, administrative spaces and support areas.  The Sleep Lab is also an outpatient clinic and consists of two sleep rooms, each with a private bathroom. To minimize the total square footage, many support spaces are shared by the two clinics.  The adjacent public circulation area was also given a finish upgrade with additional amenities.

Mixed Reality

Comment

Mixed Reality

It's difficult to really understand what virtual reality is like without putting a headset on your face. Mixed reality video, a combination of physical and virtual image capture, is probably the best means to explain what a VR experience is like without the use of a headset.

Let's talk about what that means and how we're utilizing exciting new technology like the Vive Tracker to improve communication with our audience.

Comment

Welcome Catie!

Pulse Design Group is excited to welcome Catie Smith the team! Catie is an Interior Designer and brings over five years of industry experience to the department. 

Comment

Westwood Campus PET CT Project

A new state-of-the-art PET CT Scanner was recently installed at the Westwood Campus for The University of Kansas Health System. 

The new Discovery MI DR scanner provides a more accurate diagnosis earlier with a more precise treatment process. This particular model is the second in the nation to be installed, and the first in the region.

Inside the scan room is a unique Armstrong ceiling system comprised of wood slats in a prism shape, mimicking the shape and direction of the scanner. The warm wood tones and interesting shape provide visual interest to patients during the scan process. A similar pattern is displayed in the flooring below, tying the room together with a cohesive, earthy atmosphere.

Comment

Comment

Medical Equipment Planning

Medical equipment planning is the strategic placement of equipment in buildings that require equipment; from hand sanitizer dispensers, to MRI machines. Planning and coordination of medical equipment can be one of the biggest challenges of healthcare design.

In this post, we discuss some of the ways that we utilize medical equipment planning to benefit our clients and to coordinate with teams to properly equip medical facilities.

Comment

Pulse Design Group Support Brands

Pulse Design Group has been serving the Kansas City and surrounding regions for over 35 years. Starting purely as an architectural design firm, today we offer much more than our design expertise. Our services have expanded and now include architectural design, interior design, medical equipment planning and virtual reality. We truly understand the universal needs of healthcare facilities and pride ourselves on providing expert guidance every step of the way for our clients.

Our services can be combined or performed independently based on the scope of the project. In order to define our services, we have created new support brands to articulate each service and how they operate. Each service corresponds to a unique name and support brand identifier that complements the Pulse brand but remains strong enough to stand.

Our support brands are as follows: pulse, tone, rhythm and vibe. Each corresponds to one of our services: architecture, interiors, equipment planning and virtual reality.

Pulse = Healthcare Design

Healthcare design is our core service and foundation, it is our pulse. Designing cutting-edge environments that maximize efficiency and create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces is our passion. Pulse is not only a medical term, but also elicits a sound - the musical beat of our business. Pulse fits well with our architectural design services because it is what started Pulse Design Group and really the base of what our firm creates.

 Tone = Interior Design

Interior design is an important aspect of design. Interiors convey the tone and feeling of a space. Tone represents our interior design service. The finishes selected in a given environment convey the look and feel of a space. Combined with furniture, artwork and everything in between, our interior design elements bring your vision to life and sets the tone of the space. The tone of a well-designed space can lend to an inviting and warm atmosphere. We strive to make every space comforting and functional, an important aspect in healthcare.

Rhythm = Equipment Planning

Rhythm represents our equipment service. Including the equipment planning team early in the design and planning process improves project success with accurate equipment specifications, project coordination, budget and plans resulting in reduced change orders and project delays. The streamlined process of the medical equipment team creates a rhythm to the overall project flow. Each project is on a deadline and follows a tempo. Medical equipment planning keeps the rhythm of each project and is a unique service offered by Pulse Design Group.

Vibe = Virtual Reality

Our virtual reality capabilities are cutting edge. In order to avoid surprises or discrepancies in our projects, we provide a way for our clients to experience and react to the space prior to construction. Vibe represents our virtual reality services that immerses the user into a virtual environment, allowing them to experience and interact with the space. Vibe portrays the energy and feeling that you get upon virtually inhabiting a space. When clients are allowed to experience and feel the vibe of their space before construction, they feel more comfortable with continuing on to the construction phase. 

As our firm grows and we add services to our resume, we believe that it is important to help our clients understand our firm and what we can offer them. Through the creation of our support brands, we can convey how Pulse Design Group has grown since our original presence as purely an architecture firm. Although each separate service can operate independently, they can be combined to offer clients a “one stop shop.”

These support brands were created to communicate our growth and our potential and we are excited to share them! 

"Architects use VR to let providers troubleshoot hospital design," Kansas City Business Journal

Virtual reality allows clients and user groups to become totally immersed into highly realistic, interactive 3D visualizations of proposed designs. It allows users to experience architecture and make real-time decisions that impact the final project. Check out this article from the Kansas City Business Journal on how we are utilizing this incredible technology.

http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2016/11/28/vr-pulse-design-group-ku-hospital-architecture.html?ana=e_ae_set2&s=article_du&ed=2016-11-28&u=CbAiVms4z%2FF0XSuhgpZKuA0f4e000e&t=1480368654&j=76582911