Augmented reality is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data [wikipedia].
In previous instructables I showed how to make a 3D Nomad Space Probe out of cardboard using a laser cutter and out of plastic using 3D printing. Taking it to the next level, this instructable shows how to make a 3D Nomad Space Probe in augmented reality.
I made this at TechShop.
Step 1: Materials
To make a augmented reality model, all you will need is a computer with Computer Aided Design software like Autodesk Inventor or 123D Design that will let you save your model in .STL format, a handheld device with a built-in camera like an iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet, access to the Internet. You will also need an inkjet or laser printer and a few sheets of paper.
Step 2: Create the 3D Model with Autodesk Inventor
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Using plans I found on the web as a guide, I created a simplified 3D model of Nomad with Autodesk Inventor at TechShop. I created a Inventor part for each section of Nomad as shown in the first diagram. Screen shots of each of the parts from Inventor are shown in the second through fifteenth images. Each part has a hole in its center that I used to align ("constrain" in Inventor terminology) the parts during assembly in Inventor. Next I assembled the parts in Inventor to create the full 3D model of Nomad as shown in the last two diagrams. I then exported the assembled model to STL format which will be used by Augment in step 4. The Inventor files and the resulting STL file are attached to this step.
nomad inventor 2012 files.zip923 KB
Step 3: Install the Augment 3D App on Your Device
Next you will want to install the augmented reality app from Augment on your device. I used a iPod Touch so I searched the iTunes App Store and installed the free Augment - 3D Augmented Reality application. The app is available on Google Play for Android devices.
Step 4: Add the Model to the Augment Web Site
With the Augment app installed on your device, the next step is to add your model to the Augment web site.
Step 5: Print a Augmented Reality Marker
The way the augmented reality reality software knows where to place your model in reality is to use a "tracker". A tracker is a piece of paper with a unique design that would not be found anywhere except on the tracker. When the software "sees" the tracker in your device's camera view, it will display your model above the tracker.
To print the tracker:
Step 6: Generate Flash Code for the Model
You now need to generate a "flash code" for your model. The app on your device will use this flash code to load your model into the device. Make sure you're logged in to the Augment web site and click "View" next to your model (first screenshot). A new page will be displayed for your model with a QR code for your model (Augment calls this a flash code). Leave this page open for the next step.
Step 7: Launch Augment and Load Model
On your device, launch the Augment app. Point your device at the QR Code on your screen and click the app's "Scan QR Code" button. The app will now load your model into your device. Click the View now button to confirm you want the app to display your model in augmented reality. The app will now load your model.
Note: Since the time I captured the Augment applications screens on my iPod Touch for this instructable, Augment updated the application so the screens are a bit different but the process is still basically the same.
Step 8: Enter the Realm of Augmented Reality!
Voila! The 3D Nomad Space Probe is now in augmented reality at TechShop Menlo Park!