Juhannus seminar 2012

On June 21st Aalto Media Factory organized a Juhannus (Midsummer) seminar. The idea of the seminar was to have a look at the ongoing academic year. Speakers of the seminar were Dr. Akira Sano from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Kyushu Sangyo University in Japan, as a keynote speaker, professor Philip Dean, director of Department of Media and Media Factory, Dr. Lily Diaz, professor at Media Lab, Department of Media and Dr Antti Raike, who works as a senior advisor at Aalto University Vice Rectors Office.

Creating Real-Size Augmented Reality Content without 3D Modeling Skills

Dr Sano presented his latest research, how real-size augmented reality (AR) content is possible to create without 3D modeling skills. “The knowledge (of dimensions) is not enough, you must feel it”. The size of an artwork, for example, has significant meaning. It is totally different to stand in front of a painting sized seven meters by three meters than to see the painting in a book or even see a miniature from it (SIBS – Seeing Is Believing System).

In his work he has come to a conclusion that Web browser based systems are preferable because, 1) users are not ready to install separate programs for a new service and, 2) few people many have 3D / CAD program knowledge

In the developed software/service it is possible to easily take pictures from each side of the object; front, left, right, back and top and implement these in the service and then observe the object with a camera installed in a computer.

Such a system was build and tested with users. The users found the system a bit clumsy but the also appreciated that they were able to build AR content easily. It was also found that the content the users created were only those created from around their desks. A new set of goals was found:

* no special software
* no 3D modeling skills nor knowledge of the 3D software should be needed by the users
* multi-platform compatibility
* easy creation of real-size AR content everywhere

The RealSizedAR system was then build for smart phones containing a camera.

The principles from the computer based system were maintained, namely the service advises the user to take pictures (front, right, back, left and top) with a mobile phone camera and saves them to the server. The pictured objects are then viewable real-size through the service with the help of markers.

According to the user tests, the mobile application made it possible to capture objects of varying sizes. In the computer based system only objects near to the desk of the users were observed. The size of the objects had grown substantially. Even pets were pictured.

Communicating the size is important and has affects to how the thing will be interpreted by the observer, especially cultural heritage objects, art objects, as well as commercial products like furniture and AV devices like TV set (Sony), amongst others.

The system is possible to test: http://okosama.org/AR/index.php

Akira Sano: A Web Application for Creating Real-Size Augmented Reality Content without 3D Modeling Skills, Information and Systems in Education, Vol. 10, No. 1 2011 pp.32-38

An insight to the Department of Media at Aalto ARTS

Prof. Philip Dean’s presentation included an insight to a strategy work of Aalto School of Art, Design and Architecture that has been done during the year. Several meetings and workshops have been held. According to a report of evaluators of Aalto University the departments operate too independently. Cooperation between departments should be increased.

The university evaluation system in which papers of doctoral candidates without finance are not counted within the results of departments has caused concern. For example, within the department of media the official number of journal articles published last year is 9, yet the number including the non-financed doctoral candidates is 15. This is really a great difference. However, compared to the other departments in Aalto ARTS, the Department of Media has achieved very good results.

Prof. Lily Diaz presented one of the System of Representation research group’s (SysRep) virtual reality simulation about the Vrouw Maria shipwreck that is installed currently at the Maritime Centre, Vellamo, in Kotka, Finland. The virtual reality simulation system uses gesture based interface i.e. no keyboards, mice or other equipment is needed for the interaction. The Vrouw Maria cargo ship sunk in a storm in the archipelago of Nagu, Finland in 1771. The shipwreck is very well conserved but fragile and the water around is murky. That’s why the wreck is impossible for more than a handful of experts to investigate . However the virtual reality simulation gives an outstanding opportunity to observe it. Since the 3D model has been made as stereo the sense of reality is even higher. The project is a multi-disciplinary cooperation with archeologists, the Finnish navy and Aalto ARTS and it continues the work the SysRep group which was initiated at the beginning of the millennium.

A new cultural heritage course will be arranged during the next semester for Aalto University students and staff of museums. In the course the replicas of the design / cultural heritage objects are central subjects. The idea is to give the audience a possibility to touch the items. Aalto Fab Lab at Aalto Media Factory will be the venue for the course.
Dr. Diaz also presented a media ethnography project that includes interviews of well known designers. It was discussed that maybe this could also include interviews of the technical group.

More information can be found: http://sysrep.aalto.fi/vrouwmaria/installation/

Prototyping an online learning tool for film post-production

Dr. Antti Raike presented a tool for teaching film production to the students of film. For them it is essential to know 1) the basic film production pipeline and 2) the effects on the final budget resulting from the decisions and solutions made in the process.

The tool contains colour codes for importance of items. The colour codes were chosen on the strength of the results of Dr. Raike’s earlier research, VIPP. The development of the tool needs continuation and resources. Also it could be good if the 100 year old film making pipeline could be elaborated so that it would also include internet media and other interactive media production processes (games etc.), which in fact, also have had, and will have, effects on the processes of film making.


Presenting items or ideas in a new way was present in the work of all presenters, yet they have different backgrounds and points of views. The Vrouw Maria shipwreck simulation is a carefully made simulation (or virtual replica) of a wreck that is unreachable for the audience and the real-size AR system makes possible for all (who have mobile phone with camera and internet connection) to create 3D content and deliver it to others. The tool for a film production pipeline presents an abstract idea in somewhat visual form, which helps the students of film production to better understand the connections of the decisions made in the production. It is also considered important from the design university point of view that all development work results, in addition to traditional research articles and papers, will be counted as equal results in the evaluations of universities performance.

Our thanks to all the participants.

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