What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a view of the physical world augmented by computer-generated graphics. These graphics are designed to aid the viewer by enhancing their overall awareness of the situation. Overlaid computer-generated graphics can represent various types of situational intelligence, such as map data, geo-coordinates, points of interest, and sensor data. When placed within a person's viewing reference, these generated graphics augment the viewer and allow them to make better decisions based on both visual information as well as database information broadcast in real-time over the video.
Since 1995, Rapid Imaging has been producing AR Technology to overlay various geographic and informational data to augment human visual perception. Below you'll find some of our past projects. The key to our technology is the ability to overlay various data inputs onto live video in real-time. We can do this all while maintaining data accuracy and correct geographic context.
Rapid Imaging created Landform®, a synthetic vision software designed for use in the NASA X-38 Remote Cockpit program, in 1995. This early application of augmented reality proved remote pilots experienced enhanced situational awareness when utilizing geographic overlays on live video. These overlays provided visual cues highlighting geographic points of interest, giving astronauts enhanced awareness in times of poor video transmission. In 2003, Rapid Imaging brought this technology to the Army where it was evaluated and eventually selected for full rate production on the TUAV Shadow from 2004-present. A 2005 Study by the Air Force Research Laboratory concluded Rapid Imaging's proprietary software, SmartCam3D, enhanced situational awareness of UAV Pilots and improved Target Acquisition Time by 100%. Since then, Rapid Imaging's software has been deployed on all U.S. Army and Marine Tactical UAVS, including Grey Eagle, since 2007.
Rapid Imaging has worked with a variety of governmental agencies in order to provide enhanced situational awareness to pilots. In 2007, NASA's Johnson Space Center sponsored Rapid Imaging's development of SmarTopo®, a technology designed to verify the location and size of various obstacles surrounding airports. The technology was successfully demonstrated on a NASA Research aircraft at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. During the 1-hour flight SmarTopo® was used to locate and measure known obstacles near the aerodrome to within 1 percent of the surveyed height. SmarTopo® would go on to be funded by the Department of Transportation through the FAA and under the management of NASA in order to create more direct, fuel-efficient approach procedures for aerodromes in the United States. To this day, Rapid Imaging continues to work with various national and local governmental bodies, most recently for an Emergency Management Table-Top Exercise.
Rapid Imaging has created a unique mobile application called SmartCam3D View®, in an effort to improve situational awareness for Part 107 Remote Pilots. The SmartCam3D View® application draws on years of research and development and leverages the unique expertise gained over 15+ years developing software for NASA and the military. The SmartCam3D View® app allows users to capture MISB Video, which is video inlaid with geographic context. Within each frame, a geocoordinate is inserted, allowing for accurate location-data across every pixel. Additionally, SmartCam3D View® includes a world-wide license to geographic data, including road names, points of interest, and other geographic information. With this data, users can experience live-video with augmented reality overlays inserted in real-time. This allows for heightened situational awareness and a real-time geographic context, providing viewers with enhanced, location-based, intelligence.
A 2005 Study by the Air Force Research Laboratory concluded Rapid Imaging's proprietary software, SmartCam3D®, enhanced situational awareness of UAV Pilots and improved Target Acquisition Time by 100%. These findings demonstrate the value associated with real-time augmented reality within live video for remote pilots. Whether these pilots are military personnel operating large unmanned aircraft, governmental personnel utilizing a variety of manned and unmanned assets, or commercial operators using small unmanned systems, the advantages tied to augmented vision supplemented with various geographic and other data intelligence is clear. A person viewing AR-enriched video has the ability to instantly understand where the camera is looking. The information is specific and supports the operator's situational awareness.
Rapid Imaging Software has an extended history in aviation-based intelligence. However, our Augmented Reality Software has utility across all imaging platforms, not just those in the air. Our SmartCam3D® Framework can be ported into various imaging platforms, including those that are ground-based, such as Security Cameras and Mobile Devices. This shows the utility of the software because it can be used for many different applications across various industries.