This guest post on ISMAR 2009 is by Felix G. Hamza-Lup, one of our reviewers and an assistant professor at Armstrong Atlantic State University. He also served as the professional network chair of the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) 2009.
ISMAR (www.ismar09.org) is held in North America, Asia, and Europe on a rotating basis. This year, it was held in Orlando, Florida. ACM and IEEE, as well as a set of industrial partners, sponsored the event.
Augmented reality (AR) is the visual augmentation of the real environment with computer-generated images to improve and convey additional information to the user. Mixed reality (MR) represents any augmentation of the real environment, all the way to a complete virtual environment, but excluding it (as illustrated in this figure):
ISMAR 2009 followed three parallel tracks:
Science and Technology covered research sessions on novel user interfaces, motion tracking on mobile devices, human
factors, and modeling, as well as posters and AR system demonstrations. This year, there was an increased interest in the development of AR applications in conjunction with mobile devices. Since the computational resources of mobile platforms are now powerful enough, the AR mobile applications market may increase significantly in the next few years, specifically driven by AR games. One of the most interesting demos was the EyePet for the Sony PlayStation, presented at the experiential learning workshop. The game uses a camera to allow a virtual pet to interact with a real user. The computer-generated pet is able to interpret different objects and react to the user’s gestures.
Arts, Media and Humanities covered research sessions on AR in sports, entertainment, and advertising, and on designing for the MR/AR experience. Posters and panel discussions about the applications of AR in the media and arts were also presented.
The Tutorial Track allowed students and participants to learn about state-of-the-art developments in motion tracking, MR/AR programming and experience creation, AR game design, 3D display technologies, and enhancing human performance with MR/AR.
This year, several excellent keynote speakers presented their projects. Among them, Pattie Maes from MIT Media Lab presented the SixthSense project, and Natasha Tsakos presented her viewpoint on experience creation, blending technology and theater.
ISMAR 2009 also hosted a tracking competition sponsored by Volkswagen. Participants in the competition had to determine the position of several objects in a room guided by specially placed markers. Contestants brought in their own hardware and software tracking systems, and earned bonus points for accuracy and speed. The winner was the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD team, with eight tracked objects in 31:17 minutes with an accuracy of 20.7 mm, for a total of 11 points; the Metaio team followed with six points.
A professional networking group “ISMAR 2009” was set up on LinkedIn.com to keep the research community informed about future ISMAR conferences.
Last photo courtesy of G. Carmichael
 P. Milgram, H. Takemura, A.Utsumi, F. Kishino. (1994) “Augmented Reality: A class of displays on the reality-virtuality continuum”, Proc. SPIE Vol. 2351, p. 282-292, Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies.