The Augmented Environments Lab (AEL) is a research group in the GVU Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The group has been working in the area of Augmented Reality since 1998, investigating how interactive computing environments can be used to directly augment a user’s senses with computer generated material.
We use the term Augmented Environments to emphasize our interest in systems and experiences where the physical environment is an essential element of the experience, and does not merely act as a background for the overlaid computer media. From the artifacts in a historic home to the people sharing a game around a kitchen table, the places and people are what gives the experience its meaning.
Most of our work is in the area of Augmented Reality (AR), where a media (typically graphics) are spatially registered with a user’s view of the world around them. We also work in the broader space of Mixed Reality (MR), using mobile and wearable devices to create location-based experiences that do not spatially integrate media with the user’s view of their environment. Our interests lie at many levels: from content and design through interaction techniques and game mechanics. We design, build and evaluate these systems using a range of human-centered computing methodologies.
The projects in the lab are usually driven by applications or design problems; we believe that tackling interesting problems (e.g., communication between machinery and workers on poultry processing lines) and design challenges (e.g., exploring multiple viewpoints in an interactive drama) push forward our understanding of the field. To support our work, we build tools to enable non-technologists to work with AR and MR systems, such as allowing designers to use the Director multi-media authoring environment, or game players to experiment with AR in massively multiplayer online worlds such as SecondLife.
Our current work is focused on handheld AR experiences and games, mobile AR (using both handhelds and head-worn displays), the interaction between online virtual worlds and AR, tracking and sensing for mobile AR, and the use of AR/MR in the support of business collaboration.