1000 Realities: Edge-enabled Augmented Reality

1000 Realities is a Polish software studio that specializes in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications. Their goal is to provide a spectrum of services ranging from training to software development with a focus on the importance of low-latency within cellularly connected applications, specifically an application called AR Assistant.

AR Assistant enables a user -- for example a factory operator or service technician -- using light weight, minimally obtrusive, AR glasses, to see an annotated picture of their environment, giving access to operating variables or user manual information for the equipment in view.

AR Assistant uses a high-bandwidth, low latency cellular connection, to augment the processing available in the glasses with processing and analysis from a connected server. AR Assistant determines the location, visual orientation and context of the user by continually processing a video stream from the glasses, and using software called CloudSLAM to interpret that video stream with respect to a 3D model of the environment (the factory and the equipment) to determine the location and orientation (field of view) of the user. The server software then integrate real time instrumentation data (or user manual information) and positions this information appropriately as a visual overlay that the AR glasses presents to the user.

The Problem

The practicality of AR Assistant depends on the use of minimally intrusive AR glasses which depends in turn on the ability to off-board the computationally and data intense parts of the application to a connected server. Making that work in real-time so that the user tracking and visual annotation keep up with the user depends on a high-bandwidth and low latency connection between the user and the server. Modern cellular connections provide more than adequate bandwidth but the latency to traditional cloud server resources (50-60ms) was too long for 1000 Realities video processing methodology which needed network latencies less than the 33ms refresh cycles of the 30 frame per second video. The usability of the application is also improved to the degree the delay between computing the visual overlay and presenting it visually to the user is minimized.

The Solution

Working with MobiledgeX and using the MobiledgeX Cloudlets that have been deployed with the Deutsche Telekom infrastructure in Central Europe, 1000 Realities was able achieve <30ms latency, less than the 33ms required for operation of the application and by doing so demonstrate that this innovative and valuable application could be operated over modern, edge accelerated cellular infrastructure.

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