AT&T Stadium in Dallas is famous for 3 reasons.
Firstly, the stadium is home to the Dallas Cowboys, the most valuable sports team in the world. Second, at a cost of $1.3 billion, the stadium is one of the most expensive sports venues ever built. Finally, in 2009, it was crowned the largest domed venue in the world.
Last month, AT&T Stadium entered the record books once again, by becoming the first venue in the world to fully harness the AR-Cloud, powered by fifth-generation networking technology (5G).
Before the NFL game started last week, roughly 80,000 American football fans were invited to see what 5G-enabled augmented reality looks like.
As fans held up Samsung 5G-enabled phones, the stadium came to life with 80ft football players, who were transported outside the stadium and onto the field using AR. Throughout the game, players’ performance and statistics were enhanced and brought to life in augmented reality.
The application was designed and created by Nexus Studios and made possible thanks to Scape Technologies’ visual positioning technology, which enables mobile devices all around the stadium to recognize their precise location. Scape’s service was recommended by Nexus as the best solution to ensure that AR content was anchored to exactly the right position within the scene, accurately and reliably, at scale.
However, preparing a venue like the AT&T Stadium for the world’s first 5G-enabled AR demonstration is no small task.
Making it happen
To augment a scene as large as a stadium, first, the Scape Technologies team has to build a 3D model of the venue, to augment the scene around. This involves capturing images and video using a regular consumer-grade camera. The imagery is processed using Scape’s ‘Vision Engine’ and the resulting map is uploaded to the cloud, in order to be referenced by Scape’s Visual Positioning API.
As mentioned in previous posts, one of the biggest challenges in camera-based location recognition is to recognize the same location at different times of the day. In addition, repetitive patterns, shiny symmetrical surfaces & crowded environments can make this challenging.
However, thanks to Scape’s unique approach, discussed in previous blogs, Scape’s visual positioning API is able to perform reliably & accurately, regardless of time of day, dynamic scenes or changing environmental conditions.
(It even works flying on a drone, but that’s for another blog post!)
Having mapped the environment, and enabled the visual positioning service, Nexus Studios continued the development within the Unity game engine and created a set of unique tools to facilitate with authoring and designing the AR content.
The final app was built for Samsung devices, capable of utilizing the lightning-quick 5G networking capabilities AT&T Stadium had to offer. Thanks to Samsung’s 5G hardware and a custom streaming format developed by Nexus Studios, high-resolution volumetric video could be buffered straight to mobile devices, without having to download in advance. This dramatically lowers the barrier for users to dive straight into the action and experience the ‘Mirrorworld’ for themselves.
The future of 5G-enabled Augmented Reality
We believe that 5G-enabled augmented reality will transform the way we view, navigate and experience the world. Over the years to come, the bridging of the digital and physical world will enable new interactions, bringing people closer than ever before.
As a company, we couldn’t be more excited to be at the forefront of making that happen today!
If you are keen to learn more about the work we are doing at Scape or what you can do to partner with us, please, get in touch.
Edward is co-founder & CEO of Scape Technologies, a computer vision startup in London, building a real-time 3D map of the world that devices can use to understand their physical environment.
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