Using Real-World Gravity in Augmented Reality

Here in Wiglet Land, we are working on using the accelerometers in smartphones to determine the direction of gravity for our augmented reality apps.

I noticed a short video that appears to be detecting gravity in order to tell the creepy character to shift its balance.

directions-300x237This is just the beginning of what can be done when real-world directions (such as the direction of gravity) are used as input for animations.

But there’s more. Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly aware of their orientations in the real world, which includes detecting magnetic north – you know – in the neighborhood of Santa Claus.

For those of you who know the math, if you know two directions (such as the direction of gravity and the direction of magnetic north) you can apply what is known as a “cross product”, and do a few tweaks to the directions to come up with a pretty good approximation of a third (THE third orthogonal direction) which is either east or west.

This is cool, because it means you can tell the augmented reality system the orientation of your “virtual camera”.  The result of this is that you can situate your 3D content more realistically in a real-world setting.

Stay tuned for updates from Wiggle Planet on the use of real-world gravity in our apps. Meanwhile, here’s a video I made a few months ago that shows a test of the gravity vector, to be used for characters in games:

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