Discussion about this technology
In this project we have used the augmented reality to transform a simple breakfast in an exciting experience thanks to the technology provided by the game engine Unity3D and the AR SDK provided by Vuforia.
Nowadays people are alienated while eating at breakfast, they think that it is only a boring and time-consuming thing. Our society is focused on being productive and on making the most of our time during the day. In this scenario the meals are the first things that we neglect, for example more and more people are used to eat for breakfast not healthy food that can be eaten more quickly, and they look at their smartphone while there are eating in order to improve their multitasking and make more things at the same time, this leads to not enjoy the meal.
Our application focuses on making the breakfast more attractive using the augmented reality technology. The application uses an AR-ready device to show virtual objects and texture over the real one on the table used for the breakfast, in this way it creates a mixed world that is more attractive for the user then the usual one in order to focus his attention on the meal and on the food that he is eating.
The AR-ready device can be a webcam connected to a computer or, better, a smartphone. These kinds of devices are good because everyone has them, but the potential of this technology would be exploited to the maximum using a pair of AR glasses (like the Google Glasses or a device like the Microsoft HoloLens).
Whatever the device used, the application will show a mixed world where the texture of the boxes or of the can are replaced by some virtual scenes with virtual animated objects around the real ones. In this way the user is more attracted by the food he is eating, and the meal will become a funny experience and not only a waste of time.
Another purpose of our application is to inform people of what they are eating. Many people are not used to read the nutrition information of what they eat. In our application, if you put a box of a food you are eating or a can of your drink near your placemat then a virtual page will appear on your table showing you all the nutrition information of that food/drink. In this way the user will be more willing to read them. People are amazed and attracted from virtual objects and in particular when they appear in the real world in augmented reality so, probably, this way to show this information will be more effective that the traditional one.
Furthermore, the application shows in the real world two virtual magazines over their respective targets. In our model, the two magazines have two different functions. One has the purpose to attract the user to read information about a healthy diet (the Mediterranean one), the other magazine contains information about the space exploration and its purpose is to attract the user to learn more about topics inherent to some of the virtual scenes of the breakfast.
This technology can be applied not only at the breakfast but also to other meal during the day. However, it is more suitable for meal like breakfast and for the snacks during the day because in these cases you (usually) eat something ready-made and so you have the boxes of these foods in front of you on the table (instead of a cooked dish). Cooked dishes are more difficult to recognize and to track and it is almost impossible to retrieve every time the different nutrition information of them.
This technology can be also applied in other different situations with only some little changes. Suitable situations are, for example, decorative objects in the houses that can be simple targets that can become whatever the user want and that can show whatever information in an augmented reality world.