NUBOMEDIA: FP7/2007-2013 GA-610576

Diminished reality: necessity for augmented reality

  • Diminished reality

Augmented reality (AR) refers to an interactive and real-time system where digital information is embedded to the physical reality. Augmented reality enables visualizing plans and future changes in real environment. The user can see a 3D model in an authentic milieu which helps understanding spatial relations and dimensions. AR applications often benefit from a diminishing functionality that enables removing existing elements as explained below.

In NUBOMEDIA, AR tools will be one of the available element for enriching the multimedia content. Interior design is one prominent application area of AR. Interior design plans are traditionally 2D floor plan drawings and ordinary people have sometimes difficulties understanding them. Testing furniture at home is problematic; one cannot bring a bunch of couches to home and see how they fit to the living room. AR enables testing furniture in real home virtually and concretizes interior design plans in real setting.

There is, however, a major problem in using augmented reality in interior design; the spaces are typically already occupied with old furniture and when augmentation is rendered on top of an image with existing furniture partially overlapping with the augmentation, the result looks incongruous (Figure b). In case the old furniture is not supposed to be part of the new interior design, the solution is to remove them virtually. Such functionality is called diminished reality. Diminished reality solution renders a patch over the existing furniture to hide it from the view. In ideal case the rendered patch resembles the real environment and the user is unable distinguish it from the view (Figure c). After diminishing, the space looks empty and the augmentation is possible. Augmentation over an empty space looks natural (Figure d).

a) original image

b) augmentation on top of original image

c) diminished image

d) augmentation on diminished image

Real environment is seldom ideal; the space under planning contains objects that will be removed and that thus should not appear in visualizations. Diminished reality functionality enables the use of AR technology in such cases. Diminishing functionality is an enabler for real AR visualization applications.

To learn more about diminished reality, you can read the following research paper:

Siltanen, Sanni; Saraspää, Henrikki; Karvonen, Jari, "[DEMO] A complete interior design solution with diminished reality," Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR), 2014 IEEE International Symposium on , vol., no., pp.371,372, 10-12 Sept. 2014