Emerging Technologies

Second Surface: Multi-user Spatial Collaboration System based on Augmented Reality

An environment for creative collaboration is significant for enhancing human communication and expressive activities, and many researchers have explored different collaborative spatial interaction technologies. However, most of these systems require special equipment and cannot adapt to everyday environment. This constraint prevents the interactive system from becoming a flexible platform for intuitive spatial expressions in physical environment. We introduce Second Surface, a novel multi-user augmented reality system that fosters a real- time interaction for user-generated contents on top of the everyday environment. This interaction takes place in the physical surroundings of everyday objects such as trees or houses. Second Surface uses image based AR recognition technology that recognizes natural image as the target. Based on the AR recognition, we estimate the pose of user’s device from the target object. Then our system allows users to place three dimensional drawings, texts, and photos relative to such objects and share this expression with any other co-located users who use the same software at the same spot. Our system can provide an alternate reality space that generates playful and natural interaction in an everyday setup for multiple users. Our goal is to create a second surface on top of the reality, invisible to the naked eyes could generate a real-time spatial canvas on which everyone could express themselves. We believe that our system can create an interesting and new collaborative user experience and encourages playful content generation. We also believe that our system can provide new ways of communicating within everyday environment such as cities, schools and households.

Shunichi Kasahara
Sony Corporation, MIT Media Lab

Valentin Heun
MIT Media Lab

Austin Lee
MIT Media Lab

Hiroshi Ishii
MIT Media Lab