AR Tennis

A collaborative augmented-reality game for cellphones. On their cellphones, two players see a virtual tennis court overlaid on the real table between them. They move their phones to hit virtual balls across the net.

Enhanced Life
AR Tennis could enhance daily life because it shows how mobile phones could be used to create compelling, shared augmented-reality (AR) experiences. Current AR applications have limited use, largely because the required hardware is too expensive for the average consumer. However, hundreds of millions of phones are sold every year with integrated cameras, displays, and on-board processing, and so for the first time, average consumers have access to their own mobile AR platforms.

AR Tennis incorporates four key technologies to provide an engaging experience: These technologies are combined to create the first collaborative AR experience on a mobile phone.

To explore how consumer-level mobile phones can be used to provide a compelling, collaborative AR experience. This requires careful development of interface metaphors for mobile AR applications and investigation of how collaborative AR gaming is different from other types of mobile phone gaming. This project developed new mobile-phone AR interaction techniques and conducted user studies to compare collaborative AR games with more traditional mobile-phone gaming.

Several core technical innovations are demonstrated in this project, including: The project also demonstrates the use of OpenGL ES in a mobile 3D game application and how Bluetooth can be used to develop a peer-to-peer communications layer to support mobile face-to-face collaboration.

In the same way that the first computer monitors allowed artists to view 3D computer graphics, this work gives artists and content developers a platform for creating collaborative experiences in the real world based on consumer cell phone hardware.

Computing is moving from the desktop to the pocket, which creates new opportunities for using computers to interact with the world around us and each other. In the future, phones and other portable devices will be used to provide mobile AR experiences that will enable seamless integration of 3D computer graphics into the real world. AR interfaces will also be used to provide compelling face-to-face and remote collaborative experiences, and more intuitive ways to interact with 3D graphics. AR Tennis points to a future where collaborative graphics applications are no longer tied to the desktop or expensive hardware. Compelling collaborative AR applications can now be delivered to mobile phones used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

The next steps for mobile-phone AR is to further explore the appropriate interaction metaphors so that users can indeed interact intuitively with 3D graphics content. Better tools also need to be developed for creating mobile-phone AR applications and the digital content shown in those applications. All of these efforts will be supported by improved hardware, especially with migration of dedicated 3D graphics chips to mobile phones.

Emerging Technologies Sketch

Mark Billinghurst
HIT Lab NZ, University of Canterbury
mark.billinghurst (at)

Mark Billinghurst
David Sickinger
HIT Lab NZ, University of Canterbury

Anders Henrysson
Mark Ollila
NVIS, Linköpings Universitet