MARS - Mobile Augmented Reality Systems

Columbia University Computer Graphics and User Interfaces

Steven Feiner, Tobias Höllerer, Elias Gagas, Drexel Hallaway, Tachio Terauchi, Sinem Güven, and Blair MacIntyre

Columbia University
Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab

Mobile Augmented Reality
This sketch illustrates how a MARS unit could be used


Our research on MARS (Mobile Augmented Reality Systems) began in 1996, and is aimed at exploring the synergy of two promising fields of user interface research:
Augmented reality (AR), in which 3D displays are used to overlay a synthesized world on top of the real world, and mobile computing, in which increasingly small and inexpensive computing devices, linked by wireless networks, allow us to to use computing facilities while roaming the real world.

In exploring user interfaces, systems software, and application scenarios for MARS, our main focus is on the following lines of research:


In our first outdoor MARS, the Touring Machine, our MARS unit acts as a campus information system, assisting a user in finding places and allowing her to pose queries about items of interest, such as buildings and statues.
The Mobile Journalist's Workstation extends the campus tour application to present additional multimedia information (sound, text, image, video) in the spatial context of the campus. The current prototype was used to present several Situated documentaries to roaming users, including stories about the student revolt on Columbia's Campus in 1968, about the tunnel system underneath Columbia's campus, and about the early history of our campus.
UIs for Indoor/Outdoor Collaboration allow a roaming outdoor user to be monitored and provided with guidance by remote experts. In exchange, outdoor users can report their observations to the indoor personnel. For this project we developed a distributed infrastructure that allows us to connect diverse user interfaces (wearable, hand-held, stationary desk-top, stationary wall-sized, and stationary immersive AR) to the same repository of campus-related information. A key goal is to explore collaboration in such heterogeneous computing environments.
The MARS Authoring Tool has a 3D graphical user interface that makes it possible for non-programmers to create and edit situated documentaries. Situated documentaries are 3D hypermedia narratives that are interwoven with a wearable computer user's surrounding environment. (We introduced Situated documentaries in our earlier work on the Mobile Journalist's Workstation, described above, but had previously created them through tedious conventional programming.) Using the MARS Authoring Tool, we have authored several situated documentaries that tell the stories of events that took place on our campus. Our situated documentaries can be experienced outdoors, using our MARS backpack, as well as with indoor desktop, augmented reality, and virtual reality systems.

Implementation Framework


S. Güven, S. Feiner, Authoring 3D Hypermedia for Wearable Augmented and Virtual Reality, Proc. ISWC '03 (Seventh International Symposium on Wearable Computers), White Plains, NY, October 21-23, 2003, 118-226.
( 2MB Acrobat version of paper)

T. Höllerer, S. Feiner, T. Terauchi, G. Rashid, D. Hallaway, Exploring MARS: Developing Indoor and Outdoor User Interfaces to a Mobile Augmented Reality System, Computers and Graphics, 23(6), Elsevier Publishers, Dec. 1999, 779-785

T. Höllerer, S. Feiner, J. Pavlik, Situated Documentaries: Embedding Multimedia Presentations in the Real World, Proc. ISWC '99 (Third Int. Symp. on Wearable Computers), San Francisco, CA, October 18-19, 1999, 79-86
( 3.2MB gzipped Postscript) ( 2MB Acrobat)

S. Feiner, B. MacIntyre, T. Höllerer, and T. Webster, A touring machine: Prototyping 3D mobile augmented reality systems for exploring the urban environment. Proc. ISWC '97 (First IEEE Int. Symp. on Wearable Computers), October 13-14, 1997, Cambridge, MA. Also in Personal Technologies, 1(4), 1997, pp. 208-217
(2.25MB gzipped postscript) (1.18MB Acrobat) ( 131K low-resolution Acrobat)


This research is supported in part by Office of Naval Research Grants N00014-97-1-0838, N00014-00-1-0249, and N00014-99-1-0394; NSF Grant EIA-97-29844; and hardware and software gifts from IBM, Intel, Mitsubishi, and Microsoft.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or any other organization supporting this work.

Translation into Romanian by Alexander Ovsov

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