The Open Hybrid platform, developed by a design researcher at MIT, combines augmented reality with the Arduino micro controller. And allows you to design hybrid objects in open source.
A connected object is nice, but when you need to look for you smartphone, open the application, then scroll through ten or so objects before finally getting hold of the switch of your connected lamp, it rather seems like complicated reality. A new approach, that of the hybrid object, via the IoT (Internet of Things), consists in making the most of the network while retaining a physical dynamic for its use. With augmented reality, you point the screen to the lamp, a palette opens and you choose your colour ambience. Better than the switch dad uses.
Initiation to augmented reality
Valentin Heun, design researcher at the MIT Medialab, designed Open Hybrid, a platform that facilitates the configuration of augmented reality in the Internet of Things. Open Hybrid allows you to overprint the controls associated to an object through the camera of a smartphone or a tablet. The object can serve as a benchmark control for a set of similar objects (you switch off the lamp and all the lamps associated to the network are also switched off, for example).
Presentation of Open Hybrid:
The Open Hybrid toolkit is composed of a web platform, an improved firmware for Arduino and an IOS application. At first, it allows you to hack the Arduino by replacing its firmware. The Open Hybrid website offer a disk image ready for download. The lot can be used with an Arduino Yun, firmware (1.4 version minimum), a 500 Mb microSD card, a MicroSD-SD card adaptor and a domestic wifi network.
“As soon as the Arduino has done a reset, your Arduino has become a hybrid object.”
The second difficulty open Hybrid partakes in getting past is the 3D programming of an augmented reality application: Reality Editor, an IOS application for iPhone and iPad. Reality Editor allows you to recognise a target object and define the parameters of virtual buttons and cursors, or else edit a surface area that will serve as a gamepad to guide the visual navigation of a drone for example.
LED with virtual dimmer documented on Open Hybrid:
In order to appreciate the extent of the possibilities of Open Hybrid and its AR touch, one will nevertheless judge on its performance, for instance by checking the quality of the users’ projects. But, as it is, with its open source spirit, Open Hybrid is well founded. Near perfect, it is still missing a Reality Editor for Android systems.
In June 2015 during the Solid conference (about the Internet of Things), Valentin Heun, already spotted by Wired in its “2013 smartlist of people building the future”, explains how to reconcile the physical world and the interface world.
Valentin Heun, “The physical world as an interface to the virtual world”, conference, June 2015: