Augmented reality display of three-dimensional impossible objects in real time


Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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  • Suet Yee LIU

Related Research Unit(s)


Awarding Institution
  • Kam Wah WONG (Supervisor)
Award date16 Jul 2012


The first impression of three-dimensional impossible object often fools viewer's perception to believe that this object exists physically in the real world. However, on a second though, viewer will recognize that the shape of the object is impossible indeed. There are many ways to create impossible object. The simplest form of impossible object can be created from two-dimensional drawing. Besides two-dimensional drawing, people construct other kinds of impossible objects by different approaches, such as using curved edges to built a physical object in order to swap the overlapping parts; construct the object in a special way and take photograph of it from a specific angle; take a photograph of a real object and post-edit it with image editing tools, etc. Generally speaking, object created in these ways need to be viewed from a very special vantage point to have an impossible effect. If the object is not viewed from that specific vantage point, the illusion of the impossible object will not be possible. Apart from that, computer graphics researchers also introduced a way to generate impossible object on computer which could be viewed from different angles; however, this method only applied to certain kinds of object which have volume inside its framework. This thesis will first introduce a way to identify the types of impossible objects. Then it explores a new way for creating different impossible objects on a computer display in real time, using the so-called Augmented Reality (AR) technology. AR is a novel technology which brings a new visual experience to the viewer. Different from Virtual Reality (VR), the virtual objects display on the computer can be overlay on real objects or physical environment in real time in order to create an augmented experience. With the use of tracking technology, we can place a fiduciary marker in front of the camera to give a signal to the computer's program where we plan to generate the impossible object. Using a special design of real-time shading algorithm, impossible object can be created in real-time on the fiduciary marker. Viewer can then orient the fiduciary marker so as to rotate the three-dimensional impossible object. This can give a better experience for the viewer on how the impossible object is formed. Two categories of impossible object generating techniques will be introduced in this thesis: 1) the depth impossible object and 2) the impossible vanishing boundaries object.

    Research areas

  • Image processing, Digital techniques, Three-dimensional imaging