Virtual Vouchers: Prototyping a Mobile Augmented Reality User Interface for Botanical Species Identification
3D User Interfaces (3DUI'06)
Figure 1 : (a) Botanists gathering samples in the field. (b) View through a video see-though display of first prototype of the tangible augmented reality user interface. ABSTRACT As biodiversity research increases in importance and complexity, the tools that botanists require for field-work must evolve and take on new forms. Of particular importance is the ability to identify existing and new species in the field. Mobile augmented reality systems can make it possible to access, view, and
... s, view, and inspect a large database of virtual species examples side-by-side with physical specimens. In this paper, we present prototypes of a mobile augmented reality electronic field guide and techniques for displaying and inspecting computer vision-based visual search results in the form of virtual vouchers. Our work addresses head-movement controlled augmented reality for hands-free interaction and tangible augmented reality. We describe results from our design and investigation process and discuss observations and feedback from lab trials by botanists. workflow of the botanists in the context of an EFG incorporating a computer vision algorithm for identifying plant species. We then introduce three alternative user interfaces developed to address the workflow and explore ways of interacting with the computer vision algorithm and virtual vouchers: a tangible augmented reality (AR) interface, a head-movement controlled AR user interface, and a hand-held user interface with orientation control. Following that, we discuss early experiences and feedback from botanists who have tried the system. Finally, we present our conclusions and plans for future work. RELATED WORK A number of research projects have investigated EFGs to aid in species identification or fieldwork. The FieldNote system  focused on context-aware data collection and Minimal Attention User Interfaces-these were extended by the same team and used by ecologists in Kenya observing giraffes  . While not specifically intended for identifying species, the system supported data collection in species observation. Similarly, CyberTracker  is a PDA-based system that has been used in a number of fieldwork projects for tracking animals. These systems aid in recording observations from the user. While not designed for fieldwork, Cyberguide  addresses a similar goal of providing mobile context-aware information in the form of a tour guide. More recently, ButterflyNet  has been developed by Yeh and Klemmer as a mobile capture and access system for biologists to share notes and photos with colleagues. Online resources for species identification have also been explored. Student-built identification keys  have been used in the context of educational practices, and an online EFG with XML structuring and visual keys has been developed by Stevenson and colleagues as the enabling tool for "citizen science" models of biodiversity monitoring . In contrast, our EFG investigates computer vision species identification, data collection, and browsing in the field. Figure 2: An image of a voucher herbarium specimen. (Photo by Ingrid Lin, courtesy Smithsonian Institution.) Figure 6: Head-worn display, video camera, and orientation tracker mounted on baseball cap.