For decades, researchers have been trying to create intuitive virtual environments by blending reality and virtual reality, thus enabling general users to interact with the digital domain as easily as with the real world. The result is “augmented reality” (AR). AR seamlessly superimposes virtual objects on to a real environment in three dimensions (3D) and in real time. One of the most important parts that helps close the gap between virtuality and reality is the marker used in the AR system. While pictorial marker and bar-code marker are the two most commonly used marker types in the market, they have some disadvantages in visual and processing performance. In this paper, we present a novelty method that combines the bar-code with the original feature of a colour picture (e.g., photos, trading cards, advertisement’s figure). Our method decorates on top of the original pictorial images additional features with a single stereogram image that optically conceals a multi-level (3D) bar-code. Thus, it has a larger capability of storing data compared to the general 1D barcode. This new type of marker has the potential of addressing the issues that the current types of marker are facing. It not only keeps the original information of the picture but also contains encoded numeric information. In our limited evaluation, this pictorial bar-code shows a relatively robust performance under various conditions and scaling; thus, it provides a promising AR approach to be used in many applications such as trading card games, educations, and advertisements.
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