Current augmented reality (AR) systems are not designed to be used in our daily lives. Head-mounted see-through displays are too cumbersome and look too unusual for everyday life. The limited scalability of position-tracking devices limits the use of AR to very restricted environments. This paper proposes a different way to realize AR that can be used in an open environment by introducing the concept of ID awareness and a hand-held video see-through display. Unlike other AR systems that use head-mounted or head-up displays, our approach employs the combination of a palmtop-sized display and a small video camera. A user sees the real world through the display device, with added computer-augmented information. We call this configuration the magnifying glass approach. It has several advantages over traditional head-up or head-mounted configurations. The main advantage is that the user is not required to wear any cumbersome headgear. The user can easily move the display device around like a magnifying glass and compare real and augmented images. The video camera also obtains information related to real-world situations. The system recognizes real-world objects using the video images by reading identification (ID) tags. Based on the recognized ID tag, the system retrieves and displays information about the real-world object to the user. The prototype hand-held device based on our proposed concept is called NaviCam. We describe several potential applications. Our experiments with NaviCam show the great potential of our video see-through palmtop display. It was significantly faster than a head-up configuration, and its subjective score from testers was also higher.

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