Introduction: Create Your Own Augmented Context; a TfCD Project

This instruction will explain how to add an extra augmented experience to your physical surroundings by using your smartphone. You can share this experience with others and let them see which elements are hidden in the world that is only accessible by using your smartphone. This instruction was made for the TuDelft, Industrial Design Engineering, Advanced Concept Design courses subcourse called Technologies for Concept Design (TfCD).

Step 1: Download Augment App

The app that is used for creating this is augment, this is an app where you can place your own 3D objects in the physical world and see how these will look in their future context for example.Augment is available for Android and IOS and is downloadable here: (Android) (IOS)

Before starting it is important to create an account in the app and also go to the website interface:

Step 2: Create Models in SolidWorks to Show in the Surroundings.

Before explaining how you can implement your own objects to the augmented world, we’ll show you how you can create a 3D model, that is usable for Augment in Solidworks. We created a simple model with some text to, later on, place in the real world.Augment only supports the .dae or .obj extensions for 3D models. But Solidworks does not support saving to those extensions.

Step 3: Save the Model for Augment

Augment only supports the .dae or .obj extensions for 3D models. But Solidworks does not support saving to those extensions.

To make the model suitable for using in Augment, SimLab has created a solidworks plugin to enable Solidworks to save a file as .obj. A 30-day trial is downloadable from this website:

After finishing the the installation wizard the plugin can be enabled in solidworks by going to: Tools → Add-Ins… . In the pop-up screen can “SimLabSolidworksOBJExporter” be found and enabled.

Now the model can be saved as .OBJ model by going to the SimLab Pro Exporter tab and click “Export to OBJ”.

Step 4: Upload Models to Augment.

Go to login and start your free business trial (14 day trial which you need for uploading models and trackers, but not for watching them). Go to My models on the left and then to all models. Click the add model button and upload your models.

Select the .OBJ file you just created, or a zip to include textures and materials (.MTL), and fill out the basic settings. Click through all tabs to select dimensions and add other relevant data such as a web link. Click Save and publish in the right upper corner. Then validate the dimensions again from the All models page.

Step 5: Take Photo of Desired Location and Upload As Marker to Augment.

This photo will be used as a tracking marker for your digital content. It works best if the photo has a complex and contrasted image. This makes it easier for the phone to track and recognise it.

Usually this means you have to print it and see your object appear on the piece of paper. Off course you can still do it this way, but you can also use the environment you photographed as the marker. This means that the environment will be seen as the horizontal surface though, where it probably is vertical. In order to still display your model the right way up, make sure that it is laying flat on the ground. Once in the environment it will be projected standing up! Go to My Trackers and then All trackers on the left. Click Add tracker and upload your environment photo.

Step 6: View Different Models at Different Locations.

Now open the Augment app click on scan, aim at the environment under the same angle you took your photo. Wait for it to recognise and process and you can now see and move around your 3D model. You can even photograph your augmented element right from the app (or via screenshot off course).

Unfortunately since this is some sort of hack of the system it will only recognize one marker at a time, so if you want to see another object by its marker you need to quit scanning and start again for the next object.

Step 7: Show Your Friends Your Augmented Experience.

The content, which is created with Augment is visible for everyone who uses Augment, so if someone is at the same location and scans the surrounding with the app, the models will also become visible for them; a great way to show your friends your new ideas.