For the past half century, there was no better way to travel significantly long distances. People were willing to tolerate the frustratingly long waits of airports. Recently, we have witness a proliferation of competing modes of transportation such as autonomous cars and hyperloop. These technologies are still a decade away from large scale adoption; nonetheless, as these technologies mature, individuals may lose patience for the inconvenient airport experience.
Airports are plagued with inconveniences, from unexpected gate changes to long wait times. As a result, the majority of air travelers view the airport as the most painful part of the travel experience. Individuals spend a large percentage of their time queuing in the security line or the line to board the airport. Additionally, if a person is in a new airport in a country that speaks a language different from their own, navigation from the door through security to the gate can be an added burden.
The above pains can be alleviated if travelers have better situational awareness of the airport. Imagine an airport where you know which security line is the shortest. Imagine not being caught off guard by unanticipated gate changes and other surprises. Imagine receiving recommendations for dining and retail based on your immediate cravings. Imagine having a personal (virtual) companion to guide you through every step of your experience in a foreign airport. Our augmented reality solution intends to deliver this value to the traveler.
What it does
Using the hololens, we prototyped an intuitive experience that guides indivuals from the front door of an airport to their desired gates. It presents a continuous status update of your flight departure time. It informs you of items to discard before proceeding through security. It informs you of the security norms and communicates which items you will have to remove and which ones you can keep on as you progress through the security checkpoint. It pushes notifications of delays and gate changes. It helps you navigate from the checkpoint to your gate and enables deviations if you so desire.
How we built it
We built it using unity and vuforia. We incorporated a voice recognition cortana/alexa type interface. We used object/image recognition to simulate state changes as you progress through checkpoints in the airport.
Challenges we ran into
We had no previous experience programming the hololens. Some teammates worked vigorously to understand the beast.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Through interviews with hackathon participants, volunteers, and mentors, we were able to pinpoint some significant pains of the airport process. We were able to apply design thinking to walk from the problem statement to a mock-up to a functional prototype. We had a great time and enjoyed building relationships with one another.
What we learned
We shared processes and templates with one another based on our previous experiences and learned a lot from one another. We learned how to program the hololens. We were able to fully document how bad the airport experience is.
What's next for ARport
SeaTac airport is one of the most sustainable airports in the country. Last week, it committed to becoming the most accessible airport for individuals with disabilities. It has a willingness to implement new initiatives and would be a perfect test bed for our product once we have a more functional solution.