We spend most of our time navigating directions and establishing paths - whether it is for running, going on tours, hiking on mountain trails, or simply making sure that we find a safe route to walk back home at night. There are a lot of technologies available today that tell us how to get from point A to point B - giving us the shortest route or the less busier route. But what they don’t give us is the experience - the ease of having a path already defined for you, the joy of sharing beautiful trails with others, or the security in walking back home safely. The inspiration behind our project - Trails, is to provide an augmented reality experience that enhances the routes we take and our time spent navigating them.

What it does

Trails provides an augmented reality experience to the user, where we don’t have to spend time and energy navigating a path. It trains itself to understand older, safer, established routes and allows users to easily select an existing route and integrate that into the environment by showing footsteps in front of the user. The user can navigate their environment by looking ahead and nowhere else, as the footsteps keep getting added in front of them leading the way and telling them where to go.

How I built it

We paired Hololens with an Android phone using Bluetooth LE. The phone will send the GPS coordinates to the device along with the bearing. The Hololens does a raycast to the floor at 45 degrees, to determine the elevation at which to place footprints. Then, the footprints are placed on the floor for two use cases. First, a user might decide to follow an observers path in places such as an art installation. Second, the footprints can point towards the location the user is trying to go to (AR Google Maps).

Challenges I ran into

Given Hololens does not have GPS location nor magnetometer, the outdoor scenario was more complicated to develop than expected. Additionally, the spatial mapping of the Hololens is sometimes not accurate in real time, which makes tracking the floor complicated in several cases.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We were proud of the way the footprints look on the HoloLens. We also really liked the balance of skills and personality we had on our team. We encouraged each other and worked well together.

What I learned

We learned that GPS can be quite complicated to integrate with the HoloLens. We learned more about VR/AR technologies in general and the applications that are possible.

What's next for Trails

*Integrating GPS into the app for outdoor location to use for safe trails, running paths, and more.

*Crowdsourcing best paths in cities for a tourism context

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