Text Recognition Experiment (aka blowing up the Declaration of Independence)
May 14, 2014
In this demo, I use Vuforia's text recognition to generate 3D text with proper locations and orientations to their real world counterparts, and then I blow it all up. Enjoy.
Yesterday I was clicking through forums and saw something on text recognition, so I dug into it, and started playing around with the Vuforia text recognition stuff. Their demo is a bit limiting, so I ripped off all the safeties and tried to push this thing to the limit. I initially thought it'd be great to marry this to text to speech or speech to text for some awesome literacy applications, but I hit a wall with that stuff. I don't pay for plugins to do my research (I'm a poor teacher after all), so with this I still found a couple potential avenues for it, AT&T has a free plugin that seemed awesome until I realized there are about 10 levels of authentication required to use their plugin, and documentation sucks for it, so I got close, but gave up on it. Another option was trying to port the iSpeech libraries from android development over to Unity, which I also gave up on, but think it's a viable method if more time and a bigger brain permitted. There are a couple paid plugins which have done essentially what I just described, but as I mentioned, I'm a cheapskate. Shifting gears, I decided to go the 3D text route as I felt it could integrate with the LEAP Motion for grabbing words and snapping them together etc. for word games or just a word cloud of your day's activities. I found a free (YES!) plugin for making 3D text called "TTF Text" which I was really impressed with. I wrote some bridges between the Vuforia recognition stuff and the 3D text generation stuff and it allowed me to use the tracking data to generate 3D words based on what had been recognized, and also to locate and orient them relatively close to their real world locations. All this was awesome, until I realized this plugin has some dependencies on UnityEditor Assembler, which is a no no for built executables for windows or Android. So that was the wall I couldn't get past. There are paid plugins that generate 3D text in runtime, but again, I'm a cheapskate, so putting this demo on the back burner for a little bit. I decided to marry the text to an AR target and blow it all up so at least I get a little gratification for doing all this work!