What is Tangimapping?

Tangimapping utilizes two conventional technologies and combines them to form a novel environment reality.  The first technology utilized is redundant tracking systems that use active RFID tags embedded within objects wishing to be tangimapped.

While tracking objects in three dimentions isn't difficult, measuring them precisely and in a physically accurate space may prove difficult.  By tracking a multitude of individual objects, we can obtain not only the objects' location and orientation in space, but also the relative distances and global orientation of the space.  The objects may move about in space, and some objects may require an additional child tracker tied to the parent object.  An example would be a desk that is being tracked, with each drawer only requiring one tracker relative to the desk.

Tracking objects isn't new, it has been used in movies such as Avatar to follow an actor or actress's miniscule and unique muscle features.

The second technology used in tangimapping is a digital representation of a virtual world.  This is also not a new concept, as video games and simulations have done this for years.  The key to tangimapping is using the information from the tracking system and move objects in the virtual world with the information from their real life counterparts.  This allows objects in the virtual world to follow the laws of physics and move realistically without being programmed.  Things that don't move, such as walls or cars, don't need to be tracked because their distance and orientation to an absolute frame of reference is known before hand.

The aim of tangimapping is to enhance a physical space with a virtual one.  By allowing users to have their body movements tracked, along with any object within the space, users can interact with anything in their virtual gaming environment, including other players, weapons, rocks, walls, etc.

Objects may only be physically similar to their virtual counterparts by shape alone, and the virtual representation may look different for design purposes.  By utilizing tangimapping, game environments may become realistic and extremely lifelike.  In the example image above, the weapon would be a physical object the player holds, and it would be tracked alongside the player's body joints.  The walls of the large house would only have to be built where players could touch them, but higher would be unnecessary, since the remainder of the house could be simulated fully.

An example of tangimapping would be a large building with 50 tracked objects, such as doors, weapons, and players.  Each player would have a HMD (Head Mounted Display) of their environment.  A player could look at their hands, and they may look alien, bloody, etc.  It's a virtual representation.  A player could look at another player, and see a grotesque zombie.  The player could move around the world and pick real items up, and feel them.  The objects could look like anything the game world would have them look.

Tangimapping seems to be an interesting route for extreme gaming, but it does have its drawbacks.  Tracked environments need to be as large as the one represented in the virtual world to ensure consistency.  Players can't break the laws of physics with the tracked objects.  Also, it may be expensive to track so many objects and represent them in the real world.

Tangimapping may eventually play an important part of our entertainment industry.