'Portal-ble' AR System Lets Users Manipulate Virtual Objects in Real Backgrounds by Hand

Brown University researchers have developed a new system called "Portal-ble" that places virtual objects within real-world backgrounds on smartphone screens, and lets users interact with those objects by hand. The researchers say the idea for Portal-ble’s “hands-on” interaction grew out of frustration with AR apps like Pokemon GO that use smartphones to place virtual objects into real-world scenes, but interacting with those objects requires users to swipe on the screen. The Portal-ble platform makes use of a small infrared sensor mounted on the back of a phone. The sensor tracks the position of people’s hands in relation to virtual objects, enabling users to pick objects up, turn them, stack them, or drop them.