AquARium AR: A Virtual Aquarium Using Next-Generation AR Technology

AquARium AR

You can place a virtual aquarium in their favorite spot in their room using our AquARium AR application. You can even feed the fish in the tank and experience an authentic aquarium life.

AR technology, which enables the placement of virtual objects in a room, has already been popularized for several years. Many people have used apps that display furniture in a room using AR before making a purchase.

However, AquARium AR offers more than just this functionality. Once the tank is placed, the app remembers its position and can display it again in the same location upon next use. This feature has become possible through the integration of next-generation AR technology. Please watch our video to see the app in action. 

Display the saved aquarium on the next startup

First, launch the app and point the camera at the location where you want to set up the aquarium. Once you have decided on a location, take pictures of the surrounding area from various directions with the camera. That's all it takes to set up the aquarium.

On the next startup, the app will automatically detect the location where it saved the aquarium the last time and display the aquarium again.

You can install AquARiumAR from here.

As you can see, on the second startup, we were able to display the aquarium in the same position in the room where it was registered the last time. What technology is this feature based on?

Scanning the three-dimensional information of a room with a smartphone camera

This app saves the three-dimensional shape of a room captured by a smartphone camera as data.

To capture the shape more accurately, users are prompted to capture the surroundings of the aquarium from various angles with the camera during registration.

The information of the room captured by the camera is recognized as a point cloud, a collection of three-dimensional points, and stored in the app.

During the second startup, the app matches the room and the saved point cloud, and restores the previous position of the aquarium. 


The technology to estimate position based on visual information captured by a camera is generally referred to as a Visual Pointing System (VPS). However, this term is not yet widely known and many people may interpret "VPS" as an abbreviation for "Virtual Private Server".

Currently, when we think of position estimation technology, Global Positioning System (GPS) is the first thing that comes to mind for anyone. GPS has been established as a technology for measuring rough positions on the earth's surface and has been around for several decades. As long as the application allows for an error of several tens of meters, GPS will continue to be used.

VPS is a technology that has been developed to estimate position information with less error than GPS. While GPS captures positions on a global scale, VPS deals with a very limited range of positions, namely visual information from the camera in front of us. In the future, it is expected that GPS will be used for estimating rough positions, while VPS will be used for detailed position estimation in small areas, complementing each other.

The characteristics of each location technology

Let's take a closer look at the differences and characteristics between GPS and VPS. VPS technology can be broadly divided into two categories.


GPS stands for Global Positioning System.

The system works by receiving signals from GPS satellites orbiting the earth, calculating position, distance, and time, and measuring the current position. 

It can be used anywhere in the world, but the position information may suddenly jump or the accuracy and reliability of the position information may be reduced depending on the environment, such as being in a group of buildings.

Outdoor VPS

Outdoor VPS is a technology that saves the shapes of buildings in cities as vast data and uses it for position estimation. 

Currently, several companies including Google operate VPS services by holding cities around the world as huge 3D data. Google Geospatial API is one of the representatives.

At present, only data acquisition for major cities around the world has been completed. In the future, it is expected to cover more cities around the world.

As mentioned above, GPS accuracy decreases in places such as among buildings.

In the future, VPS-based methods are expected to become more widespread for accurate outdoor position estimation.

Indoor VPS

While the above is VPS targeted at cities, there are also VPS technologies designed for indoor use. 

Due to privacy concerns, companies like Google are likely to limit the collection and publication of such three-dimensional data to public spaces such as outdoors (which is desirable). 

For indoor spaces, each user can scan the area themselves such as technology called Google Cloud Anchors API. By scanning information about the location where anchors will be placed beforehand, accurate anchor placement can be achieved. 

However, since prior information acquisition is required, its use is limited to specific spaces. 

Main Applications of Indoor VPS

Home Aquarium AR, which was covered in this article, uses the indoor VPS mentioned above.

In this app, users can scan their own room and place the aquarium at any desired location within the room.

Another way to utilize indoor VPS is for the app provider to scan the target space in advance and allow users to use that information.

Other possible applications are listed below.

Example of use 1: Layout multiple pieces of furniture

The VPS technology can also be used in apps that display furniture in an indoor AR environment before purchase.

For a single piece of furniture, services that display the 3D model of the furniture on the AR space for confirmation before purchase have already become widespread. Many people may have already used them in practice.

However, when it comes to multiple pieces of furniture, it can be very stressful to see the layout of the furniture disappear after being arranged only once.

Those who have tried Home Aquarium AR will quickly understand how this technology can help with the placement of multiple pieces of furniture.

By using VPS technology to scan the point cloud information in a room, the position of furniture and the room can be saved.

Once furniture is placed, it can be displayed in the same place during the next app launch, allowing for careful discussions with family members about the layout made earlier.

Example of use 2: Automatic guidance of product locations in stores

By scanning the interior information, including the product shelves in advance, it is possible to utilize unmanned guidance of product locations. By simply entering the product the customer is looking for in the app, the app will guide them to the shelf where the product is located.

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