lifeClipper3-playground is a game-like, interactive new-media artwork which is implemented with immersive Augmented Reality Technologies in St. Johanns Park in Basel, Switzerland. It invites visitors to walk around the park with a wearable computer system to experience alternative realities. Shifts between everyday life conventions and fantastic parallel worlds with different physical and cultural rules create interference and question our perception of reality.
Figure left: Visitor and guide during walk in the St. Johanns Park in Basel, Switzerland.
Augmented Reality (AR) can be explained best by comparing it to better-known Virtual Reality (VR). When a user enters a VR-Space, she or he becomes completely immersed in a synthetic world.
Figure right: Screenshot of an impression from the visitor’s experience during the walk.
Reality is only used to track user behaviour, but the perception of reality is invisible. In an AR-space, in contrast, the audiovisual perception of reality is included in the user experience and gives context to it.
Reality is extended (augmented) by virtual content. lifeClipper3 consists of the real park landscape with occasional events and situations and an overlaid virtual landscape with artificially created additional content.
A video camera fixed to the Head Mounted Display (headset with displays, camera and microphone) captures the real park landscape, whereas the virtual landscape is a 3D model of the park at the same scale: one meter in the real park equals one meter of the overlaid 3D model. The two worlds must match precisely, even when a visitor moves around and changes her viewing direction. Calibrating the camera image with the virtual overlaid 3D space is the most difficult technical challenge of the Augmented Reality application.