LifeClipper: Tech and art merge in surreal augmented reality park experience


For many augmented reality (AR) is often synonymous with marketing campaigns, location-based apps and immersive gaming experiences. However, in a park in Basel, Switzerland, a collection of artists and scientists have come together to create an AR headset that makes you feel more like you’re stepping into a Dali painting than a quaint urban parkland.

Jan Torpus, one of those heading up the project, has been working on an AR headset since 2003, and the latest version of the device has been named the lifeClipper 3. Torpus and the rest of the team have been using the lifeClipper to create surreal and game-like imagery in order to show off the capabilities of AR technology and also explore ways to integrate it into more everyday apps and experiences.

Users are able to put on the headset and interact with their surroundings by moving about, looking around them and breathing in different ways. The fascinating thing is, the different combination of systems means that each person can (somehow) create their own realities, so not everyone will see the same thing.

Torpus told Physorg:

“Every walk is unique: the situation in the park is always different in terms of time of day, light, weather, temperature, encounters with people and animals. The real climate is juxtaposed with a virtual climate, the real living beings with virtual ones.

“Both worlds can be influenced by the user. At the same time the element of chance plays a part in both the real and the synthetic worlds. This gives rise to unique, non-reproducible situations.”

According to some of those that have already used the headset the surroundings seem normal at first, but colours and patterns begin to change and huge fantasy-like animals start to march across the park. We’re not sure whether this is incredibly cool, or absolutely terrifying.

Torpus is proud of the fact the technology used to create the lifeClipper 3 headset is all from local electrical shops. Apparently he uses a Dell laptop with Windows 7 to power it, a Trimble GPS, a direction sensor and a biofeedback sensor strapped to the chest of the wearer to determine what kind of AR experience they’ll have. There’s then the head mounted display, which consists of a camera, microphone, headphones and a small mouse too.

[Via Physorg Image via]
Becca Caddy


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