Integrated Project on Interaction and Presence in Urban Environments

© Fraunhofer FIT
A time portal opens at the Cologne bank of the Rhine.
In this scene the players have to assist the landing of a virtual UFO.

Augmented reality applications are a research field where FIT enjoys a high reputation in the global science community. In the last few years, FIT was a partner in a number of groundbreaking projects, among them IPCity (Integrated Project on Interaction and Presence in Urban Environments), which was coordinated by FIT and successfully completed in March 2010. Among the results of IPCity is the augmented reality game TimeWarp.

In TimeWarp the players followed, in teams of two, the traces of the Heinzelmännchen on the left bank of the Rhine. The Heinzelmännchen used a time machine to travel to several epochs in Cologne’s history and future. Diverging from the historical tale, here the Heinzelmännchen needed the help of humans, so the TimeWarp players quickly found themselves acting in an adventure with real and virtual actors in an augmented reality. The TimeWarp game offered a playful introduction to Cologne’s history, presenting scenes from Roman times, the middle ages and even a possible future of the city.

Instead of optical markers TimeWarp used state-of-the-art sensors to determine the position and orientation of the virtual components. This allowed the players to move about freely and even to watch elements of the augmented game world from a greater distance, e.g. the landing of a UFO in front of the building of the regional craft association.

The comprehensive field-test and evaluation of TimeWarp, early in 2010, involved 66 players and created quite a buzz in the regional papers, radio and television.

IPCity was partly funded by the European Commission under 6th Framework Program.