Public swimming pools are more and more forced to turn into water fun parks in order to stay attractive to their visitors and to compete with other alternatives. The AREEF project aims to shift computer games and edutainment from the traditional desktop-based context into the fascinating medium water using Augmented Reality (AR) technology. Augmented Reality is a very groundbreaking technology which enhances the real world by virtual objects in order to create a new mixed reality environment. The technology and application created in AREEF are a novel kind of entertainment and in the same way provide an exciting method of physical exercise and full body experience. Besides, applications could provide information about the underwater flora and fauna and therefore the user could playfully learn knowledge about fishes and underwater plants in the adequate environment.
With the AREEF project we continue our previous work on Augmented Reality under water which was started by the development of the first prototype of a mobile underwater Augmented Reality system consisting of a semi-transparent display in front of a diving mask and a computer worn in a backpack. While this system achieved international attention and received plenty of positive feedback from the public, the hardware used is too expensive for widespread commercialization. Therefore, in AREEF we will focus on the use of mass-market mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets to achieve our vision.
In summary, the main objectives of the proposed project are:
Ultimately, we expect an increasing attractiveness of public swimming pools or fun water parks offering people the chance to discover the richness of the underwater fauna and flora including, but not limited to virtual coral reefs and fishes in a playful and physically active way.