Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Augmented reality system teaches you chess
March 1, 2011
Source: New Scientist TV — Feb 28, 2011

An augmented reality system created by internet chess champion Ivan Paquico and Cristina Palmero, engineering students from UPC-Barcelona Tech, only requires an ordinary webcam, a chessboard and some cardboard markers to teach you the game.

You no longer need to rely on people to teach you how to play chess, thanks to a new augmented reality system. The software, created by internet chess champion Ivan Paquico and Cristina Palmero, engineering students from UPC-Barcelona Tech, only requires an ordinary webcam, a chessboard and some cardboard markers to teach you the game (see video above). The webcam is placed above the board and cardboard markers, inscribed with the first letter of each chess piece's name, are arranged in the place of standard pieces. This allows the system to create a virtual 3D game on your computer screen that lets you know if any of the markers are misplaced.

Once the game starts, artificial intelligence is used to track the gameplay. When you move a marker, all the possible moves for that piece are displayed on the virtual gameboard to help you plan your strategy. Using the images captured by the webcam, the system can also determine illegal moves and provide an audio commentary of the progress of the game. The team thinks this feature will be useful for visually-impaired players who currently use specially-adapted boards and pieces to play chess.

The team is now working on making the system available to the public as soon as possible.

If you enjoyed this video, you might also like to see an augmented reality system that's bringing extinct animals back to life or check out some cool augmented reality art.