A Multi-player Handheld Augmented Reality Game | Daniel Wagner, Thomas Pintaric and Dieter Schmalstieg
The Invisible Train
The Invisible Train is the first real multi-user Augmented Reality application for handheld devices (PDAs). Unlike other projects, in which wearable devices were merely used as thin-clients, while powerful (PC-based) servers performed a majority of the computations (such as graphics rendering), our software runs independently on off-the-shelf PDAs - eliminating the need for an expensive infractructure.
The Invisible Train is a mobile, collaborative multi-user Augmented Reality (AR) game, in which players control virtual trains on a real wooden miniature railroad track. These virtual trains are only visible to players through their PDA's video see-through display as they don't exist in the physical world. This type of user interface is commonly called the "magic lens metaphor".
Players can interact with the game environment by operating track switches and adjusting the speed of their virtual trains. The current state of the game is synchronized between all participants via wireless networking. The common goal of the game is to prevent the virtual trains from colliding.
The success of the Invisible Train installation illustrates the advantages of our Studierstube software framework, a component-based system architecture that has been designed to accelerate the task of developing and deploying collaborative Augmented Reality applications on handheld devices.
Why Handheld Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) can naturally complement mobile computing on wearable devices by providing an intuitive interface to a three-dimensional information space embedded within physical reality. However, prior work on mobile Augmented Reality has almost exclusively been undertaken with traditional "backpack"-systems that consist of a notebook computer, an HMD, cameras and additional supporting hardware. Although these systems work well within a constrained laboratory environment, they fail to fulfill several usability criteria to be rapidly deployed to inexperienced users, as they are expensive, cumbersome and require high level of expertise.
Tweenwork Award 2004 (2nd place), sponsored by Gesellschaft für Informatik, Fachgruppe ANIS (Graphische Simulation und Animation).
2004 [8th] Japan Media Arts Festival (Jury Recommendation).
Jun. 24, 2004 Yo!Einstein 2004. The following newspaper article (in German) appeared in Kurier on 7/25/04. Aug. 8-12, 2004 SIGGRAPH 2004 Emerging Technologies Exhibition in Los Angeles, CA. Photos of the Invisible Train at SIGGRAPH 2004 are available here. Sep. 2-27, 2004 Ars Electronica 2004 Festival and Exhibition in Linz, Austria. Photographs of our installation at the Ars Electronica Museum of the Future are available here. Oct. 1, 2004 Beginner's Day 2004, orientation event for incoming students at Vienna University of Technology. Nov. 2-5, 2004 International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2004) in Arlington, VA. Feb. 2-5, 2005 Imagina 2005 Trade Show and WIMA (Wireless Information Multimedia Application) Symposium in Monte Carlo. Photos of the Invisible Train at Imagina 2005 are available here Feb. 14-18, 2005 LEARNTEC 2005 (Multimedia Transfer 2005 Booth #190) in Karlsruhe (Germany). Mar. 12-16, 2005 IEEE Virtual Reality 2005 Conference, Bonn (Germany). May 8-13, 2005 3rd International Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive 2005), Munich (Germany). June 22-26, 2005 Wired NextFest.2005, Chicago (USA).
Daniel Wagner, Thomas Pintaric, Florian Ledermann, Dieter Schmalstieg
Towards Massively Multi-User Augmented Reality
on Handheld Devices
Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive 2005), Munich, Germany (to appear) [PDF]
The following high-resolution images are made available for print or web media, provided that they are not used in advertising, in promotion of products, or in other sales materials. Please credit these images with "Courtesy of Vienna University of Technology."
|Invisible Train Promotion Video (Oct. 2004)|
38.9MB AVI (XviD Codec with MP3 audio)
720x576 pixels, 2 Mbit/sec, 25fps (PAL)
9.2MB AVI (XviD Codec with MP3 audio) (reduced quality)
352x288 pixels, 400 KBit/sec, 25fps (PAL)
720x576 pixels, 2MBit/sec, 25fps (PAL, DVD compliant)
24.5MB MPEG-1 (reduced quality)
352x288 pixels at 25fps (PAL, VideoCD compliant)
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last updated on 6/6/05