Alternate Universe: Switzerland’s Augmented Reality Park

Reality can be a pretty sad place to live in, so a park in Basel, Switzerland is offering visitors the chance to escape into a fantasy world temporarily. St. Johann’s Park offers visitors an experience called LifeClipper which involves wearing a big helmet and a high-powered wearable backpack computer. The system overlays a detailed fantasy world on top of the real park, providing an experience that is rather like being on drugs without the unpleasant illegality.

Fish that float in the air, ghostly hovering clouds of colors, trippy insects and fast-growing grass which grow around unmoving feet are among the wonders that await visitors in the park. The landscape of the virtual world closely matches that of the real world so that visitors can walk around normally without running into trees or falling off of cliffs.

The huge augmented reality playground is like a giant outdoor art project visible only to those wearing the special gear. Putting on the helmet and backpack is very much like stepping into a different world, one where modern skyscrapers are replaced by the surreal landscape of an alternate universe.

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See more in Digital Design or under Technology. March, 2012.
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