Seidenberg-developed augmented reality game nominated for Prix Ars Electronica

An innovative augmented reality app developed with the aid of Verizon Thinkfinity Grants and the creative talent of Seidenberg School students has been nominated for the Prix Ars Electronica 2014 prize in Interactive Art.

The prize is a very prestigious award and one we are thrilled to be nominated for. Development for the app in question, titled “Biomer Skelters”, goes back to fall 2013 when Professor Will Pappenheimer and Dr Jonathan Hill invited three students to join an Augmented Reality Lab within the Seidenberg Creative Labs initiative. The students who took part were Julie Gauthier, Alexander Gazarov, and Paat Sinsuwan.
The team’s goal was to explore and develop a way to transmit heart rate data from an exercise monitor to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. The data was to then be analyzed, and if the heart rate was in a median range, the phone would instruct the database to begin planting virtual vegetation, which could be seen if the area was viewed through a Google Maps API. So as participants walk through a city, the app populates a given location with trees, plants and flowers. Depending on the heart rate, “native” or “invasive” plants would appear and the app can thus be used as a game, with participants competing to populate an area with different plants.

According to Professor Pappenheimer, “The project is a very unique application and combination of nascent technologies, body blogging and mobile augmented reality. It also explores the very interesting areas of user state sensing and monitoring that gaming and educational technological explorations are interested in.”

Professor Pappenheimer and collaborator Tamiko Thiel are both known internationally for important artistic exploration of its possibilities and implications.

The Prix Ars Electronica, part of an institution based in Linz, Austria is considered one of the world’s most prestigious new media and media art prizes. Only one project is chosen in each of six categories so the competition is very steep.

We wish our students and faculty working with Seidenberg Creative Labs the very best of luck!

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