Augmented reality (AR) has been around for some time, mostly placing information or images over the video capture of the real world. Even though the AR element is visible, it can never be touched. Will we ever hold a virtual object?
There is a new game that ‘touches’ on this concept dubbed Rope Revolution. The game, designed by Lining Yao (from MIT’s Media Lab), lets people play rope games, fly a kite and ride a horse in a virtual environment with tactile response generated through manipulating a real world rope. The ‘rope module’ is equipped with force-feedback and motion sensing devices on the box itself while the rope end uses an accelerometer that communicates the gestures via Bluetooth. Also housed inside the box are a constant-force spring that moves the rope both in and out of the wall housing and a linear actuator that moves the rope back and forth. The gestural information is then sent to a computer, that Lining programmed using Java, to recognize the various patterns and gaming background. This is then sent to a projector that displays all the action back onto the players screen.
How the rope is used virtually (via MIT)
The most impressive aspect of Rope revolution is that you can play with other people over the internet using a webcam. This would make for some pretty engrossing tug-of-war matches or horse racing tournaments! As it stands right now, there are only four games to play but Lining plans on making a few other rope-based games in the future.
From when we all were born, we learned through playing. Playing simple games through Rope Revolution will undoubtedly open up thinking on how augmented reality can interface with the world.