A student at ETH Zurich creates what he believes is the most advanced virtual digital avatar ever seen. Constantinos Miltiadis says his Project Anywhere will allow multiple gamers in separate continents to compete in the same virtual space. Jim Drury went to meet him.
STORY: If you're a gamer, you'd no doubt love to control an avatar with your body in real time. Until now that's been tricky to achieve. But Constantinos Miltiadis, of ETH Zurich, has created Project Anywhere....he says it's unique. SOUNDBITE (English) CONSTANTINOS MILTIADIS, CREATOR OF PROJECT ANYWHERE, AND STUDENT AT ETH ZURICH, SAYING: "I don't know of anything else that can have your own body in a digital environment...If you can in real time interact in this kind of augmented reality environment and have your own body as a digital avatar I think this is a different innovation that it brings." The centrepiece of his proof-of-concept kit are these lightweight Inteligloves. SOUNDBITE (English) CONSTANTINOS MILTIADIS, CREATOR OF PROJECT ANYWHERE, AND STUDENT AT ETH ZURICH, SAYING: "This is an elastic PLA material that you can 3D print on a home 3D printer. These are flex sensors, we have a wireless module. This is a nine degree of freedom…inertia measuring unit, so it has an accelerometer, gyroscope, and digital compass." A Kinect sensor connected to a Java program tracks the user's exact position, while synchronising data from a web cloud. Once his iPhone is fitted to a five dollar 3D-printed plastic mask, Miltiadis says users become fully immersed in their game. If Project Anywhere is developed commercially, multiple gamers in every corner of the globe could occupy the same virtual space. Miltiadis's supervising profesor Ludgar Hovestadt says it could also be a useful tool for architects. SOUNDBITE (English) ETH ZURICH PROFESSOR OF ARCHITECTURE LUDGAR HOVESTADT (PRON: HO-VER-SHTAT), SAYING: "The driving force for actual architecture is the new media, connectivity via the internet and so on, and to be able to arrange these things in a global environment and make a new architectural environment I think it's very important." Hovestadt says his student's hands-on experience points to a great future for Project Anywhere.