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This weekend my colleague and member of the TOTEM team Leif Oppermann is travelling to Berlin. (There are good train connections from here (Bonn) to Berlin, so Eyjafjallajökull will not be able to stop him.)
On Friday he is a speaker at the 1st European Augmented Reality Business Conference (ARBcon) before he will join the fun at the ARDevCamp Berlin on Saturday and talk about TOTEM there.
One aim of TOTEM is the creation of a strong community and a strong orientation towards industry. Therefore we are going to hold a variety of workshop with interested users or colleagues during the course of the project. On February 8th 2010 we saw the first of what will hopefully turn into a nice and fruitful tradition.
As we are still in the early stages of the project, we invited people from the industry to share some insight about mobile mixed reality and games in this realm with each other. We wanted to hear what "the industry" thinks at the moment, what they expect from TOTEM and how we can cooperate with each other in the future
For the first workshop we were happy to meet up with: Peter Meier of metaio Tom Melamed of Calvium Tobias Kammann of RTT Michael Straubig of i3games Martin and Marc Maurer from empea
(We had also invited some very interesting participants from France, but they had to cancel in the end. But we hope to see them next time!)
Overall we had some rather lively discussions about games, mixed reality, augmented reality, smartphones thanks to all workshop participants. We had a nice mixture of different backgrounds ranging from suppliers of very sophisticated augmented reality solutions over mobile application providers and game designers - and also the first plans for cooperations.
TOTEM is not the only project funded by the Programme Inter Carnot Fraunhofer (PICF) scheme. As the official PICF website describes, the goals for this funding programme are to:
Enhance scientific leadership in national and international R&D
Prepare the transfer of technology and knowledge to industry
Create long-term strategic French-German alliances between excellent research organizations
So on October 27th a few members of our project were invited to Bernardin's College in Paris to participate in the starting celebrations as this year's projects were the first ever to be funded. This is our poster from the poster session:
The start of a new research project is always very exciting. Usually there is quite a delay between handing in the written proposal and the official project start, and often you have not met your project partners in person beforehand. In this case we submitted our documents at the end of January and now we already have September which marks the official start of TOTEM.
The full title of our project is “TOTEM - Theories and Tools for Distributed Authoring of Mobile Mixed Reality Games” and as it is a French-German collaboration project, we also have the names in French (“Outils méthodologiques et informatiques pour la création partagée des jeux de réalité mixte sur mobile”) and German (“Theorien und Werkzeuge zum verteilten Gestalten mobiler Spiele in Gemischter Realität”) respectively. It is funded under the “Programme Inter Carnot Fraunhofer” (PICF) scheme by the French National Reseach Agency (ANR) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Unlike your typical EU research project, our consortium consists only of two partners, one Fraunhofer Institute from Germany and a Carnot Institute from France:
So much for the administrative things. What are we actually going to do in the project? You can find a more elaborate description on our overview page, so let me just quickly summarize our goals:
We are going to develop a system which enables everyone to author mixed reality games and to play these on mobile devices.
Let’s have a look at the sentence in more detail:
“Everyone” means that our authoring tools should be simple enough for non-programmers to use but powerful enough to not alienate professional developers.
“Mixed reality games” include all games that use more than just your screen. It can mean location based games, pervasive games or augmented reality games.
“Mobile devices” mainly stands for mobile phones but does not necessarily exclude tablets for example
Of course as the project only just started, there are still many questions to be answered and decisions to be made. Some of them we already tackled during our two day kick-off meeting at Campus Birlinghoven in Sankt Augustin, Germany.