The University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland has created an amazing game-like art project that blends reality with fantasy. The project, titled LifeClipping, allows those wearing a special computer pack controlled by an iPhone and specialized goggles to explore reality mixed with an interactive virtual world.

Walking With The LifeClipper

The LifeClipper uses an iPhone to control the computerized backpack and goggles.

LifeClipper can only be experienced in St Johann’s Park in Basel, Switzerland, which has been overlaid with a three-dimensional terrain model. This ensures that the terrain matches the visual overlay, giving the virtual world a more realistic harmony as it fuses with the surroundings. It also minimizes the potential of vertigo or becoming unbalanced and tripping while exploring.


The sky is alive and the colors move while the landscape changes.

“LifeClipper3 is a media art project in which a walk is audiovisually expanded into a game-like experience by means of “augmented reality” technologies. For visitors this creates an immersive experience which is unique in each case, and which challenges and calls into question habitual modes of perception.” Jan Torpus, director of lifeClipper project via YouTube.


There is a sensation of visiting another world, complete with life forms inspired by Artist Rene Magritte.

The LifeClipping project began back in 2003, and early creations focused on history. Project Manager Jan Torpus says the inspiration for the visuals in the newest incarnation of LifeClipper came from movies like Avatar and the work of surreal artists.

Virtual World of LifeClipper

Floating insect-like creatures darting around are just a few of the surprises that await viewers.

It certainly feels surreal. The scurrying insects and morphing sky give way to swooping 3-D creatures looking a great deal like colorful mutations of sea life. At times the entire park gives way to a desert or field of vibrating colors. The visuals are mesmerizing and fantastic even on a small screen.

The landscape changes as the augmented reality takes over.

The landscape changes as the augmented reality takes over. (Image courtesy of MailOnline)

If you cannot visit Switzerland to experience LifeClipping in person, the University of Applied Sciences has uploaded several videos on the project which can be downloaded for free via iTunes U.  If you really want to experience the feeling of the project, we recommend the in-depth iTunes U podcasts over the short snippets on YouTube.

If you cannot see the video above please click here.

This project demonstrates an advancement in technology beyond what was reported on in our prior story of a photography exhibit augmented with sound in Portugal. Our AppList on Augmented Ghost Apps cannot hold a candle to creating an entire outdoor world. We wonder if the next step will be to expand LifeClipper into a full game that users literally walk into.

Are you a fan of this technology? What other uses do you see for virtual experiences like LifeClipper?