Two students from the Terrassa School of Engineering have designed an innovative augmented reality system for learning to play chess that combines augmented reality, computer vision and artificial intelligence.
An ordinary webcam, a chess board, a set of 32 pieces and custom software are the key elements in the final degree project of the telecommunications engineering students Ivan Paquico and Cristina Palmero, from the UPC-Barcelona Tech’s Terrassa School of Engineering (EET). The project, for which the students were awarded a distinction, was directed by the professor Jordi Voltas and completed during an international mobility placement in Finland.
The system created by Ivan Paquico, the 2001 Spanish Internet chess champion, and Cristina Palmero, a keen player and federation member, is a didactic tool that will help chess clubs and associations to teach the game and make it more appealing, particularly to younger players.
The system combines augmented reality, computer vision and artificial intelligence, and the only equipment required is a high-definition home webcam, the Augmented Reality Chess software, a standard board and pieces, and a set of cardboard markers the same size as the squares on the board, each marked with the first letter of the corresponding piece: R for the king (rei in Catalan), D for the queen (dama), T for the rooks (torres), A for the bishops (alfils), C for the knights (cavalls) and P for the pawns (peons).
Learning chess with virtual pieces
To use the system, learners play with an ordinary chess board but move the cardboard markers instead of standard pieces. The table is lit from above and the webcam focuses on the board, and every time the player moves one of the markers the system recognises the piece and reproduces the move in 3D on the computer screen, creating a virtual representation of the game.