Conflux Festival's Augmented Reality Games, Gizmos Descend On NYC

Augmented reality golf game, played on New York City streets? Check. Fish-finding buoys that flash when the East River denizens swim near? Ditto. A 64-block chess game played with humans? Why yes, the Conflux Festival has that too.

In fact, this festival sounds downright awesome. Originally designed as a study on the "geographic environment of behavior" in 2003, the event has morphed over the years into an "art and technology fest," said David Darts, the curatorial director for this year's event, in an interview with the New York Times.

Case in point, the aforementioned golf game, played with iPhones, GPS and plenty of pre-round stretching, is called Gigaputt. NYC avenues are the "fairways," the sidewalks are greens, and a series of 18 local bars serve as the holes. Much like a Wiimote with MotionPlus and Tiger Woods 10, players "swing" their iPhones and the on board accelerometer, coupled with custom software, drives the ball forward.


The fish tech, called Fish 'n microChips (get it?), is the work of NYU professor Natalie Jeremijenko. An array of LED-equipped bouys line the East River, where they monitor water quality and also flash whenever a fish (or body) wash by.

The chess game, also played with cellphones, is an eight by eight block grid mapped out by photojournalist Sharilyn Neidhardt. Human pieces are controlled by two chess master overlords from afar, much like the staff at Gizmodo.

The festival runs from this Friday and run through Sunday. While you're in town, why don't you stop by Elizabeth Street down in Nolita for the Gizmodo Gallery? Tech overload? Yes, please. [New York Times]