Michael Doherty
Michael Lewis

Online|Offline Chessgame

Fuse physical chess with the online world

Introduction to Physical Computing

One of the exciting advents for the game of chess is that it's expanded to an online environment where players from different countries and across many miles can now meet on the Web and play in tournaments or with family and friends. However one of the difficulties with online chess is that players still lose certain qualities that you get with the physical board. Our game brings these two worlds together by allowing players to see on a physical chess board what moves their online opponent player is making. In our discussions with chess venues near NYU players mentioned that this could have great value for teachers as well as be an innovative development for the game. Something that is unique about our board is that it doesn't require expensive technology such as projection and tracking as do other augment reality chess boards.

we spoke to chess players

gaming enthusiasts, chess players, technology challenged, elderly, chess students/instructors

User Scenario
A player sets up his/her physical board and logs on to the Internet to a chess site. Another player is located miles aways and sets up their board and does the same. Their physical boards are now connected via the Web. Players make moves just as on a normal board. Opponents moves are indicated by the illumination of spaces. Once the player sees this indication, they then move their pieces and play continues. Any new moves are tracked online in case a player moves their physical location.

A recycled chess board was transformed into the container for the technology of the new chess board. 1/8" audio jacks and plugs signal to the microcontroller the location of each piece. The ID of the piece is determined by unique values of resistors inside each piece. Multiplexers are used to filter inputs and output through a single Arduino board.

This game has ties to a long history of correspondence chess. Instead of forcing players on to a computer or having to communicate moves through writing or speech, opponents moves are indicated right on the board itself. It provides a platform allowing the best of both worlds—virtual and physical.