Enhancing Art Engagement with Character-Driven Augmented Reality


This project started in 2023 and is ongoing.


Börge Scheel (ETH)
Fraser Rothnie (ETH)
Dr. Fabio Zünd (ETH)
Prof. Robert W. Sumner (ETH)
Diana Pavlicek (Die Post)

Industry Partner:

Die Post


The Swiss Post has a long-​standing commitment to art and has been collecting works of contemporary art since 1924. Their collection now encompasses over 400 works that are of special relevance to Switzerland and the Swiss population. However, despite the significance of the collection, making it available to the Swiss population remains a challenge. Trends in modern building architecture focus on open plan work spaces and glass materials that limit possibilities for hanging art. And, even when art can be displayed, it is not convenient for most citizens to access it. To address this situation, the Swiss Post and the ETH Game Technology Center engage in a research collaboration to make the Swiss Post’s art collection more visible, accessible, and engaging for the Swiss population.

The project aims to develop a prototype application for mobile devices that utilizes novel augmented reality (AR) technology to bring artworks of the Post seemingly into the user’s home. On a tablet or smartphone, the user will be able to collect virtual artworks, and view and explore them on the device through AR. A virtual character is present in the scene and explains the art to the user and lets the user interact with it. This animated character will provide deeper context for adults while also making the experience more engaging for children.