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Magazine > Lesson #5

Lesson 5 - 29/11/2011

Cameras, Projectors, and Gibberish

At the start of the lesson the Lab looks like an interaction storm has passed through it. Since our current exercise deals with motion, all the groups make use of webcams to record motion and all manner of other means to implement their interaction. One group is busy suspending a projector from the ceiling, another opts to suspend a camera that will capture the room from above, and two other groups try to find an empty wall space for their demonstration.

Jenny Bahar, Shmulik Mauda, Aviad Fux

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

Last week the group presented their idea of using the human body to create letters on a computer. This week they present a live demonstration in which two of us stand in positions simulating letters, which are registered by the computer that successfully deduces a graphic form from the pair.

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

The interaction is implemented by means of the Processing programming environment. The computer recognizes people facing it and freezes the image captured by a camera. The image is transformed from color to black-and-white, and the form of the people is translated into pixels.

One of the challenges in this interaction is that the participants have no indication of the place or length of time they need to maintain the structure of the letter. Feedback from the system to the people is required for it to be a good interaction.

Dana Mick, Doron Segal, Shay Merci, David Kantor

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

The group began with a concept of body language and the subliminal conversation that occurs between two people conversing with their hands. They set up two laptops, volunteers from the audience stand between the computers and the wall, and discover that each of their movements in front of the cameras are translated into words in gibberish at varying speeds in accordance with the speed of the movement. A dialogue develops between the two experimenters that becomes a game between them and between each of them and the computer.

The interaction is implemented by means of the Max programming environment, and comprises two main parts. The first registers the image from the camera and estimates the quantity of movement by subtracting each frame from its predecessor. The second part changes the speed and volume of the prerecorded gibberish segment, courtesy of Yoad Mick.

The interaction works like magic, but is missing clear rules, and perhaps the setting needs to be changed: perhaps two people aren't needed in order to enjoy the interaction? Questions arise regarding the chosen sound, and how emotions can be expressed by means of sound in a more sophisticated way.

Roni Rosen, Omer Ben-Naim, Itay Kurgan

Last week this group came up with a concept of a type of digital graffiti. This week's product maintains a connection with the original idea, but is considerably less inhibited: a camera is set up to film a wall illuminated by a projector. A person entering the camera's field of vision is identified by a red outline projected around him. When the experimenter leaps into the air, his image remains frozen at the highest point on the wall, as though paint has been sprayed onto it at the very moment of leaping.

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

The group used the Processing programming environment to recognize that a person is standing in front of the camera, and to check when he leaps or, in other words, when the bottom of the photographed area remains white, and then, when the person is at his highest point, the program preserves his image and projects it onto the screen.

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

The interaction itself is very brief, but due to the various body postures that can be frozen, there is actually a potential here for an object that invites longer engagement. The next developments can include layering of images captured in this way, and other changes that can be effected with these images. A discussion develops about whether it's preferable to capture a person's image or a different graphic element, with advantages and disadvantages for each choice.

Dina Rubanovitch Even-Paz, Osher Shukrun, Shahar Yaacoby

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

This group chose to engage in an object that reacts to the movement of a person standing close to it, a kind of computerized pet that automatically comes close and draws away.

The group used a remote-controlled car on a straight track, and a camera suspended from the ceiling to film downward. The registered image is split into two parts: in the top third the computer recognizes the position of the car and in the remaining two thirds of the image the computer assumes that an identified object is a person to whose movements it needs to react. The program calculates the direction in which the car should be moved and controls it by means of a Phidgets computerized relay connected to the car's remote control.

We discuss the technical aspects of the project and suggest various solutions for the difficulty the group encountered in recognizing the objects. In terms of the interaction, there are many and varied opinions regarding the desired shape of the track and the object's behavior vis-à-vis the person.

A Short Summary and a "Waiting Room Session"

As a general insight, we're reminded not to let technical challenges delay development of the interactions themselves. Working in groups enables us to divide our efforts and continue developing our ideas, settings, and all the other essential elements, while overcoming problems in the current implementation. We can achieve a complete and finished interaction only if we work on all the aspects concurrently. At the same time we're also reminded that in everyday life there are virtually no systems that function error-free. For example: writing recognition on touch screens isn't perfect and users have become accustomed to be forgiving to a certain degree, so it's alright for us too.

After everyone's projects have been presented, the engineers are introduced to a concept the designers know well: "Waiting Room Session". This is a separate discussion in the workgroups while each group waits its turn for the instructors to participate in their discussion. It's an opportunity to talk about the critique we've just received, raise ideas, and consult with the instructors and each other before dispersing for another week, until the final submission of the exercise next week.

Until next time...

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

Photographs by Itay Kurgan
Written by David Kantor


- Introduction

- Lesson 1

- Lesson 2

- Lesson 3

- Lesson 4

- Lesson 5

- Lesson 6

- Lesson 7

- Lesson 8

- Lesson 9

- Lesson 10

- Lesson 11

- Lesson 12

- Final Lesson

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