Box by Bot & Dolly is the most impressive and immersive example of 3D projection (aka projection mapping) I have yet come across. Whereas nearly all previous examples of 3D projection have employed projection onto static objects, Box showcases what you can do with a combination of 3D projection and movable objects.
We’ve been working on similar projects, albeit on a smaller scale and mainly driven by research interests, for a couple of years (see the above video for some of the tests we did four years ago in collaboration with Kollision and BIG), and to me this type of technology holds a lot of potential, so I’m very excited to see it becoming more mainstream as professional interaction designers start working with it. One of the tricky aspects of doing 3D projection onto moving objects is that it requires very precise calibration. If the calibration of the projectors is just a bit off, pixels will spill over and the illusion will break down. As long as you’re projecting onto a static object, you’re more or less home safe once the projectors are calibrated, but when you project onto a moving object, you need to find a way of tracking this object with a high degree of precision. Box circumvents this problem by using pre-programmed robots to move the displays.
In our most recent work, we’ve developed so-called Tangible 3D Tabletops, which combine interactive tabletops with 3D projection onto tangible, movable objects. One of the demonstrators is the Tangible Urban Planning demo above. Although there are still a number of interesting research questions to address (for instance how we can track and project onto objects that people pick up and carry around a room, how we can integrate it with other types of interfaces, and how we can project onto shape-changing objects, I’m fairly sure that projects such as Box can help pave the way for a wider uptake of 3D projection.
Today I’m giving a paper presentation at Nordichi about a new type of interface, Tangible 3D Tabletops, that Kim Halskov and I have developed over the past year. As is implied by the name, the interface combines elements of tangible tabletops (e.g. Reactable) and 3D projection onto physical objects. This allows us to augment tangible objects with visual material corresponding to their physical shapes, positions, and orientation on a tabletop. In practice, this means that both the tabletop and the tangibles can serve as displays. In the paper, we present the basic design principles for this interface, particularly concerning the interplay between 2D on the tabletop and 3D for the tangibles, and present examples of how this kind of interface might be used in the domain of maps and geolocalized data. We then discuss three central design considerations concerning 1) the combination and connection of content and functions of the tangibles and tabletop surface, 2) the use of tangibles as dynamic displays and input devices, and 3) the visual effects facilitated by the combination of the 2D tabletop surface and the 3D tangibles.
The slides from my talk are embedded below, and a video is coming up as soon as the IT University of Copenhagen get their wifi up and running.
“New forms of interfaces that facilitates interactions of tangible og intangible nature also demand new prototyping methods. But formal design processes, such as are available for screen-based interactions, have yet to be elaborated in this realm. An approach that is accommodating low and high fidelity prototyping methods can help designers facing domain-specific challenges in a quite large design and opportunity space.”
One of the outcomes of this work is the Sketch-a-TUI, a toolkit for sketching tangible user interfaces on capacitive screens using physical objects of almost any material as user interfaces.
Time and place: August 30, 14:15 — 15:30, the Peter Bøgh Andersen auditorium, the Nygaard Building, Aarhus University.
Building on the successful event in Vienna 2010, Media Architecture Biennale 2012 brings together artists, practitioners and researchers from academia and industry in the ongoing exploration of the meeting between architecture and digital media. The 2012 Biennale comprises an academic conference track, exhibitions, and industry sessions, as well as a full day of workshops. Our vision is to provide an excellent forum for debate and knowledge exchange; to offer a unique opportunity that brings together the best minds and organizations; and to highlight state-of-the-art and experimental research in media architecture.
The design of media architecture invites encounters between people, the built environment, and digital media. It opens up rich opportunities for new forms of participation through dialogue and engagement. As an emerging field, diverse perspectives are coming together in media architecture, and the challenges are as abundant as the opportunities. At the conference, we explore “participation” as a core value of media architecture. In this context, participation may occur in the initial design stages of media architecture, e.g. as different practitioners, stakeholders and potential audiences take part in shaping future media architecture; it may occur when media architecture is realized and people experience and interact with it, e.g. when public spaces and urban environments and the practices they shape are influenced by elements of media architecture; it may also occur as new platforms give rise to new opportunities for shaping systems and surroundings.
We consider media architecture as an inclusive term that encompasses encounters and intersections between digital technologies and our physical surroundings. In this respect, we invite papers that present and discuss novel contributions to media architecture both on a practical and theoretical level and that further our understanding of the field through case studies, design approaches, and best practices. We expect contributions to critically explore a wide range of topics including, but not limited to:
- Case Studies of Specific Projects
- Future Trends and Prototypes
- Media Facades and Urban Displays
- Interaction Techniques and Interfaces
- Social and Cultural Aspects of Media Architecture
- Historical Perspectives on the Intersection between Media and the Built Environment
- Design Processes and Methods
- Participatory City Planning and Developing Urban Media Environments
- Participatory Architecture
- Spatial Locative Media
- Development and Design of Content for Specific Contexts
Fascinating use of 3D scenography in this dance performance, Cinématique, developed by Compagnie Adrien M. 3D projection seems to be taking off (we have worked on a number of such projects in my research group 1, 2, 3), and this is an impressive example of what can be accomplshed with seemingly simple geometrical shapes projected onto an empty stage. What really makes the scenography come to life in this case is the performance of the dancers and the ways in which they respond to and at time influence the visuals.
This morning I held a presentation about information visualization at the Headstart social media community. The slides of the presentation are embedded above and present an overview of current trends in information visualization. In particular, I focus on how information visualization expands beyond personal devices and displays (e.g. phones and laptops) into objects, rooms, architecture and public spaces.