Final: “Channels”

“Channel” is an installation that allows users to sit in a canoe-like structure and run their hands through water alongside the boat. That motion rows the boat forward on a screen.

Who? I am working on this project with two other people — Suzanne and Ginny.

So far: I experimented with a forward-moving 3-D space in this program, “Flying.” We can use the skeletons of this program to create a forward-moving environment. Also, I experimented with a human capacitance sensor + water in the “Water Bowl.” There were also photocells involved in that project, which detected the motion of the hands once they were in the bowl. This will help with the rowing motion we can to measure in the water.

Things to do:

  1. Build a “canoe” to support a human and water tanks
  2. Build the water tanks, with installed sensors
  3. Bring the sensor readings into Processing
  4. Write the Processing code
  5. Figure out how sound will play into this

Things to figure out: Here’s the list…

  1. Building a water tank to support these sensors
  2. Building a “canoe” to support the tank and the person
  3. Finding speakers to add sound to the installation
  4. Altering the Processing code to create the river environment.

Why? The only requirements I have for my projects are that they a) have a “soul” and b) have meaning. Initially, I saw the soul in this piece — but I didn’t see the meaning.

But Suzanne and Ginny showed me that this could be about relaxation — about a full-body immersion that takes people on a magical, interactive journey through a peaceful land where nothing can go wrong! (Except, maybe, a null point error.) Humans need things that transport them to another world. We need things that make us feel as if we are super human, as if we can fly or float.

On another note, the Microsoft Kinect just came out. While it’s an incredible machine, it does not provide touch-based feedback; it’s all visual. This attempts to use natural, non-electronic feedback to enhance the user experience.

When I first created the “Flying” program, I was inspired by a feeling I got at ITP — the feeling that I was finally free, that I was finally enjoying my life. “Channel” is our attempt to bring that further. I don’t expect this will pull at heart-strings. But there are enough things in our lives to do that. Instead, I expect this to release the tension and frustration, allowing people to clearly see the things that are pulling at their heart-strings.


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