Creating virtual characters, a virtual stage, interactive
3D sound, and networked puppetry, the CAT seeks to redefine
the nature of group interactions and live performance.
In collaboration with colleagues from the Smartlab Centre in London,
CAT researchers are developing tools to help people work and play
with computer-generated objects in ways that freely and intuitively
defy the traditional boundaries of space and scale. In a real-time, virtual
collaborative environment people will "puppeteer" 3D avatars in a rich
collaboration between the arts and computer science.
The team is developing a creative space in which a puppeteer,
working with responsive stereo vision and 3D sound, can perceive
graphically generated puppets appearing to be within the puppeteer's
hand/eye space. Using a combination of stereo glasses outfitted
with trackable LEDs and wireless earphones, this system creates
the illusion of a virtual puppet floating in 3D space. If the
performance includes a live actor or dancer, stereo glasses
will enable the puppeteer to see the combination of real and
generated actors as if they were present in a single performance
space. An audience in the theatre, looking at dancers and wearing
passive stereo glasses, will be able experience the dancers
interacting with life-size versions of computer-generated
puppets. Our first version of the program gave the user control
over the butterfly's behavior. Recently, we extended that control
to include the butterfly's appearance
In addition to the Butterfly Project's performance augmentations,
the CAT is seeking ways that this project can assist disabled
persons in everyday activities and in therapy situations.
Using virtual puppets as mobile extensions of themselves
or their intentions, people with limited physical mobility
will participate in various collaborative situations in new
ways. Currently we are developing a therapy suite with customized feedback visualization,
breath sensor control and programmable exercises. Thus a therapist
can compose a series of exercises and communicate via internet
with the patient who 'plays' with the butterfly by fulfilling various
To view a video overview of the project, please click here.
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences,
Kate Brehm, Joel Kollin, Daniel Kristjansson, and Jeremi Sudol.