Animal Companion

Animal Companion was an interactive installation commissioned by the Heard Museum for their Super Heroes exhibit, which ran May 2015 to August 2015.  This family-friendly installation encouraged visitors to find an “animal companion,” one of five animals that are significant to several native tribes in Arizona. Combining a custom-built motion-capture system and audio detection, visitors moved in a 15’x15′ space, which triggered an animal to reveal itself on-screen. Users could then “play” with the animal by moving and/or singing with it. They could then take a selfie and learn more about their animal using a touch display.

screen-shot-2015-05-14-at-2-27-30-pmOur design concept was for people to enter our corner seeing a desolate landscape with little life or action, as seen in the photo to the left.  Then the space would go dark and only the sound and music would change to reflect the environment of the chosen animal.  (The computer chose which animal for a variety of reasons.)

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.28.19 PMAs people walk around our corner lights would illuminate behind a silhouetted animal.  As you move different lights would show different parts of the animal.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.35.16 PM

The installation then would transition to a full reveal of the animal chosen, active and playful in its environment.  People can use their voices to vocalize with the animals, and the music would become more active.

The technology used to produce this installation was created by urbanSTEW using various open source products (OpenCV, Pure Data, Pd++), commercial products (Unity 3D) and custom software (C++ for audio and music create and camera tracking.)

Animal Companion was commissioned by the Heard Museum.

A short demo of the installation: 2015-08-27 17.06.00

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