Coexistence is an interactive, augmented reality art installation - a shared experience between two people in a world that is both real and virtual.
Wearing a virtual reality headset with a camera attached, two people sit facing each other across a room. They view a mixed reality that combines the real world around them with computer generated forms that appear to be in the same physical space. Each person holds a unique interface device that combines a breath sensor with a modified force feedback game pad.
Interaction occurs through breath. When blowing into the sensor you see your breath visualized as a stream of digital particles that can move and affect the virtual objects.At times colorful shapes appear that transform, move and rotate as you blow on them. You and your collaborator may work together to create an animated play on form or to blow away the virtual objects that obscure your view of each other.
Each time your collaborator blows into the sensor you can feel their breath as vibrations in the hand-held device. You can feel each other’s breath as tactile feedback. You can also hear your breath and that of your partner through the headphones.
Breathing and touching are the ultimate expression of our physicality. Breath and tactile feedback are used as the interface to emphasize the connection of our physical body to mixed reality. This work is also experimenting with forms of non-verbal communication that are sensual and quiet.
In Coexistence we not only maintain our simultaneous awareness of physical and virtual space but of our own physicality intermingled with virtual life. Breath and tactile sensations connect us to another person while connecting our body to a mixed reality that blends human presence, virtual form and physical space.
by Rebecca Allen
This work was partially funded by Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (IDII) and Intel Corporation.
- Mixed Realities, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea Gallery, Ivrea, Italy. 2001.