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07 Final Prototype (Lonely in the crowd)



For the prototype I used the Microsoft KINECT depth-camera. The Simple-OpenNI Processing Library, developed by Max Rheiner [10] based on OpenNI by PrimeSense. A close-range projector and a painted wooden wall. The program is entirely written in the open source programming language processing which is based on Java.


To make the installation as intuitive as possible, I used only basic, easy to understand methods of reading the different movements of the users. The OpenNI library comes with a very advanced method of detecting the user’s skeleton and implements precise movement into the program. But to use this, the user needs to calibrate the system before using it. This is why I decided not to use this complex way to respond to the movement. Instead I use the center of the user’s mass to control the swarms, this is easy to understand and works straight forward. In addition I wrote different methods to detect the touch and the size of the users. Even the amount of movement can be detected, but this doesn't effect the installation so far. The code consist of seven classes. For details take a look at the class diagram.

Character design

After having made several different approaches to a digital character that is drawn by code. I decided to use hand-drawn animations instead. The hand stroke of the character gives it a more personal, individual and lively look and feel. But on the other hand it was more work to draw a frame by frame animation. The following pictures give an insight into the development of the character design.

Sound design

The prototype sound scape consists of three different sounds. The fist sound plays as soon as a swarm is active. It adds a deep, mystic and dreamy atmosphere to the installation. It is a two minute long continuous loop. The second sound is a short sample triggered whenever a new particle grows. This is important for the user to notice the growing at all. It is subtle and merges into the atmospheric sound. The last sound is a short sample as well, it is triggered as soon as two particles collide. To give users the feeling that connecting the particles is something good, the sound had to be positive and bright. All the audio samples were made using different hardware synthesizers, sequenzers and a computer.