Ben Buchwald's Portfolio

Audience Interaction

April 2001 - May 2006
Client: Stage3 Research Group

Project Description

Audience Interaction was originally a research project by Dan Maynes-Aminzade in the Stage3 Research Group that I continued to develop. Dan's project was to explore ways to engage a large audience and give them all control of a large projected video game. Working together at Stage3 we explored several methods of interaction including laser pointers, audience leaning, and beach ball shadows. Since then it has been expanded to a number of other types of computer vision based interactions. Audience interaction has been used in at least six semester-long projects in the Entertainment Technology Center and many two week projects over several years of the Building Virtual Worlds course.

My Role

Using the original audience interaction framework I built the slightly off-color audience leaning game "Save the Babies" where audience members leaned left and right to move a set of firemen with a trampoline in an effort to save babies falling out of a burning building. After the successful testing of several different interactions, I was responsible for assisting an ETC project group building a more complete audience interaction based game upon which several more were subsequently created.

Expanding upon the original idea of audience interaction, I developed a new, more flexible framework from scratch capable of a variety of different computer vision based interactions. This framework is compatible with games built with Java, Panda3D, or Macromedia Flash. As a teaching assistant in Building Virtual Worlds, I was responsible for assisting groups who wanted to incorporate audience interaction using my framework into their projects. There have been many clever uses of audience leaning including: skiing, bus tipping, decision making, and steering. However, several projects went beyond the simple left/right leaning and used my framework to build worlds based on standing/sitting, passing glowing lights through the audience, shooting ducks with laser pointers, and building bridges and digging tunnels for lemmings with laser pointers.


An audience leaning game
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