03 Echo: Human Shadow Interaction

Tags
Human-Computer Interaction
Human Bonding
Spatial Intervention

Case Details

Contributor
Ling Qin
Date
IDE 2021
Theme
Human Connectivity
Links
E-mail

Echo is a spatial intervention to create feelings of shared presence for virtual communication by casting shadows. It explores remote interaction in a novel, mysterious and poetic way - rather than seeing the all surroundings, Echo enables users to interact with others' silhouettes.

Summary

Driven by our interests in perception, motion, and the interaction between people and surroundings we created Echo, a spatial intervention to create feelings of shared presence for virtual communication by casting shadows. It explores remote interaction in a novel, mysterious and poetic way - rather than seeing the all surroundings, Echo enables users to interact with others' silhouettes. We envision Echo as a medium to connect people in different physical locations.

Shadow as a medium

We all had such memories as playing the game of stepping on each other's shadows. Shadow is an area of darkness, caused by light being blocked by objects. Shadow itself is a strong and natural visual feedback. It always exists but we ignore the potential of shadow for connecting the digital and physical world. At the same time, shadows are half private and half public. If others can only see the shadow of ourselves, they still know what we are doing but somehow our privacy is kept. For example, no one wants his/her messy room to be explored to others, even closed ones. Besides, not being able to see the whole person adds fun and mystery to the remote socialization experience.

Mechanism

Depth Camera & Projector — The system has two lenses. One depth camera captures the motion of the user in the room. Depth is calculated based on the known distance between sensors, the pattern of coded light being projected, and the artifacts present in the stream. The data output from LiDAR is a point cloud map, which is essentially a list of 3D coordinates. The other lens is a projector, which casts the shadow for users on the other side of Echo.

Switch on/off — Users turn on/off by patting Echo's surface. If another user is also using echo, they will be able to connect. This process can be scheduled or by coincidence. Inspired by sculptures and art installations that magically apply light and shadows. We design Echo also as a light source, giving users hope and company no matter how long and dark the night is.

Silhouette — In the room, the user is able to see the moving and realtime silhouette of a person projected on the wall and to interact with him/her.

Augmented Shadows — Enabled by computer vision, Echo can create virtual silhouettes even without physical objects. The Augmented Shadows are triggered by certain motion captured by the camera. In this scenario, shaking activates the falling leaves effects. Here, the boy is shaking a virtual tree, on the other side of Echo, the girl can see this action as well as the animated falling leaves.

Senario

Echo meeting prototyping