AFLOAT is an immersive interactive installation trying to break the mold of treating “physical installation” as a reactive 2D screen. With three layers of transparent fabric hanging in the space unaligned，the audience can walk through space, and the bubbles are always following them with the skeleton tracked by Kinect. Giant bubbles can be created with the audience with gestures.
New York Hall of Science, Aug 2017
Element Music Festival, May 2017
ITP Spring Show, April 2017
We've seen way too many interactive arts where audiences wave their arms in front of a giant screen, trying to find out "what does this do" and walk away with an answer "oh, okay, cool!" within less than 1 minute. This happens even for many best among the best pieces.
It's painful for the creators as we're not here to showing off technology or visuals, we want our audience to EXPERIENCE our works. But apparently, a giant screen is not as inviting or immersive enough as we expected it to be.
This leads to my design challenge:
"How can I design an immersive interactive piece to encourage the audiences to walk around and explore in the space?"
Research on Pathways
When facing a screen, even the most creative audience was moving in linear pathways.
On the contrary, those "noninteractive" daily items created a maze where everyone moved in a random pathway and had fun.
Research on Variables
When there was only one and very obvious variable, the audiences were happy. They started to play with it as soon as they figured out how to.
When there were more than one variables or the variable is hard to figure out(eg. the Kinect is tracking the hip joint) The audiences got confused and frustrated soon.
Visual affordance is the key to encourage the audience to move in the space.
Simple Variable is strong enough to create a playful experience.
Reactive and continuous feedback keep the audiences confident with the interaction.
Fabrics hanging unaligned served as an affordance to encourage audiences to move, the soft and tangible material made the fabrics itself something to play with
Simple and intuitive visuals - bubbles to create an immersive and relaxing experience
To make it more playful, we added the "make giant bubble" function, audiences can close their two hands and then open to create giant
Motion tracking is the basic interaction, the bubbles move with the audience's hand throughout the space