Portals are an experimental pair of physical boxes that allow two people to interact in a virtual but real world.
What are Portals?
Well, according to Wikipedia, "A portal is a magical or technological doorway that connects two distant locations separated by spacetime...Places that a portal will link to include a different spot in the same universe... a parallel world ... the past or the future...and other planes of existence." So..yeah, that sounds about right.
More specifically, my Portals will consist of a pair of boxes. Each box has a screen on the front and a gateway on the side where you can reach in with your hand. Through the magic of green screen your hand instantly appears to be in the virtual real-world of Google Streetview. And since you and your objects are now in this parallel world, real-world rules can be broken. For instance, a regular object from the real world could appear animated in this virtual one. These boxes are also connected to the internet which means you could share the space with other people. Here's some videos of where the current prototype is at right now (you can check out my thesis blog for more information too).
Lately, people have been getting pretty excited about the idea of interacting with computers by touching screens or gesturing in front of them. But I’ve been wondering, what if you could interact with by getting under, inside, or behind the screen instead? Also, what alternatives are there between the too-real experience of face to face video conferencing and the too-fake experience of completely virtual worlds (like Second Life)?
This is an experimental design project to help me explore some of these questions. It's not meant to be a commercial product, but I can speculate about a ton of potential ways people might use these boxes, from building entire parallel worlds to cross country puppet shows. But first I just need to build the boxes.
The current prototype is a mix of foam core, duct tape, fabric scrap, a desk lamp, an end table, a borrowed monitor, and the cheapest webcam possible. I’d like to level up, and that’s where I thought Kickstarter might be able to help.
Funding would go towards building a pair of Portals (2 boxes, so at least 2 people can use them at once):
- Monitors for each Portal so I could return the other monitor I’ve been borrowing.
- HD webcams and a better lighting set up for a more evenly lit scene, for a cleaner chroma key
- Materials for building the cases so they’re more portable & sturdy so they could possibly go venture outdoors to public spaces.
- A copy of Dragonframe, a great stop motion program, so I can better create nice stop motion animations of real objects in the virtual world.
- Possibly some sensors for identifying a tag or position of objects inside.
- If we reach the goal, any additional funding would go towards developing the project even further, exploring ways that interacting with this virtual world could actually affect a real-world location.
Documentation of this Kickstarter campaign and the things created for people as rewards ( like postcards, Physical Animation Reality Augmenters, and videos) will also be archived on the site as part of my greater thesis project as well. So really it’s like you’d be helping with multiple aspects of the project at once! Very efficient!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.