<p></p> <p>LOS ANGELES – While the SIGGRAPH computer graphics and interactive technology conference plays host to the latest technology in 3-D animation, digital recording and videogame technology, it also shows off a lot of interactive art. Enabled by increasingly easy-to-use circuit boards and software, interactive installations have become a large part of the art scene.</p> <p>At this year’s SIGGRAPH conference seven piece in particular stood out as especially innovative.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Glowing Pathfinder Bugs by Squidsoup and PortablePixelPlayground</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Using an overhead projector and<a alt="((CONLINK|459|%20distance%20sensing%20lasers))" href=""> distance sensing lasers</a> , this installation turns a simple sandbox into an interactive game. Colorful animated caterpillars crawl around on the sandbox, but preferentially move from higher ground to lower ground.</p> <p>By building hills and digging troughs in the sand, participants can direct the caterpillars together. When two of them touch, they form a larger, slower, even more height-adverse worm. When all the caterpillars have joined together, the worm transforms into a butterfly and the exhibit begins anew.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Dinner Party, by Hye Yeon Nam, Georgia Institute of Technology</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Tackling the feeling of how the mind wanders when one eats alone, this piece animates sentences from Luis Carroll’s Jabberwocky poem across a white tablecloth. The sentences behave like little animals, emerging from the shadows cast by plates, glasses and flatware to explore the table. When the sentences have finished searching around the table, they return to their “home” in the shadows underneath the table setting.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Echidna by Tine Bech, University of the West of England and Tom Frame, Surrey Space Centre</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Like a cross between a hairball and a Theremin, this sculpture creates music in reaction to human touch. Like an animal, it simply hums when left alone, but shrieks when a human reaches in to touch it. Actually just a bundle of wires, the Echidna measures disruptions in the magnetic field produced by the wires, and generates sounds based on those disruptions.</p> <p></p>

<strong>The Lightness of Your Touch, by Henry Kaufman</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>This piece uses<a alt="((CONLINK|613|%20touch%20sensors%20and%20animation))" href=""> touch sensors and animation</a> to comment on the ephemeral nature of being touched, and by extension, all human connection. When a participant touches the picture of a woman’s torso, their handprint becomes a color animation. Then, when they remove their hand, the colored outline of the handprint blows away as if it was a pile of dry leaves.</p> <p></p>

<strong>ADB by Nicholas Stedman and Kerry Saga </strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Half way between a sculpture and a toy, the ADB is a snake-like length of motors that bends to touch like a living organism. When a participant picks up the ADB robot, it begins to squirm like a baby or small dog, forcing the participant to confront how they project feelings of life unto inanimate objects.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Strata-Caster by Joseph Farbrook, Worcester Polytechnic Institute</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>The only piece at SIGGRAPH that also incorporates an online component, Strara-Caster takes place on <a href="">an island in Second Life</a>. The participant sits in a wheelchair and rolls through a virtual world littered with provocative political images. By using the wheelchair and the closed environment, Strata-Caster gives the participant the feeling of being trapped by political and economic problems.</p> <p></p>

<strong>hanahanahana by Yasuaki Kakehi, Keio University</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Whereas many of the other pieces used touch or sound as an input, hanahanahana actually uses scent. Each virtual flower is topped with an inward pointing fan that sucks in different perfumes provided by the artists. Participants apply the perfume with paper leaves, “pollinating” the flowers. Depending on the scent, the flowers bloom in different shapes and colors, and attract animated hummingbirds.</p>

Technology Conference Shows Off Interactive Art