From Virtuality to Reality

Yun-Tzu Lee

Tangible grey zone between virtuality and reality


Classes Studio (Physical Computing),Thesis

The project aims at bridging virtual and physical world and reiterates what was ignored in virtual relationship. The project combines two parts: an installation and a website. The installation is the core of the project which provides the vivid experience of interaction between virtuality and reality. And website part represents the unexpected identities people meet in virtual world. People who engages in this project not only interacts with the mechanical and computer system but also people online.

User Scenario
How the installaton works:
There is a virtual pet( really virtual appearance) on the screen, when people stands in front of the screen and holds the leash and a pair of tongs, he becomes the owner of the virtual pet. Then the pet on screen starts walking around and pulls the owner around, the owner can feel
the pulling from the leash. The pet will poo and the owner have to clip the tongs to pick up poo, if not, a hand behind the owner will hit the bottom of the owner as punishment.

How the website works:
When owner starts walking his pet, at the same time on website any one can log on the webpage,
and choose to help or disturb the owner walking the pet. If help button is clicked, that means someone will help to pick the poo of virtual pet and the owner will not be punished. And if the disturb button is clicked, then the speed of bottom hitting hand will be accelerated. To connect the website and the installation, a camera is set up to transmit the images of the installation to publish on website lively.

I create a simple website with Flash, MySql and PHP. There are two options, help and prank, for people to choose on website. The choices are accumulated and calculated in propotion to show what are people's tendency to help or do prank on walking dog guy. And the data then be checked and reflected on installation.

The installation is composed of Flash game, motors and a switch. While animated dog walking on the screen, the motors follows the dogs movement to change the position of head of leash, that people can feel the moving through holding the leash. And a switch is attached on the tongs that when people see his dog pooing on screen, he clenches the tongs to turn on the switch, and the data is read by Arduino and sent to Flash game. If the poo is not picked in time, the Flash game sends signal to Arduino to turn on another motor, then a fake hand behind the leash holder starts hitting his bottom, and the speed of the motor is decided by people's voting on website.