MirrorSpace is a multi-user interactive installation that directly engages the user through manipulations of a live video feed. An optical sensor, OKO, works in conjunction with a micro-controller and a PC to detect the presence of a user or users, distort the live feed of the environment and project this back into the space.

When a user enters the space they are presented with a projection of the space immediately in front of the screen, captured by a camera in the centre of the image. As the user enters the field of view, OKO measures the distance they are away from the projection and scales a strip of video to match the segment of the beam that has been triggered. The resulting effect is of a mirror that continually distorts its shape and image in relation to the way that the space in front of the screen changes.

MirrorSpace photo strip

Screen stills

The distortion of the users image or reflection has the immediate effect of engagement and fascination, prompting the user to re-evaluate their own bodies and image as well as the relationship between technology, the body and space.

OKO, the sensor that drives MirrorSpace, is a 64-pixel linear array optical sensor, developed specifically to scan an arc in front of the sensor and provide an 8-bit reading of the light level for each pixel. OKO outputs serial data to a micro-controller, in this case a BS2 unit, which optimises the data for transmission to a PC. The PC then distorts a live video stream from the space to create the mirror.

Space Diagram

Space layout

Further developments that are currently being worked upon include the introduction of a sound track, to which the user layers their own sounds, generated through their movement within the space. Experiments so far have shown that the changing soundtrack prompts the users to move in different way so affecting the reflections and resulting imagery.

The prototype of MirrorSpace was exhibited at Extreme Computing in June 2002 and if you want to try an online shockwave demo click here (sorry you'll have to use your imagination and pretend that there's live video of you).


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