SHADOW EMA - AN IMMERSIVE ESCAPE ROOM EXPERIENCE
STRANGER THINGS MEETS THE NEVERENDING STORY
"Story Lab II students were developing an AI model that, once complete, could tell the “perfect story”. But it developed more than any of the students would have imagined. It created a rift in the basement setting loose fictional characters and monsters into the real world. The students were too late to save themselves, so now it is up to the people visiting EMA to close the rift. The guests solve a series of puzzles based around stories both familiar and new. In the first room, players work together to unlock the safe containing a journal written by the Story Lab students and the blacklight which leads the way to the AI’s lair. The players are subsequently challenged in the puzzle hall where they must scour the room for the answer to the puppet’s riddles. If successful, players move into the final room, deactivating the machine by joining arms and working together. With the machine powered off, the players ascend the stairs with the revived guide, saving the EMA Center from certain doom."
The experience combined Immersive Theater with completely original puzzles created with p5js, projection mapping, Arduino microcontroller programming, 3D printing, machine learning generative design, #ARG, and good old fashioned set, prop, and puppet construction.
AI+CREATIVE FILMMAKING DESIGN HACKATHON AND WORKSHOPS
The Nebraska Technology and Governance Center, Cinema 16, and Ash Eliza Smith, Robert Twomey and NovySan from the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts organized and co-hosted a one-day intensive AI film-making Hackathon in April 2023 where creatives offered up speculative visions of the future and emergent system designs to offer us clues and strategies of ways that we can shape an interspecies future. The day culminated with a dinner, guest speakers, and a film screening with awards.
Professor Dan Novy led two out of three pre-hackathon workshops introducing students to the ethical use of emerging machine learning tools such as Stabile Diffusion, Dreambooth, ControlNet, RunwayML, Midjourney, Chat-GPT, DALL-E, Eb Synth, Lens Studio, Avatarify, DeepFace Live, Eleven Labs, D-ID, et al.
DENTICLES AND TENTACLES OCEAN EXPLORATION WORKSHOP
(Rarotonga, Cook Islands) From October 3th to 14th, 2022, Sharks Pacific, Sharks Pacific Cook Islands Trust and the Ocean Discovery League (ODL) hosted two workshops for Cook Islands students to train them in ocean exploration, engineering, and research techniques. Sharks Pacific and the Ocean Discovery League provided opportunities that have never before been available to young Cook Islanders interested in STEM. Several of the deep-sea cameras that will be used during the expedition were initially developed at the MIT Media Lab.
Professor Dan Novy, University of Nebraska—Lincoln, co-developer of the Maka Niu deep-ocean imaging and sensor platform also led workshops in storytelling for science communication as well as immersive data visualization for community outreach.
SPIRITS OF PLACE
On Halloween Day 2022, Assistant Professor Dan Novy and the first-year students in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts Story Lab 1 course premiered 'Spirits of Place,' forty-five unique geolocative immersive audio experiences placed in or around downtown Lincoln. Including vocal performances by actors of the Johnny Carson School of Theater & Film, 'Spirits of Place' are interactive audio walks which explore location as character and its uncanny ability to provide a deep sense of immersion and narrative enhancement. Stories include everything for long dead ghosts wishing to be free, uncovering the stories behind the victims of an historic trainwreck, or aiding a scientist from a collapsing parallel dimension to save our world. The immersive audio experiences were built using the free Echoes interactive sound walks app or MIT's App Inventor. Listeners wishing to explore can begin by visiting https://go.unl.edu/spirits-of-place to download the app and choose their first adventure.
INTERACTIVE PSEUDO-HOLOGRAPHIC VIRTUAL AQUARIUMS
Built for the Australian National Maritime Museum's "One Ocean, Our Future" exhibition, and in collaboration with the Schmidt Ocean Institute. I created five interactive, gesturally controlled pseudo-holographic virtual aquariums, allowing museum guests to explore and engage with five 3D visualizations of extraordinary deep-sea specimens revealed during Schmidt Ocean Institute's 2020 circumnavigation of Australia aboard their research vessel Falkor. All development used a combination of Lightwave3D, Blender, and the Unity realtime game engine, with custom scripting written in C#.
E14-E15 MATTERPORT SCAN
I led a small team in creating a complete digital double of MIT buildings E14 and E15, home of the Media Lab, the Center for Bits and Atoms, Comparative Media Studies, the Program in Art, Culture + Technology, the Center for Advanced Urbanism, and the MIT List Visual Arts Center.
MEDIA LAB METAVERSE PANEL
The realization of a metaverse—the convergence of augmented reality, virtual reality, and other digital technologies with physical reality—has the ability to radically change the way we connect, perceive, and experience the world around us. My contributions to this panel discussion included virtual production and the creation of unique virtual 3D environments using the Spatial platform.
2021 FALL MEMBER EVENT
As creative producer and "Chief Imagineer" for the Media Lab's semi-annual Member Meeting, I led all aspects of production, including live simulcast and pre-recorded "simulive" video segments. Using principles of illusion and stage magic, the simulive segments were designed to seamlessly integrate with the event's livestream, creating the appearance that there were six on-site, live production crews when in fact there were only three.
As creative producer for Inflection PoinT, a student-focused, student-organized event to help the Media Lab community connect and learn, and celebrate the uniqueness that makes us resilient and the curiosity that drives us forward, I led the production of Showcase21, a livestreamed, curated showcase of videos that highlighted the work and lives of students, UROPs, and postdocs at the Media Lab. Additionally, I project-managed the development of a custom Gather.town installation created by a team of Media Lab students to provide additional opportunities for networking and virtual demonstrations.
Watch the trailer
2021 FESTIVAL OF LEARNING: VIRTUAL ATRIUMS
The Media Lab's 3rd-floor atrium is an important community space, which was largely inaccessible for more than a year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the 2021 Festival of Learning, an annual event by and for the Media Lab community, I led the development of four virtual atriums in Mozilla Hubs to serve as online gathering spaces for different activities—a Disco Atrium, Underwater Atrium, Outer Space Atrium, and the Hall of Mirrors, which served as a portal to scheduled sessions.
LILLI is an immersive, volumetric, reflective lightfield display using a hybrid of video and laser projection to visualize marine wildlife and ocean climate data, etc. While there's been an abundance of large holographic displays portrayed throughout science fiction literature and films, which often show large consoles surrounded by multiple people working together to manipulate floating images and data, there is a nagging question that goes unanswered: How do multiple people interact with a large 3D scene?
This project is two-fold:
1. To create a large, interactive 3D display and
2. Explore and establish a foundation for interacting with large 3D data for multiple users
Using a combination of laser and video projectors, we designed and built a car-sized 3D display that can be viewed from all sides. Developed in collaboration with MIT Media Lab's Open Ocean Initiative to help promote cleaner and more accessible ocean research, this display will be featured in 11th Hour Racing's traveling pavilion as they follow racing sail boats around the world.
#ZoomADay was a year-long project exploring the creation and use of synthetic characters and deep fakes for use in online telepresence and communications. It began as a series of Snapchat lenses, many of which are publicly available, and advanced to include more complex, AI-synthesized characters, using a machine learning toolkit called Avitarify. Along the way, the project was used to create virtual regalia for the 2020 Media Lab/Program in Media Arts and Sciences graduates and for a virtual celebration of the announcement that Dava Newman had become the director of the Lab.
Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019. Programmable Synthetic Hallucinations describe the utilization of the bio-physiological mechanics of hallucination generated in the human brain to display virtual information directly in the visual field.
I've built several iterations of these Pepper's ghost-style displays, including Yo-Yo Vision, a human-sized, autostereoscopic (no 3D glasses required) lightfield display that allowed Yo-Yo Ma to perform at the Media Lab’s 30th Anniversary celebration from a remote location. Another version of this project, the 3D Telepresence Chair, was used to allow an executive from a Media Lab member company to attend a meeting remotely.
Ocean Blue was an immersive ocean data experience built for the Wandering Cricket Night Market, part of a network of ephemeral art experiences. Ocean data concerning climate change, ocean health, and marine conservation were juxtaposed with a crowd-sourced database of memories, hopes, and dreams about the ocean collected online through a Google Form.
Twin projectors beamed the ocean facts or memories into an infinity mirror-effect moon pool installed in the back of an rented U-Haul moving truck. The interior of the box truck was decorated to simulate an underwater environment and the moon pool’s real water surface was perturbed by Arduino controlled aquarium pumps, creating a ripple effect that caused the projected typography to appear as caustic light reflections through the environment.
After a short amount of time, the microcontroller would pause the pumps and as the water stilled to a mirror surface the ocean facts and memories would coalesce and become legible on the walls surrounding the guests. After some moments of reflection, the pumps would reactivate and the words would ripple back into flickering, meditative caustic patterns and the sound of the moon pool would gently fill the truck. A new set of ocean facts or memories would be randomly chosen from the database and the whole process would repeat.
The main projection application was written in Processing and the relay control of the aquarium pumps was coded in C in the Arduino IDE.
Guests to the experience reported a sense of calmness and wonder and delighted in the reveal of the text as the moon pool stilled. Several guests spontaneously offered their memories about the ocean and discussion of conservation and exploration; some regretting they hadn’t followed their dream to work with whales or become an oceanographer. A number of guests returned several times to discover new facts or memories and many lingered for the meditative atmosphere. Several hundred people were able to experience this immersive and interactive data environment before the end call of the Night Market.
Many thanks to Jon Ferguson, Scott Berk, Anna Waldman-Brown, Chia Evers and other volunteers that helped build and host this immersive data experience.
Expands the home-video viewing experience by generating imagery to extend the TV screen and give the impression that the scene wraps completely around the viewer. Uses optical flow, color analysis, and heuristics to extrapolate beyond the screen edge in real time using standard microprocessors and GPUs.
An immersive storytelling environment to augment creative play using texture, color, and image. Utilizes natural language processing to listen to and understand stories being told, and thematically augment the environment using color and images.
A fusion of exploratory data visualizations based on realtime location-aware computing and the aesthetics of Abstract Expressionism.
A basketball net that incorporates segments of conductive fiber whose resistance changes with degree of stretch to calculate force and speed of a basketball traveling through the net. The output is displayed via the in-arena Jumbotron and televised to the home audience. Premiered at the NBA 2012 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest; winner of a 2013 Effie Award (Bronze, Beverages—Non-alcohol).
Transforms motion tracking and blob detection data collected from varying inputs, such as floating soap bubbles or live bacteria, into sound. BubbleSynth was a 2014 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition semi-finalist; SYNTHBacteria premiered at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, on September 18, 2014, as part of the After Hours PEM PM Series.
A data-driven social controller for visual exploration.
4K/8K Comics applies the affordances of ultra-high-resolution screens to traditional print media such as comic books, graphic novels, and other sequential art forms. The comic panel becomes the entry point to the corresponding moment in the film adaptation, while scenes from the film indicate the source frames of the graphic novel. The relationships among comics, films, social media, parodies, and other support materials can be navigated using native touch screens, gestures, or novel wireless control devices. Big data techniques are used to sift, store, and explore vast catalogs of long-running titles, enabling sharing and remixing among friends, fans, and collectors.
A sensor and actuator platform for Live Action Role Playing (LARP), immersive theater, theme park, and other transmedia experiences. The system is an open framework allowing any kind of sensor or actuator to be easily programed and reprogrammed on the fly, allowing novice LARP masters to add magic props and special visual effects to their game. The system premiered at Tri-Wyrd, in June 2012, and was integrated into “Veil Wars,” a two-day, pervasive, locative experience layered onto the Wyrd Con convention, created by Scott Walker and loosely based on Medieval Japanese mythology.