Using Plush Toys to Direct Autonomous Animated Characters
Synthetic Characters Group & Vision and Modeling Group, The Media Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:Swamped! is an interactive experience in which instrumented plush toys are used as a tangible, iconic interface for directing autonomous animated characters. Each character has a distinct personality and decides in real time what it should do based on its perception of its environment, its motivational and emotional state, and input from its "conscience," the guest. By manipulating a stuffed animal corresponding to the character the guest can influence how a given character acts and feels.Key Points:
The characters incorporate a novel model of behavior and emotion, multi-target motion interpolation and new techniques for real time graphics. Automatic camera and lighting control helps reveal the emotional content of each scene.
By combining research in autonomous character design, automatic camera control, tangible interfaces and action interpretation, Swamped! seeks to create an evocative and novel experience.
- Autonomous animated characters whose behavior can be directed in real-time
- Tangible, iconic interfaces for synthetic characters using instrumented plush toys and gesture recognition
- Automatic camera and lighting control that helps reveal emotional state of charactersSwamped! was the first installation to use the Sympathetic Interface concept developed by Michael Patrick Johnson and Prof. Bruce Blumberg. The following paper will be presented at the CHI 99 conference:Video clips:
Sympathetic Interfaces: Using a Plush Toy to Direct Synthetic Characters
The video which accompanies the Sympathetic Interfaces paper is available in Quicktime 4 format:300x200 resolution (27.1 mb)More video clips are available on our resources page.
180x120 resolution (11.7 mb)
Images of the system in action:
The doll being used to control the character onscreen
The world of Swamped!
The happy raccoon
The raccoon is surprised
The raccoon is frustrated after another failed
attempt to catch the chicken
The raccoon acts nonchalant while observing the
chicken's bizarre attempts at flying
The chicken annoys the raccoon from the airThis work was sponsored in part by the Digital Life and Toys of Tomorrow Consortia of the MIT Media Lab.Special Thanks:
- Tinsley Galyean: NearLife Inc.
- Greg Tucker: MIT Media Lab
- Brian Smith: MIT Media Lab
- Rick Bahr, Bob Carlson, Andy Schein: Silicon Graphics
- Kinetix Inc.
- Agnieszka Meyro
- Julie Chasse
- All of the UROPS who worked during the year
Professor Blumberg is the Asahi Broadcasting Corporation Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences