Making Things Interactive

March 25, 2008

Physically Building Virtual Worlds – Proposal

Filed under: Final Project,Joshua Smith — jssmith44 @ 11:53 am

The Concept:A child is given a set of physical scaled Models( Ex: Buildings, Sky Scrapers, Bridges, Monsters, Boats, People, etc)The child can then create their own virtual world by arranging a set of their models within a given square on a table, and their virtual world model is automatically rendered in Google SketchUp for them to explore in more detail.Parts List:

  • Table with Glass Square
  • Camera
  • Scaled Models (either purchased or made from craft material)-
  • Processing Computer
  • Fiducial Stickers

Technical Specifics: The only real hardware component to this project will be a camera and glass table. The rest is mainly software based. A camera will be mounted under the table, facing upwards. Each object will have its own fiducial ( see examples below) sticker on its base, so using the camera… its absolute position and orientation can be registered using an Open-Source Fiducial Recognition Framework. The application will then pass these position and orientation values to a Google SketchUp file preloaded with the coresponding digital models for each physical model. SketchUp will then render the world based on the position and orientation values. There will also be a space in the upper corner of the table, for a child to pick materials. For instance they can put a Grass Square in the upper corner, for the world to be built on grass, or water, etc. The system will completey expandable, so that as long as someone wants to build their own physical model, and corresponding digital model, any environment can be rendered.Fiducial Example: fiducial1I am also considering creating this same model with 3 cameras instead of 1. This would allow the software to recognize not just the absolute position on the x axis, but on the Y and Z as well, so a child could place buildings on top of one another. Below is a basic state diagram:PhysWorld State DiagramSpecific Software List:ProcessingreacTIVisionFrameworkRuby SketchUp APIFurther Down The Road: Rather then just build a snap shot of a Virtual World at one point, children could use this to script and direct their own movies. They could press a record button, and it would record the moving of their boat from point A to B, and then the person getting out of the boat and walking into the building. Add the functionality of recording sound, and they can create some great movies very simply.


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