For my final P-Comp / ICM project, I want to create a physical, interactive 360 video experience.

I love this weird transition that we’re at – the trends of building towards immersive virtual experiences, meanwhile the hardware is clunky, awkward, not easy to operate, and generally not sexy.  There is so much we don’t know yet about our new storytelling tools, and I want to explore what might be out there.

The idea is to use 2, possibly 3 projectors to map 360 video onto a giant round hanging lantern, where the viewer sticks her head instead while seated on a chair. There is a tiny camera mounted within, which is used to detect when the viewer blinks – a “long blink” (eyes closed for a second or more) triggers an edit, by either cutting to a different scene, or flipping the projected 360 video upside down.  There is a physical controller as well, with a “play”, “pause”, and “rewind” button, reminiscent of VCRs.

There are a lot of components involved, but I’ll be using OpenCV for blink detection, Arduino for the “VCR” controls, and MadMapper for projecting:

I tested out the projection with a smaller lantern and the effect is exactly what I hoped for, the video looks grainy and nostalgic in some way. This is the view from inside the sphere: