The Slow Glass

May 13 2010

This was a project for a Media Lab class: New Paradigms for Human-Computer Interaction by Pattie Maes and Hiroshi Ishii. Slow glass was imagined by Bob Shaw in the science-fiction story Light of other Days. Light travels very slowly in this material so that it takes months or even years for people to see what had been on the other side.

The Slow Glass

We consider the slow glass as an architectural element that provides a window into another space/time. It changes people’s perception of the surroundings. We tried to make an elegant implementation for the concept. The screen is located in the lobby of the new Media Lab building. One camera captures sequential images of the lobby and tracks the coordinates of people using background subtraction. Another set of cameras on the back of the screen records a panorama of the lobby. Video is played back, a few hours later, according to the relative positioning between a person and the screen. From a user’s perspective, the screen is like transparent, only that through it he sees the past.

The tracking system, powered by OpenCV:

Tracking System

A diagram of perspective simulation:

Diagram

A video of the concept and the first prototype that we presented in the class review. We are currently working on making it a permanent installation in the Media Lab building:

Collaborated with Polychronis Ypodimatopoulos and Daniel Rosenburg.

interaction class project installation Open Frameworks OpenCV iMovie