Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Real and the Virtual

I'd like to create an installation using a standard multitouch interface. The interface would be approximately 1 m wide and fairly high resolution. It would be mounted in a table-top configuration. A small pool of water, of similar construction and equivalent size, would be sitting directly next to the interface. The interface would be running a water simulation that resembles the real water as much as possible.


Jason LaPorte said...

My solution to this would be to line the bottom of a 1m by 1m by 5in basin with pebbles and then fill it with water (possibly with a wind generator just above the surface to make ripples).

Of course, that's missing the point.

It reminds me of a similar story with a friend of mine: he was looking to purchase an amp for his electric guitar, and while scouring stores, found one with a number of digital effects built-in. At one point, he exclaimed, "Ooh, look, it has an acoustic synthesizer!" My response, of course, was, "You know what has an excellent acoustic synthesizer? An acoustic guitar!"

Kyle said...

Yes, an acoustic guitar is a great acoustic "synth" :)

I think maybe you understand what I was saying but missed a sentence in the post. I was proposing that there are two things next to each other. One is a multitouch interface simulating a pool of water, the other is an actual pool of water.

I feel like I'd walk up to it and be really interested in the simulation, not so much the pool of water. But it's funny, because the simulation is such a poor imitation of the actual pool of water.

Jason LaPorte said...

Ah, yes, I'd missed that you wanted to put them side-by-side.

And I agree, the art here isn't the installation, but the fact that nobody's going to touch the pond, but everyone will mess with the multitouch. Any theories on why that is? I've yet to find one that's satisfactory.

Kyle said...

I think it's just rarity. We come across water every day, but not water simulations. I know I'm attracted to things I don't normally see. If I came up to this installation, I'd immediately want to know in what ways the simulation was different from the pond itself. I wouldn't touch the pond, assuming I already know what's going on.

A alternate version: the pond is placed behind a glass wall. A little matrix of directional air puffers hidden above the pond is used to virtually "touch" the real water when and where the screen is touched.