The process of designing interactions between humans and machines has been dominated for decades by the creation of complex patterns of user actions with simple input devices. This started to change in the recent time: Systems that allow the creation of interactive environments making use of the human body as a whole are spreading. Also, they are no longer detached systems of information processing, but aware of the wider context in which they are situated and include it by design. One of the major challenges in current interaction design is therefor to transform them from mere objects of curiosity into designs usable in everyday life situations.
The project IN-CYCLE is a contribution to that attempt by building and evaluating an prototypical setup for the documentation of human interactions involving the whole body.
It is based on multi-perspective slit-scan recordings rendered to three dimensional objects and combined with various sensor data.
It enhances the process of analyzing users’ interactions with gestural-based interfaces by providing a unique perspective on them, highlighting properties not visible by traditional means of documentation.
In his paper dealing with the Video Streamer (1999), Elliot highlights a couple of interesting criteria that have to be addressed when “rendering time”.
- How to portray motion in a still image.
- How to display video frames so they portray their own temporal characteristics.
- How to associate a view of motion within the frame with a view of motion beyond the frame.
- Different ways to effectively render different time scales and how to relate them.
They are hinting at a couple of problems that have to be addressed by IN-CYCLE as well.
The core problem is obviously already stated in the first one: How to transcend the limitations of the still image while at the same time being confined to it? There are various possible solution coming to mind. Some are elaborated in more detail below and are mainly an evaluation of previous attempts using similar technical ways of transforming video footage. Another attempt would be to look at how motion has been tried to depict in illustrations and other creative processes dealing with still images. Even if it is clear, that animation is rather interested with recreation of the illusion of motion through still images (so in a way quite the opposite of what I am trying to do here), there may be some interesting insight to be gained from it as well.
In order to truly highlight the development of an interaction process, motion needs to remain motion. I think no simple reduction of the interaction process to mere atomic events, will do justice to it’s emergent properties. A solution for this could somehow lie in Elliots fourth criteria. If the connection between the current limited amount of visualized data and the overall process could be maintained in an appropriate way
Other projects tried to tackle this issues in various ways before, so it seems to be a plausible first step to build some prototypes similar to these existing works and evaluate how well they fare with addressing these critical aspects of “rendering time”.
SALIENT STILLS (Laura Teodosio&Walter Bender)
VIDEO STREAMER (Edward Elliot)