What if you, being here, could be a virtual presence anywhere?

 

“The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter.”

Ivan E. Sutherland, The Ultimate Display

Project Anywhere is an intention to breach the limits of physical human presence in space, by replacing kinaesthetic, visual and auditory with artificial sensory experiences, in a fully interactive virtual environment.


project Anywhere from studio any on Vimeo.

 

Blending aspects of both actuality and virtuality, the project creates the first vivid presence in an augmented reality space. The ubiquity of processors and the advent of cloud computing has made possible the decentralised aggregation of independent node systems in a common network, bringing together people from the most remote places to coexist in the same virtual space. Exploiting technology, project Anywhere, furthermore presents the potentiality of the digital as a final spatial architectural object in itself, instead of its use as an intermediary form or interface, while concurrently displaying the capacity of designing such spaces with an embedded dimensionality of time. The project’s title, “Anywhere”, refers to the generic nature view website of the digital and thus the virtual environment that can be produced. The digital landscape, or meeting place, can be made to simulate any physical context: real or imaginary; related or not to the subjects’ physical surroundings.
The project’s aim is to experiment with heretic notions of space and time [heterotopy, heterochrony], and the sensory experiences that could be produced by replacing actual senses with designed ones.
Software:
The main part of the project is a mobile application. It functions as a decentralized network node, and the portal for each player to join the virtual environment. Mounted on a mask, the phone provides a stereoscopic viewport for each subject, while simultaneously receiving, synchronizing and formalizing an array of data from a web cloud in real time. Subjects can join from any device connected to the internet.

In parallel, a sensor layer quantizes physical human presence in space. Omnitracker is a software developed for that, involving wireless and real-time, body skeleton and hand gesture tracking of a total of 83 degrees of freedom, from a local sensor layer that includes infrared space scanning sensors and the Inteliglove system.
83 + 3 degrees of freedom coming from the subject’s phone and the sensors, fuse to animate a digital Avatar. Any movement of the subject in physical space, such as a slight head tilt, a finger movement, or walking, corresponds to a correlated movement of the avatar in an 1:1 relationship in the virtual space, in real time. Furthermore, hand gestures can be programmed to perform a variety of actions in the virtual context, proving that a virtual presence can also be an active one.

The project was developed in Unity3D and Java, and its using a range of tools developed or prototyped for this purpose, such as the omni mask, the inteliglove interface and the omnitracker.

Awards:

Ivan Petrovic Prize for the “best presentation by a young researcher” for “Virtual Architecture in a Real-time, Interactive, Augmented Reality Environment” a conference paper based on this project,  eCAADe 2015, TU Vienna, September 2015.
Second place in Zeiss VR One Contest for Mobile VR Apps
An earlier version of project Anywhere submitted as “any-” to the Museum of Science Fiction international architectural competition was awarded the Arthur C. Clarke prize for “the most creative and unorthodox approach”.

Press:
Euronews Sci-tech / Project Anywhere: an out-of-body experience of a new kind  [multilingual]
Reuters video interview / Project Anywhere takes virtual reality gaming to new level, 2/2015
Associated Press / Video & interview at TEDxNTUA / pending publication
The Guardian / The Observer Tech Monthly (print):  Project Anywhere : digital route to an out-of-body experience : Constantinos Miltiadis’s project combines inteligloves and Kinect sensors to an Oculus Rift-style headset to provide the ultimate in impressive digital experiences
Catalogo Diseno: Constantinos Miltiadis desarrolla un entorno virtual a traves de un telefono movil [Spanish]
Fubiz: Virtual Universe in Real-time [French]
DesignBoom: subjects manipulate project anywhere’s virtual universe in real-time<
Museum of Science Fiction: A departure from museums as usual…

Exhibitions & installations:

Demonstration at Carl Zeiss Headquarters, Oberkochen, Germany, 6/2015
Public installation at the TEDxNTUA event, in Athens, 17/01/2015

Video credits

Filming & Editing: Demetris Shammas
Music: Michalis Shammas
Subject: Anna Maragkoudaki

Concept and development: Constantinos Miltiadis
Developed at the Chair for CAAD, Prof. Ludger Hovestadt
© studioany.com 2014