Virtual Cooperative Sculpture

Thomas Verbeek, University of Otago Part of CW12

“The Octagon” is both an exhibit and an experiment in cooperation and user interface design. Eight computers provide eight ‘artists’ with a view into a shared virtual room. In the center of the room is a platform on which sculpture may be built. Each participant can add to the sculpture using a very intuitive interface. It ‘feels’ as though you just draw what you want and it appears in 3D. Most users need no instruction. Each user’s 2D view is inherently ambiguous, yet artists do not seem to ask how their 2D gestures are translated. They discover the rules by experimentation and usually don’t even realize that there are rules.

The Octagon can be presented in various forms. The simplest is to set up eight computers in a ring so they surround a real space. But it is possible to put the computers anywhere. Activity can be shared across the room or across the world.
The application was developed in Graphics Research Group at the University of Otago in New Zealand. It was featured in the “Emerging Technologies” exhibition at SIGGRAPH ASIA 2011 Hong Kong.