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Microsoft’s Cube: A Connected Dance Experience

Microsoft’s Cube: A Connected Dance Experience
Arts & Culture

The interactive art installation was unveiled at Seattle’s Decibel Festival

Emma Hutchings
  • 29 september 2014

Microsoft recently partnered with the digital design firm Stimulant to launch a new project at Seattle’s Decibel Festival. The Cube is a large structure with digital displays that can be utilized as a canvas for creative composition and interactive art. It can also serve as a connected dance experience by displaying user’s avatars, which become linked by flowing digital ribbons.

The Cube is a new instrument for digital artwork that displayed a piece created by Stimulant when it was unveiled at the EMP Museum in Seattle as part of the festival. It is powered by five computers, visualizes sensor data from four Kinects placed inside, and also reacts in real-time to the beats of performers in the venue.

cube-stimulant.jpg

Dancers can see themselves in a whole new way, and make interactive connections with those on the other sides of the sculpture. When dancers arrive on opposite sides, their avatars become linked at the hands by virtual ribbons. Their individual dance moves transform into flowing and twisting shapes, creating collaborative visual expressions as they move along with the music. The dancers can see others through the Cube, and the Kinects can read up to three people on each side. The structure acts as a portal, virtually connecting people who are separated in physical space.

The large 3D object creates a virtual space, while simultaneously encouraging real-life interaction. The Cube invites onlookers to become part of the art, acting as a vehicle for a uniquely connected digital dance party. It reacts when participants stand in front of the structure, pulsating to music and tracing the movements of those around it.

The 4-foot structure with a continuous projection surface sits on top of a 2-foot tall base. In the future, the creators want to make a bigger Cube, or a number of Cubes that can talk to each other. It also has a variety of different applications, including a performance stage, an educational board, a display case, or a communications device. You can learn more about the Kinect-powered Cube in the video below:

Stimulant

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