Michael is an artist and software developer living in Toronto, Canada. Here you can check out his latest work, from installations to web apps.
Multitorch is a multi-user interactive installation and a part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2009. It invites people to interact with a virtual, typographical space and with each other. Participants manipulate characters with motion-tracked infrared 'torches'. All action takes place on a human scale: the projection and field of motion are identically sized. To move a character one metre, the participant must move their body a metre as well. Since it is impossible to quickly traverse the entire field, large actions are necessarily collaborative.
Participants can create, destroy and otherwise manipulate letters and words. The characters are divorced from their typical book constraints, instead obeying natural laws: newtonian motion, gravitation and fluid dynamics. The installation drifts periodically between several states, each of which offer different physical constraints and styles of play.
The projected image is approximately 27 feet diagonal, delivered from an adjacent window by a 4K cinema projector. An infrared camera situated near the projector and calibrated to the installation's field of motion tracks the torches. Through a perspective transformation, physical motion is mapped to action in virtual space.
The name Multitorch is a play on the word multitouch. Though the scale and mode of action are different, the installation operates almost identically to multitouch panels which make use of frustrated total internal refraction sensing.
The installation was produced in cooperation with Many Ayromlou, the lead research IT specialist at Ryerson University's Rogers Communication Centre. It could not have been completed without the amazing support of Shirley Lewchuk and the Rogers Communication Centre.