December 20, 2008

The RV10000: Cosmic Hand Dance Actualization Machine

An attempt to rectify the various meandering attempts of contemporary psychedelic/rave culture to unite us spiritually

• Rave and Psychedelic culture is chronically obsessed with the idea that it will unite us despite its failure to create utopia.

• These subcultures have some strong conceptual undercurrents but overall have  not managed to graduate past the party mentality as an effective methodology.

• From an aesthetics aspect it has a variety of practices that are worth exploring in an organized framework.

• These cultures have generated some useful technology and design based solutions to generating a complete mini-culture - replete with indigenous music, ritual practices, a unified social consciousness and an orientation on group experience.

• There is a need for next-generation, interaction based visualization tools that unite “eye-candy” with interesting ways of exploring form in space.

• There are complex of existing, unexplored, aesthetic traditions that have successfully created volumes of material that visually articulates cosmic, non-verbal and spiritual phenomenon.

• These design traditions pull from math, physics, geometry, metaphysics and integrate complex symbolic syntaxes.

• The need to create a interactive object that exists in public space that bridges these gaps and creates a compelling coherent link to mainstream, visually dense culture.

Having spent some years as a VJ I am more than familiar with all the varieties of underground, electronic music culture at creative semi-interactive displays of spatial phenomena in a performance setting.

As we can all see this type of performance and real-time visualization has it’s pros and cons.


It all began with this product


I acquired a 12” clear plastic hemisphere from Canal Plastics.  After doing some research into visual and sonic sensors I decided on Sharp GP2D120X IR proximity sensors.  I got all of my materials together and began construction.

12" transparent, plastic hemisphere

Sharp GP2D120X Range Finders

Table o' stuff

I coated the hemisphere in privacy spray.  I then made a basic setup to attach the hemisphere on a rigid frame in preparation for wiring and presentation.  This setup allowed me to situate the object initially so I could begin posing and working with volume at my desk.

Sprayed Hemisphere

Sprayed and Mounted

This is my first wired rigging.  I used 3 sensors at first.  I was interested in using triangulation formulas to mathematically predict the presence of one interaction point.

Initial Wiring

Other side of unit displaying sensor mounts and wiring


After a series of design decisions, an elaborate shopping trip to Calumet Photo, Pearl, Plastic land I implemented a series of design decisions that allowed me to mount and prototype the design including the projector.

Full setup

Breadboard/Arduino setup


Tripod mounting setup


Video and Description of the project:

Multiple people using the Hand Dance Machine at ITP Winter Show 2008:

Future design and construction strategies:

• Delve into the varieties of graphics generation from real-time, procedural, OpenGL based 3D animation to driving animation that is produced specifically for the object.

• Develop a stronger grasp off the mathematics necessary to generate predictive orientation algorithims so I can more fully make use of the volumetric interaction space within the object.

• A more integrated and realistic strategy for pursuing venues that would be interested in such a performative device, galleries, dance parties etc.

• Larger scale design that involves sound and full-body or multiple person interface.

  1. nixphyscomp posted this