The work we did at the AZ Residency allowed us to build a fully functional version of B-wind! adapted to fit a specific exhibition space.
We decided to call that version 1.0 to reflect the fact that for the first time all the little parts that make the installation work were in a functional stage. Our goal now is to work from this version on and evolve it to respond to our ongoing research work and to adapt it to the challenges of new exhibition spaces. In order to show that, we settled on a version naming scheme for the installation, where minor releases accompany our research work and major releases happen around public exhibition times.
So v2.0 will showcase all the work done in the installation until the next exhibition comes along. The first major version gave us a pretty good picture of how all the different parts that make up the system relate among themselves, and allowed us to simplify and abstract a lot of the complexity shown on previous system architecture diagrams (see above).
Currently, there are three main drivers for our research work towards the next major version of B-wind!: expressiveness, flexibility and efficiency.
Making someone feel like being the wind requires good action feedback, low control latency and expressive visual cues.
In this context good action feedback means making the wind generators’ work at the remote location more expressive. For this to happen we need to focus on the wind generator design and control. We’ll search for better and more powerful fans and look into how we can tweak the number of fans and their placement to get more expressive motion from the trees on the video stream.
Low control latency is also key to a good feeling of control. B-wind has a complex control feedback loop with lots of points where we can minimize latency. We will try to minimize motion tracking time and control signal generation at the installation and research latency prediction and compensation strategies to help with network lag to and from the remote location.
We will also look into making the visual cues presented to the participants at the installation a bit more expressive. Participants have found that the current fluid based distortion is perhaps a bit too subtle for the desired effect of power and control, so we will try and make the graphics a bit more impressive.
The B-wind! setup has to be flexible to adapt to different exhibition spaces. We learned from our recent experience what are the parts that need to be more flexible, both at the hardware and software level.
B-wind hardware support needs to be more flexible to allow us to adapt to different room sizes and projection surfaces. This normally means using more than one camera for user input and more than one projector for graphics output.
We will also launch soon a project to kickstart the RTiVISS surveillance kit and we will try to redesign the remote part of B-wind! to use it for remote wind generation and video aquisition.
At the software level, we will focus on making the code more modular and implementing external configuration and tweaking of setup parameters.
B-wind! has a lot of moving parts. Getting all of them to work together has been a tough but rewarding challenge. But now that everything is working we need to optimize it to work really fast. Modern hardware has a lot of computing power embedded both in the CPU cores and the GPU. Currently we’re not making much use of it. We will work to better separate parts of the code that can be threaded effectively and to make better use of the graphics and stream processing power of the GPU.
Uff, that ‘ s a lot of ground to cover :) Stay tuned for B-wind! updates in the near future.