Thesis Archive Draft

Name: Lisa Jamhoury

Thesis Title: Facing You

Thesis Question: What does an embodied experience on the internet look like? Is it possible to feel physically present in virtual space?

Relevant Categories: TK

Elevator Pitch- 50 words max: What does it mean to be present? Can you be present in a place without being physically present? Using live volumetric video on the web, “Facing You” envisions what a new experiential internet could look and feel like.

First Graph/Description:
In “The Untold Story of Magic Leap,” Kevin Kelly foretells the next evolution of the internet. He describes today’s internet of information, which “contains 60 trillion web pages, remembers 4 zettabytes of data, transmits millions of emails per second, all interconnected by sextillions of transistors,” and envisages the upcoming “internet of experience,” of which today’s artificial, mixed, and virtual realities are the seedlings. The information internet, as Kelly describes it, is the result of historical limitations in bandwidth, graphics processing, and input devices, like webcams and keyboards, which have made the internet a place where the mind can go, but the body cannot follow. Recent advances in motion capture devices, graphics processing, and bandwidth and browser improvements, however, are paving the way for the body to find its place online.

“Facing You” envisions what the experiential internet could look and feel like by bringing the body online in realtime. This interactive installation allows two people in two different places to physically meet and interact in virtual space. Both users are represented with volumetric video of their full body images on a website. They can create different effects in their shared environment by touching hands, touching feet, and sharing the same virtual space.

“Facing You” is built on an experimental open source technology called Kinectron, which allows artists and activists to explore the power of bringing the body online. Kinectron is a desktop application and Javascript library that broadcasts images, volumetric and skeletal data from the Microsoft Kinect, a lightweight and inexpensive motion capture camera, to the web. Kinectron uses the same underlying networking technology as today’s video calling technology, allowing users to broadcast their images from anywhere in the world, and to receive one or more broadcasts in a modern website.