"This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5)."
In this project the PI will study lightweight embodiment as an input for collaborative creative interaction, specifically applied to the domain of dance. The PI and her team of technologists, choreographers and artists will work together to define an evolving system that assists in the design and production of interactive dance performances with real-time audience interaction. The Dance.Draw system will enable dancers' motions, tracked via small RF transmitters worn in satin cuffs, to act as input streams that can be flexibly applied as control parameters for interactive visualizations. The system will log dancers' motions and will be able to composite video of the dancers with different visualizations, enabling post-hoc analysis of the choreography and exploration of prospective mappings between the motion and the projected media. This will allow choreographers to explore interactive dance without always having a full cast of dancers present. In addition, it will enable other stakeholders, such as artists and musicians, to experiment offline with their media and adjust how these interplay with the choreography. The system will be extended into a Web-based "DanceTube" application that will allow the public to engage in interactive dance choreography. In addition to using the dancers' movements on stage and the motion of their bodies in place, the PI plans to allow the Dance.Draw system to use input from the audience to provide a feedback loop between the audience, dancers and visualizations. To this end her team will build dual-channel, wireless audience response devices; these handheld meters will allow the audience to explicitly indicate levels of engagement using a knob or slider while simultaneously collecting implicit biometric arousal information via galvanic skin response, both to help evaluate audience response to interactive dance performances and potentially to provide input as well. The aggregate audience response or random individual responses can be mapped to specific types of visualizations, which the dancers can react to, making each performance unique and giving the audience an expanded role in the interaction. Finally, the PI will develop a new standardized survey mechanism to help evaluate the Dance.Draw interface as a creativity support tool; this survey will be applied in user studies throughout the project, and thus will itself be thoroughly tested as an evaluation mechanism.
Broader Impacts: This interdisciplinary project will promote mutual understanding among artists, choreographers, dancers and technologists. Project outcomes will include new technologies to support human creativity, as well as increased understanding of creative processes during physical, embodied, collaborative activity. The Web-based "DanceTube" application will allow the public to experience the process of interactive dance design. The PI will further organize dance camps for school-aged children, in which the new technology will be featured. The results of this research will be disseminated broadly through scientific conferences such as CHI, UIST, and CSCW, and also via dance festivals and dance-related conferences and venues. The PI will make the Dance.Draw application and source code available through a public repository such as Sourceforge.