29 Jan 2015

The House of Walker

The House of Walker is an interactive Johnny Walker whiskey tasting experience created by Nelson Ramon. This interactive exhibit took place in my hometown of Austin, TX; guests to this event were given RFID cards that they placed in a slot at their tasting mats. Two 25-foot tables  embedded with 6 glass panels each were illuminated with visualizations and information that corresponded to each type of whiskey that they sampled, and guests were able to share their experiences on social networks directly through a button on the table. The video shows testing and only images are included for the actual event, so it’s difficult to see what other information was displayed. This exhibit is an interesting application to visually enhance and personalize alcohol sampling experiences, and can be applied to other types of events in the service industry to add an educational element to the consumption experience.

Curio Cabinet

The Curio Aquarium is an interactive exhibit created for the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference developed by Specular with support from Microsoft. In this installation, users can create bug-like creatures from tangible wooden pieces, place them inside a cabinet, and then see a digital version become born inside the virtual aquarium, often interacting with other digital creatures created by others. I like how the users can participate in the creation with their own hands-on physical creations and then observe their digital counterparts interacting with other creatures. The exhibit uses several Kinects to scan the shapes of the physical creation and translates it to a virtual creature. The cabinet also listens so that when the viewer speaks the creature’s name, it comes to life with its own personality and interacts with the other creatures. Perhaps the Kinects can also detect movement outside the aquarium so that the digital creatures can react not only to each other but to the viewers outside? I would imagine that this can also have educational applications for young students.