“Swamped! Using Plush Toys to Direct Autonomous Animated Characters” by Blumberg

  • ©Bruce Blumberg

  • ©Bruce Blumberg


Entry Number: 11


    Swamped! Using Plush Toys to Direct Autonomous Animated Characters

Program Title:

    Enhanced Realities



Project Affiliation:

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    Swamped! is a multi-user interactive environment in which instrumented plush toys are used as an iconic and tangible interface to influence autonomous animated characters. Each character has a distinct personality and decides in real time what it should do based on its perception of its environment, its motivational and emotional state, and input from its “conscience,” the guest. A guest can influence how a given character acts and feels by manipulating a stuffed animal corresponding to the character. For example, the guest could direct her character’s attention by moving the stuffed animal’s head, comfort it by stroking its belly, or have it wave at another character by waving its arm. Automatic camera control is used to help reveal the emotional content of each scene. By combining research in autonomous character design, automatic camera control, tangible interfaces and action interpretation, Swamped! seeks to create a rich, evocative and novel experience.


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