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Body Electric

Body Electric

Simon Penny, Malcolm McIver

immersive interactive environment

Body Electric is a colaboration with Neuro-ethologist Malcolm McIver of the Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering, CalTech, and due for presentation at gallery of the Art Center College of Design Pasadena in April 2003.

ElectrosensterII is an immersive interactive environment in which a user experiences a simulation of the sensory modality of a weakly electric fish of the amazon basin, in a non-didactic and engaging way.

A user in dark room. Two walls of the space are live rear projection surfaces. A virtual volume identical to the real room is dimly depicted in screenal space. Dimly, a body model is perceived, which is confirmed to be a real time 3D mirror image representation of the user.

There are (8 channel spatialised ) sounds in the room. The sounds are moving. As they get ‘closer’ to the user, the body model is illuminated in a way which is consistent with the fishes electrosensory perception. The sounds are emitted by autonomous agents which are analogous to the fishes ‘prey’. They exist acoustically for the user, and their existence is implied by the illumination on the body model.

The user will engage in a corellation of sounds with illumination on body model. By moving about, they can change the amplitude of the sounds and could play the environment as an instrument.

Technical Components


  • Multi-camera infra-red vision system.

  • Custom body model skinning, agent behavior and rendering.

Simon Penny

Simon Penny

Simon Penny is Professor of Arts and Engineering, a joint appointment of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and… more...