Automatic Decorator

Describe the desired experience?
When first approaching the SAS Radisson hotel I was struck by the playfulness and details in the patterns of the different textiles designed by Arne Jacobsen. This was contrasted with the passing of time, which had left the hotel somewhat stale and museum-like. I wanted to design an experience that would pay homage to the playful creativity I found present in the original design.

I set out to create an automatic decoration machine, as an attempt to bring the fun and playfulness back to the SAS Radisson.

How does it work in the space?
The automatic decorator can be transported easily, and pointed towards any object, wall or surface. Mounted on the machine is a video camera, a computer running custom video-tracking software, and a video projector. Self-contained and interactive, the machine automatically seeks out even surfaces and starts decorating them with patterns inspired by the original textiles.

What did my prototype reveal?
This being a skills upgrade week, I aimed high and set myself an almost impossible task. Doing computer vision in changing surroundings and lighting is normally a clear no-go, unless backed by a full team of computer vision engineers. But I felt drawn by the concept & challenge, and in spite of warnings I was compelled to try it out, and if I had to, fail courageously!

And indeed it was hard – I had problems with the implementation of the BlobDetection library in Processing on a PC, and had to change to the JMyron library. This library is not OpenGL based, and therefore somewhat slower, but after some tweaking i manage to get a fair frame rate out of the application.

Although the precision of the tracking and frame rate could be higher, playing around with the self contained set-up was really fun, and truly interactive. People would pass by and start playing with the prototype, which would in turn, directly start interacting with the people, drawing outlines, making patterns. Although lacking in final polish, and being far from something ready to be installed in the SAS Radisson, I still feel that making this was a good learning experience, and a prototype that could ask some interesting questions as to where the playful spirit of the original design has gone.

If I could do another prototype…
I would play with lasers and refractions in the glass bar in the sky deck restaurant!