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dance machine
Artistic exploration of human-machine interaction to alleviate the psychological impact of social isolation

Dance Machine  - 2020


Artistic exploration of human-machine interaction
to alleviate the psychological impact of social isolation

Anastasia Almosova, Thuy Hong Anh Pham, Berkay Soykan

Design & Computation Department
Technical University Berlin & University of the Arts Berlin
Scientific Work in Computational Design
Prof. Dr. Stefan Weinzierl

1 April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on mental health worldwide. In order to counter the negative psychological effects of the pandemic, we propose a novel artistic installation which aims to apply the psycho-social benefits of dance within a context of human-machine interaction. To this end, we created a prototype which comprises a kinetic sculpture which responds to human subjects by detecting and mimicking their body movements. The sculpture consists of polystyrene foam elements draped in fabric to resemble a human silhouette and attached to stepper motors above. The human subject’s movements are tracked by a Kinect sensor which transmits the movements to a Rhino/Grasshopper interface where they are further processed to be executed by the stepper motors through a hardware setup. Kinetic ability is endowed to the structure by triangulating the placement of three motors for each foam component, where the motors collectively move the elements in space. Though the social, sensory, emotional and cognitive aspects of an interaction with the installation could not be investigated due to pandemic-related social restrictions, our project demonstrates a novel endeavor which combines art, technology and insights from research in an explorative manner. Further potential avenues of development involve machine learning features and new kinetic applications.