Portals: A Networked Mixed-Reality Playground

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Screen shot 2012-05-21 at 6.49.57 PM.png
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Portals is a prototype of a tangible and networked system/interface for interacting with a virtual world.

A portal, according to Wikipedia, is a magical or technological doorway that connects two distant locations separated by spacetime. Places that a portal will link to include a different spot in the same universe, a parallel world, the past or the future, and other planes of existence.

There are basically 3 main features of these specific portals:

1. To interact with the portal, you reach inside the box, going behind the screen instead of gesturing in front of it or touching it.

2. The two portals are networked so you can collaboratively play with someone in a shared space, even if they're physically far away.

3. The system recognizes and responds when special objects are inside, tracking the id, position, and rotation. 

It makes more sense when you see it in action, so here's an edited version of a longer scenario video I made for the project which just highlights the main features.

Also, a short video of the Portals in action at 4 Hours Solid, my grad show:

The project was created in 2011-12 as part of an MFA Thesis in Graduate Media Design, at Art Center College of Design. If you want more details about the project visit Portals (and friends). One of my main goals of the project was to create something that other people could build upon and expand. So.... without further ado, let's get on to the How To part of things!

Note: my process of building these boxes wasn’t this straight forward. It was a super iterative process that involved lots of small tests. Even though I’m going to try to explain it in a more logical step based way, I would still recommend testing out parts of the hardware + software before diving in and building the entire thing for real.

“The visible world is no longer a reality and the unseen world is no longer a dream.”-Arthur Symons

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rvanderwel5 months ago
Whaaaaaaat. That's cool.
thealeks1 year ago
What about skype instead of the camtwist program? Its available on most platforms and allows for plugins to enhance tue whole deal. Just a thought.

Awesome work though, instructables like this are what makes me love this site so much. So much ingenuity and creativity. Keep up the awesome work!
Sorry actually skype would replace ichat. But maybe a plugin could be written to replace camtwist as well.
Is it necessary to use an iMac, is the software or something similar available for windows and/or linux?
zephyrbunny (author)  videogame571 year ago
I suppose you could use something other than a Mac, most of the software works on Mac or Windows.

CamTwist, which is what sort of makes the magic happen is for Mac only. There are other similar programs out there for Windows but I don't know which ones would work best since I haven't tested for it. But let me know if you find a good one!
I like to make this project for my own. but the software's is the problem, all of it need to use mac operation.. is there any software's that can be use for window or Linux.... please help me please. i already buy the components.
I found this, didn't know if it will help or not.
alinke1 year ago
wow! absolutely amazing, wonderful idea and execution!
synthdust1 year ago
This is beautiful!!! It would be awesome if you had several locations linked up, throughout a city, or in several cities. Very very cool. So many possibilities.
Very cool idea, and an excellent implementation. I love watching "adults" play without realizing they're doing it. :-)
zephyrbunny (author)  Culturedropout1 year ago
Thanks! Yeah the best part of the project is seeing how people of all ages play with it.
redsunmtm1 year ago
super cool idea, you should test with kinect, really amazing capturing device, available for PC and mac with the SDK (drivers included) or also EyeToy, same way ! and all that for free....
zephyrbunny (author)  redsunmtm1 year ago
I thought about the Kinect for this but unfortunately it doesn't work very well for close up tracking, which I needed for this scale. But I'd love to play with it more for other projects.
Treknology1 year ago
I would like to see two hands in different 'portals' interact with each other... that would be freaky!
zephyrbunny (author)  Treknology1 year ago
When playing with it, people do often interact with each other and play as if they're in the same space.
this is the only reason i am taking any electronics classes in high school.
zephyrbunny (author)  the poodleo1 year ago
: ) Awesome you get to take electronics classes in high school. I wish I had that opportunity!
W-O-W... Wow....
indeed " WOW " that so sic yo i want 1 now >.<
ynze1 year ago
Smart and clever and fun!
Eldjotnar1 year ago
This is so awesome. Nicely done!
fozzy131 year ago
This is so freakin' awesome!! : )
tinker2341 year ago
i read about virtual texturtes this seems to have a lot of potianel i wonder if that could be added lallter in the futre great job love the portal
Xthinker1 year ago
OH MY GOD! That's freaking amazing.

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