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boxedEgo: an experimental stereoscopic & autoscopic display

Summary

BoxedEgo is a double trap for the Self. A peep-show box waiting in a corner of the exhibition space first captures the curiosity of the observer - and then the observer himself. The box appears empty; however, if the observer talks or breathes, the box readily detects this human prey and traps it in its interior, effectively transforming the observer into its own object of observation. Indeed, a dwarfed, truly three-dimensional version of the observer (peering inside an even smaller box!) will slowly materialize inside the box (a short delay is introduced in the otherwise live video stream, so that for a very brief moment the observer may think he/she is seeing someone else). If the observer stays still, the illusion will come to an end and the box will gradually empty itself, expelling its human prey from a suggested infinite nested chain of boxed spaces. BoxedEgo seeks to combine several pre-cinematographic techniques in order to create a magical out-of-body experience (stereoscope, diorama, peep-show box and synthetic pepper ghost effect). From the research perspective, this work can be seen as a preliminary experiment on the cognitive (and possible practical) aspects of time-delayed artificial autoscopy/heautoscopy with micropsia (see [1]).

boxedEgo installation

Two stereo cameras are aimed towards a small platform on a corner of the exhibition space over which sits the cubic peep-show box; the live video from the cameras is fed into two small displays inside the box (the holes of the peep-box are in fact the eyepieces of a live-stereoscope). The separation of the video cameras in real space is set to about ten times the real inter-ocular distance, so the viewer will see a ten times scaled-down version of himself, inside an equally miniaturized exhibition space (hyperstereo effect). False three-dimensional corners (from pre-recorded footage or synthetized by the computer) that exactly match the real corner of the box are generated through an LCD based stereo-pair and a special lens/prism is used to produce the right eye vergence.

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References

  1. Cassinelli, A., and Ishikawa, M., Boxed Ego. Devices that Alter Perception Workshop (DAP 2008) in conjunction with UbiComp 2008, September 21st, 2008, Seoul, South Korea (2008) [PDF-283KB][PPT-7MB].
  2. More detailed page (including exhibition history): http://www.k2.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/members/alvaro/boxedEgo/
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