Andy Wilson

Sympathetic Interfaces: Using a Plush Toy to Direct Synthetic Characters

Michael Patrick Johnson, Andrew Wilson, Bruce Blumberg, Christopher Kline and Aaron Bobick
MIT Media Laboratory

We introduce the concept of a sympathetic interface for controlling an animated synthetic character in a 3D virtual environment. A plush doll embedded with wireless sensors is used to manipulate the virtual character in an iconic and intentional manner. The interface extends from the novel physical input device through interpretation of sensor data to the behavioral brain of the virtual character. We discuss the design of the interface and focus on its latest instantiation in the Swamped! exhibit at SIGGRAPH 98. We also present what we learned from hundreds of casual users, who ranged from young children to adults.

Johnson, M. P., Wilson, A., Blumberg, B., Kline, C., and Bobick, A. 1999. Sympathetic interfaces: using a plush toy to direct synthetic characters. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: the CHI Is the Limit (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, May 15 - 20, 1999). CHI '99. ACM, New York, NY, 152-158.

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