Keyfleas – Interactive augmented projection by Miles Peyton

Created by Miles Peyton, first year student at the Carnegie Mellon University, Keyfleas is an experiment in interactive augmented projection. Inspired by the work of Chris Sugrue where light bugs crawl out of the screen and onto the viewer’s hand, Miles has used Processing and Box2D to create an augmented projection on the keyboard. As the user types, the "fleas" swarm around the pressed key, avoiding the letters. Miles describes the experience as "It's okay if you feel something nibbling at your fingers."

img003-332x480Although I had several ideas for contexts in which an augmented projection could exist, most of them amounted to arbitrary particles careening across a surface. No poetry, no narrative. So instead of an architectural surface as originally planned, I project on an Apple Keyboard. My reasons for this are both practical and conceptual. The keys are clean and white, and the Pico projector can attach via Manfotto Magic Arm to a nearby table. This addresses the constraints of a low powered projector, as well as issues relating to variable lighting and surface conditions. My solution for key calibration was as follows: key-shaped boundaries are placed in the Box2D world using the mouse, and then the key is pressed in order to map that body to its corresponding key. This calibration process can be seen at the end of the video.

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