Anthros is a responsive environment in which a number of 'tentacles' react to human stimuli. By leveraging the properties of emergence, a number of individually responsive agents simulate what appears to be sentience. This frequently causes users to anthropomorphize their surroundings.
In making Anthros, I wanted to focus on an intrinsically human characteristic – the tendency to seek out other people, even in the most abstract of circumstances. When we look up at the clouds or down into a bowl of soup, our minds naturally try to match patterns to human faces and behaviour. Even at the most primitive level, it seems we desire to seek out others and finding them provides a comforting feeling that we aren't alone.
Human-made structures are still in their infancy. For ages we've adapted ourselves to our surroundings, but we are now becoming aware that we can in fact design our surroundings to conform to our wants and needs. By providing visible agency to an environment, I'm attempting to abandon traditional paradigms of architectonic design and thought processes in order to make a more human-centric environment.
The system is run off of a computer tucked away behind a wall. A webcam mounted on the ceiling above the piece is aimed down to see the field of people and tentacles. The computer processes this video stream using OpenFrameworks, ofxOpenCv, and the software written on top of these for managing tentacle positions and calculations. The computer then outputs the data via USB to an Arduino, which controls and updates a servo controller.
Wires run from the servo controller to each node, which includes two high-torque servo motors (x, y axes), which cause the node's spine to bend in a particular direction, giving it movement. The skin is composed of a lightweight vinyl which has a skin-like texture to help keep the balance between the synthetic and the organic.