Interactive Dangerous Australians

Dangerous Australians from Lightwell on Vimeo.

Let’s face it, all Australians are dangerous on the sports field, but the the Australian Museum has a new interactive installation called Dangerous Australians that allows you to interact (safely) with Australia’s deadliest top ten creatures. The saltwater crocodile, funnel web spider, box jelly fish, brown snake are among them. Via the six-metre long interactive table you can explore what happens if you encounter them and what should you do to survive.

The installation was created by Lightwell under the technical direction of ex-COFA and ex-Fabrican Dave Towey. The whole thing is running under OS X and coded in Cocoa/Objective-C++ with a bunch of open source libraries including Ogre3D, OpenFrameworks and OpenCV (computer vision for the tracking).

Thanks to the Objective C++ it looks like it runs extremely fluidly and fast. For me, it’s interesting to see how the interactors act and react. The children use really quick jabs at the ‘buttons’, as if they’re trying to test the interface and its affordances. But the bit I love most of all is how the person with their hand in the ‘water’ snaps it away in reflex to the Great White Shark that suddenly appears (around 0:50 in the video).

More images and details on Lightwell’s page – and take a look at their other work whilst your at it.