The Physics Playroom is an interactive digital installation developed for the QUT Cube, a central part of QUT's new Science and Technology Precinct.
The physics playroom is designed to provide a fun and interactive experience of some basic general physics concepts - classical mechanics, waves, fluids etc.. The installation is designed to be exploratory and collaborative.
The 12 55-inch LCD panels are touch-sensitive. Each of the touch panels, supplied by Finish company multi-touch, contains 32 little cameras. Touch recognition software analyzes a stream of pictures coming from each camera, looking for hands and fingers touching the screen. The panels search at 100hz.
The physics playroom is designed to handle up to 100 simultaneous users for a combined total of 100000 human interactions per second. Eight networked computers help to share the load. All human interaction, number crunching (particle systems, physics, audio DSP etc.), and rendering, is distributed over the 8 machines.
Each of the computers in the physics playroom is responsible for drawing a small part of the overall scene: 2048x1920 pixels of the scene to be precise. When combined, this adds up to 12288 x 3090 pixels. All of the development was done 'on-the-fly' in Extempore, as a large Cyberphysical programming "test project". The significant compute, high interaction load, and distributed synchronization challenges made this is a good "tester" for Extempore which I'm pleased to say handled everything surprisingly well.
All of the 3D assets where built by my very talented friend Warwick Mellow.
The audio is from an old Impromptu livecoding session.