Fugitive Moments

This work took place in the context of the project EvoProject at UCL involving a collaboration with artist Sarah Rubidge and visual scientist Beau Lotto. The project's aim was to help understanding some human perceptions and mind-body relationships. The experimental setup consisted of a visual display in front of which a human subject is placed and a sensor that can measure the physiological response of the subject.

For this project I designed and developed an intelligent computational system that seeks correlations between the visual output and the sensor input (i.e. the physiological response). By trying to figure out what visual output leads to what response (e.g. arousal, nothing) the system learns and adapts to the physiological response in order to provide the subject with a specific experience. Mainly, the experiments conducted aimed at getting and maintaining a perceptible physiological response as much as possible. The response to a particular stimulus will tend to decrease over time as this very stimulus is presented again and again. Therefore there was a need for an adaptive system able to inform dynamically a client application of the type of response provided by a type of stimuli. Different stimuli had to be found and used sequentially.

In our experiments the setup used a heart rate monitor in input but any kind of input could be plugged in. As part of this project, two main applications were defined: EvoIm and EvoCrittters.

The aim of EvoIm was to study the effect of images and colours on human perception. I developed an application that display random pictures from selected sets to a user, records their physiological response and adapts to the response in order to show them the pictures they react the most to.

The aim of EvoCritters was to perform a similar task with abstract random and dynamically generated computer graphics. The stimulus would therefore be based purely on colours and motion. EvoCritters was designed and developed for the purpose of merging interests in art, neuroscience and computer science. It was based on a prototype developed by Richard Clarke, Daniel Hulme and David Malkin from UCL. The project resulted in the sci-art exhibition Fugitive Moments that was held in november/december 2006 in the Otter Gallery of the University of Chichester, U.K. .

Links on the Fugitive Moments exhibition: [1] [2].

I also took part in 2006 in the UCL annual Image Competition. Here are the links to three images, created with the Fugitive Moments software application, I submitted: EvoCrittersSkully crittersCritters at night.

More pictures can be seen on my Fugitive Moments gallery.

A summary of the work that was achieved on these two sub-projects can be downloaded here (Report I submitted at the end of my Master of research's placement).

For the purpose of public events, involving people interaction, I developped a simplified user-friendly version of the original program I initially wrote for lab-experiments. The simplified version has been used together with the original one for the exhibition in Chichester. With the simpler version, people could easily draw their "critters", interconnected spring-like systems, that evolve in a world. The critters and the world rules are setup by the users who can then observe their creations behaving in their world. This behaviour varies according to the shape and the setup of the critters as well as the setup of the world. The user-friendly version is available for download at the bottom of this page. The application is built with an embedded documentation to help the user going through the program sections.

 


Downloads

Public installation version (v1.11) of the program available for:

A report on this project is available here. It contains a detailed description of the system as well as some early experimental results.