Over the last 18 months there has been an explosion of projection mapping events for the launch of new products, service announcements, pure advertising, and integrated marketing campaigns. There have been so many, that they almost feel as though they have lost their excitement factor, and innovation. I think that is why I really like the “Snake The Planet” project from MPU.
MPU (Mobile Projection Unit) is a collective working on taking mobile interactive projections out into the urban landscape. The foundation of their work is to use urban architecture to generate and drive the interactive experience.
Working with C++ and Objective-C using OpenFrameworks MPU developed software that uses a live camera feed built on the OpenCV (computer vision) library. This was used to analyze building surfaces and surface distortions which were converted into 2D interpretations of architectural elements. These elements were then converted into game levels which could be played with a standard game controller. By scanning building facades and determining features such as windows, doors, pipes and signs the MPU system is able to feed these into projected imagery as interactive elements in the form of geometry, boundaries or obstacles.
The entire system currently runs on a laptop, with a camera and projector connected to it. All of the gear is being driven from a battery and inverter housed entirely within van they are using to drive around.