Channels: About

Experience the serenity of nature by moving through scenes of glassy water
and early morning mists, as you make your way across a water channel.

WHAT IS IT?

"Channels" is a full-body immersion installation in which you can navigate through a virtual water scene by physically interacting with tanks of water. Sit in a boat and organically control your virtual environment with natural gestures -- paddle, row, and float your way through space and time.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Sit in the boat -- located between two water tanks -- and use your hands to paddle in the water. This controls the projection of the virtual world in front of you. The movement of the water controls your speed and direction. The faster you paddle, the faster you will glide forward through the virtual scene. You can also glide backwards in the scene by paddling in reverse. In addition, the left and right water buckets are programmed to respond to your changes in direction, mimicking the physics of a real boat. So if you paddle more on the left side, your direction will shift right in the virtual scene, and vice-versa. Watch a counter of your speed and distance traveled in the scene in the top right corner of the screen, and row to the horizon -- and back!

WHAT WILL I SEE?

As you navigate through the 3D world, you'll encounter surprising objects and wildlife sounds in the scene. Some objects sit passively in the channel, such as ducks, cattails and lily pads. Other objects will force you to paddle around them, such as bridges, trees, rocks and logs. There are also organic creatures swimming and flying across the scene, such as birds, fireflies and fish. All of these elements make you feel truly immersed in a place that is teeming with life.

WHAT'S NEXT?

We would like to build several different 3D worlds for people to upload and explore. One possible approach is to integrate our piece with a terrain mapping program, making it possible for people to travel to their favorite water channels around the world and relive memories. Why not give people the option to navigate a river in India, or a lake in Virginia, or float in the Dead Sea? We might also build different fantasy water worlds, with unique objects and sounds to match each new environment. We'd love to know what you think about these future ideas!