Meld Orbs, 1998

Acrylic Hemispheres, Proximity Sensors, Audio, MIDI, Dual-Channel Video: Variable Dimensions

A futuristic narrative experience where touch and movement cause immediate visual and auditory changes to projected imagery as well as the orbs themselves.


Created for SIGGRAPH's pioneering "Interactive Dance Club", MeldOrbs provides a unique multi-participant experience. Touch and proximity-sensors on the orbs produce visible effects in the projected imagery & audio to advance the narrative. Simultaneous contact from multiple users creates unique effects and branching of the journey; collaboration is rewarded.

In multiparticipant installations, feedback must be immediate and clearly associated with an individual action amongst multiple simultaneous signals.

The Journey of the Orbs

Collaborative participation is rewarded with unique experiences, such as the possibility of controlling multiple iso-surfaces (shapes that fluidly blend together). The visual experience expresses an abstract narrative, with many branching points, leading across varying landscapes; metaphors for states of unity or dissolution.

3D imagery & interactions in real-time

The 3D graphics were created & managed in real-time with procedural-based Houdini software & SGI computers. Use of Houdini's procedural caching system allowed animated 3d data to be rendered at a high level of visual fidelity in real-time, resulting in an engaging experience. 

Proximity sensors triggered state changes fluidly in the software's node-based networks. 3D objects, motion, & audio were painstakingly tuned for real-time interaction & high frame rate output.