Peanut Gallery

Peanut Gallery was my Live Image Processing and Performance project that also unintentionally became my Digital Fabrication final.

I knew that, for this final, I wanted to do something physical with video; I didn’t want to make a project that you simply observe and don’t actively participate in. At the time, I also was interested in trying to create my own inflatable figures, and figured that would serve well as an interesting video interface.

From these ideas, I came up with the concept for Peanut Gallery, which is an interactive TV movie watching experience in which the occasional obnoxious person pops up next to you on an inflatable tube to disrupt your concentration.  The different people that pop up can adjust your TV’s signal in different ways according to their own preferences. Some of these disruptions include adjusting the colors or the contrast, rewinding the movie, muting the movie, changing the channel, turning off the TV, or turning down the volume. To restore peace and order to your TV time, you must strike the inflatable with the interloper on it until it deflates.

An example of one of the disruptors – he turns off the television completely.

I started by fabricating the enclosure out of plywood on the CNC and sewing cylindrical shapes out of ripstop nylon. I hooked up IR rangefinder sensors inside each inflatable near the base so that I could sense when a figure was hit by a user, and I inflated each of the 2 cylinders with a reasonably powerful 12V boat fan. These were hooked up to an Arduino that interfaced with a Max/MSP patch that controlled both the projections mapped on the inflatable tubes and the video effects applied to the movie on a nearby television. I used a dual head video splitter to route video to both the television and the projector.

Unfortunately, not much media remains of this project because the computer I was storing it on was stolen (a painful lesson in backing up my content more frequently!), but some pictures and video remain. Here are two photos from the ITP spring show:

And here are some (very short) videos of people interacting with it:

My friend Alex really going at it.


These kids stayed to play for about 5 minutes – probably my favorite moment over the project’s lifespan.

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