All posts filed under “Virtual Reality

Lupin Steal

Lupin Steal

In a previous post I wrote about Live Drive, a project that had a camera mounted to a scalextric car that you could drive around a model town & see the video stream live, created for a Honda advertising campaign.

This time Tokyo based Semitransparent Design have created another live virtual environment for Lupin the 3rd. Lupin III is a popular character in Japan, having anime tv series and movies, about a gang of thieves who steal treasure and escape from the law (watch video).

For this ad campaign, visitors to the website have to steal a diamond by guessing a random 6 digit number. There are 5 diamonds to be taken, and each winner taking home 1,000,000 yen. Of course each diamond has a different random unlock combination. Instead of just showing a number keypad in Flash, Semitransparent have created a real model of a diamond room with a projection overlayed on top, with real led lights & number display (see image above).

Lupin Steal

This is a multi-user application, so 5 people can enter the diamond room at one time. Once visiting the site, users are shown the lobby screen (shown in this top image), which is a view of a security desk. The monitor on the desk shows 4 live camera views of the space and the current activity within. As a fun bonus, anyone calling the phone number shown on the post-it-note will see the phone on the table light up and will hear Lupins voice.

Getting inside the diamond room is very hard, you have to be lucky. If there are hundreds of people trying to get in, but only 5 are allowed, then your percentage of opportunity goes down. Japanese readers will be able to understand the instructions, but it took me many attempts. Try your luck here

For the rest of us, here is a video.

I really like the approach that Semitransparent take. Creating these semi-real virtual worlds creates a higher sense of immersion and role playing than a standard Flash game could. Below the top photo shows the set-up with the cameras & the model room, as well as their nicely housed custom hardware controllers.

Sanko Partners : agency
777interactive : creative director
Semitransparent Design : design and development

Lupin Steal

Live Drive

Live Drive

Following on from my previous post about the work of Semitransparent Design.

This time, they have created an online driving simulator for Honda called Live Drive. A banner campaign on Yahoo! enticed people to the Honda Live Drive site. Once there, you would wait in a queue if it was busy and could speak to other people whilst you wait your turn. At the right time of day (Japanese working hours), you could enter the driving seat of a real scalextric mini, driving it around a track from within the Flash application. A wireless camera attached to the car gave you a first person perspective.

Unfortunately the obvious lag over the internet detaches you slightly from realtime reactions to corners etc. I tried as hard as I could to make it fly off the track, but it seemed impossible. I love the set design though, as you can see from above. With improvements on the latency and a higher resolution camera, this project would be much more polished. The images here don’t show, but the interface that the advertising agency (who have this set in their offices) use to control the project has a giant emergency shutdown button, just in case the cars get out of control. Nice touch.

Why do I blog this?
What’s interesting is a virtual world perspective, created by a real physical world.

I have seen this a few times. Fur made a first person pinball game, where you head is in the machine with flippers at eye level, called The Furminator. Toke Barter and Anthony Mace from the Royal College of Art created Virtuality, a tiny real landscape with controlled environmental conditions, viewed through a screen to give the virtual perspective. Francobelge Design created RC/Fight, radio controlled cars with mounted cameras. This is the same approach used by artist Sabrina Raaf in searchstoretrash, driving a car around tracks in the gallery from an alternative perspective.

Live Drive

Diogo Terroso

Thanks to Tom, I have recently been checking out the work of Diogo Terroso. Shown below are images from Natural Interfaces; “Real objects such as tree branches, leafs and sand, function as an interface between the visitors and the art piece. By moving and repositioning the physical objects in space, the visitors initiate the real-time transformation of a digital landscape, in which mountains emerge, clouds move in the sky and trees grow. Evolutionary processes are inter-connected with the interaction, making the visitors pro-active in the development of the virtual environment.”

natural interfaces



Virtuality was a project I saw at the Royal College of Art show last year by Anthony Mace and Toke Barter. Essentially it was an installation where you were looking at a virtual landscape through tiny screen on a large kiosk. You could control the position of the sun, cloud movement, fog and wind, then take a picture which would be printed and pop out like an instant photo. In Virtuality you weren’t controlling a computer generated world however, but controlling analogue devices and looking at a minature landscape, as the video and pictures on the website will explain. Good stuff.

Whatever happened to Virtual Reality

Just attended a very good lecture by Bob Stone, organised by The Institution of Electrical Engineers, on virtual reality. As the IEE website puts it:
“the fall and rise of VR over the past decade and will describe some of the recent successful applications that have helped to resurrect such a promising field of endeavour. The lecture will also review the current state of play in VR hardware and software, charting the development of head-mounted displays and associated wearable interaction devices, and highlighting the growing list of alternatives to these immersive technologies. Also addressed will be the evolution of highly usable, low-cost “even free” software tools, available from such sources as the Internet and the developers of “first-person shooter” (FPS) games engines”.

A very fast talking Bob Stone energetically covered a lot of material and I highly recommend this lecture to anyone whose city is on the tour.


Something that I took away from the lecture was how weapons were now beginning to use controllers more like console joypads, as this is what new army recruits were so used to using, after years of Playstation2 / Xbox bashing.