Today is national dance day, and this week, in celebration of dance and technology, I attended one of the coolest VR/dance combinations to date.
Kinetech Arts, visiting from the one and only Silicon Valley, skipped down to UPLOAD, LA on Thursday to demonstrate their Open Perform program that enables the direct expression of movement in a fully realized 3d universe.
During the performance, the dancer wears a motion tracking suit that, in conjunction with this interactive technology, captures their movement in real time. As a part of the audience I was able to view this digital translation as a mimicking digital figurine danced in sync on a screen behind the performer. See video above!
After the demonstration, I was lucky enough to catch up with the KinetechArts team. Key to the software they use is that it can run on a Windows window- so family, friends and other folks can have access to the VR/ 360 recording on a regular screen just by clicking the link.
After the basics, our conversation turned to applications of VR motion tracking in dance. As I watch two figurines move in elegant patterns on a screen from a pre-recorded session, we began to talk about its potential as a tool for coaching. Using photogrammetry,* this method of recording a choreographed set can create a 360 degree VR experience where a coach, or judges, can view the performance from every angle. While pushing for even greater perfection, this method provides coaches with new perspectives to assist their students like never before.
From here talk turned to my favorite aspect of any tech- its future applications; such as combining this platform with artificial intelligence. As numerous dance routines are recorded using this interactive tech, huge amounts of data will be collected on human movement, rhythm, and choreography- for starters.
What if one day choreography is directed by choreographers, but created by AI? For example, the AI, having knowledge of human movement and capabilities, could create a routine based on certain guidelines. These would be the degree of difficulty of a move on a scale of one to ten, how often movements should appear, in a set amount of time and space and so on. With access to a number of themes, I can only imagine that these future AI choreographers may create some very interesting routines.
Just as Miro Shot has mixed music with VAR,* KinetechArts has mixed dance with VR on a (soon to be) open sourced platform. Difficulty thinking outside the box on this one? Check out my short story on VR and synchro swimming. The way VAR becomes integrated in many aspects of our lives opens up a new world of possibilities.
by @scifi.anne.marie/ @am.infinite
*Photogrammetry (in VR)- full body ‘photo’ scan that can create an exact avatar of user for VR
*VAR- virtual and augmented reality