Interactive sculpture for Google’s annual I/O conference.
In celebration of the global launch of Google’s Nexus Q—a streaming media player and predecessor of the Chromecast—our team designed and built a unique interactive experience, installed at the Moscone Center for the annual Google I/O conference.
Our concept celebrated the Q’s sculptural form by rendering it at a massive scale: eight feet in diameter, mounted on a ten-foot articulating arm. In a nod to the device’s social dimension, conference attendees were invited to play a collaborative multimedia game, similar to Capture the Flag, in which they used real Nexus Q devices to control the position of the Kinetisphere. The Kinetisphere would tilt toward “planets,” suspended in the room, each with its own melodic, digital soundtrack.
In building the Kinetisphere, I focused on motion control, safety, Ableton Live integration, Nexus Q firmware integration, and mobile UI development.
The massive payload of the Kinetisphere, combined with the requirement of live, collaborative control, created a unique motion control problem. I used Kuka’s RSI framework to build and tune controllers that allowed participants to control the sphere’s deviation from a base motion path–designed to simulate a floating effect—in real-time.
I integrated safety subsystems including redundant workspace monitoring and “live man” emergency stops.
I built the game logic, modeling the musical “planets” in our virtual 3D workspace, and used the Open Sound Control protocol to communicate real-time position information to Ableton Live, where it influenced a generative soundtrack.
With a custom firmware build from the Nexus Q team, I wrote software to repurpose the Q’s volume dial as a rotary velocity controller for the Kinetisphere’s position.
I also built a native Android application that acted as the game’s UI—rendering the 3D game environment and displaying live updates from the rest of the system.