LEVIATHAN was originally inspired by the steampunk universe of the Scott Westerfeld novel of the same name- an alternate universe where the British empire genetically engineers wondrous whale-like beasts that soar amid hot-air-balloon jellyfish. Though fantastical and as far as one can get from consumer electronics, this was the back drop for what transpired at the 2014 CES Intel booth.
The Cinematic Art World Building Media Lab of the University of Southern California (USC) worked closely with Intel Labs, the innovation arm of the giant chipset company, to bring the world of Leviathan to Las Vegas in a narrative-driven experience that no visitor would forget.
CES attendees and visitors to the Intel Booth were treated to daily shows were they could watch a digital story unfold before them. Starting on the main screen, the giant Leviathan “whale” would swim through the sky, only to turn and head directly for the foreground of the video screen. Visitors were instructed to hold up the Intel Ultrabooks that had been passed out to them and watch as the creature emerged from the video screen and proceeded to drift slowly over the entire audience.
Unlike any other augmented reality experience, every single visitor with an Ultrabook was viewing the same exact content but from their own relative position. It was as if a portal had opened into a different universe, accessible only through the wonder of the participants and the mysterious magic of emerging technology.
It’s clear from Intel’s press release that this is exactly the kind of effect they want to bring consumers in the near future: LEVIATHAN is a new storyworld, powered by Intel technology and USC imagination. We, along with other explorers in the entertainment industry, are building these world and beginning to deliver them to audiences. In five years, will your living room become a portal to these new storyworlds? Will you be able to step inside these worlds like Alice stepping through the looking glass, and explore new kinds of stories. We think so.
Tawny Schlieski of Intel Labs, one of the researchers responsible for launching the experience, said “Intel is exploring this new narrative platform with tools that enable artists and technologists to collaborate, integrate, and create immersively from the earliest inception of story, while giving fans the ability to move and play naturally built virtual worlds.”
Metaio utilized cutting-edge sensor fusion and the latest tracking technology in order to bring this world to reality. In order for each Ultrabook to sync with the augmented content, Metaio developed indoor-position protocols that would enable a virtually seamless user experience.
According to Intel and USC, this is the first of “many storyworlds” the two organizations plan to build and install. Metaio looks forward to working with them again, and hopes to be part of something as unique and immersive as the LEVIATHAN experience in the near future.
For more information on upcoming projects, check out http://digitalrim.org.