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04-28-2011

Clarkson University Professor and Undergrad Show Interactive Video at National Conference

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/bodyofwords.jpg .]

An interactive digital video installation constructed by a Clarkson University professor and undergraduate student was featured at the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication this month in Atlanta.

The interactive digital video installation Bodies of Words, constructed by a team including Clarkson University Professor of Communication and Media Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Clarkson computer science senior Ryan Kornheisl.Bodies of Words was constructed by a team including Clarkson University Professor of Communication and Media Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Clarkson computer science senior Ryan T. Kornheisl of Coxsackie, N.Y., along with University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Associate Professor of English Anne F. Wysocki.

The interactive digital video installation allows users to bridge real and virtual space, tracking users’ bodies in three-dimensions using infrared sensors.

The software controlling Bodies of Words downloads messages previously submitted by conference attendees to Twitter, the popular online message service.

Users reach out their hands and select words from the retrieved messages, reassembling and rearranging the words to form new messages. The messages are then uploaded to Twitter for people to read.

The installation was followed by a panel discussion in which Johnson-Eilola and Wysocki. discussed their development process and implications of the technology.

Although the infrared sensors are marketed to videogame players, Johnson-Eilola and Wysocki suggested they potentially change the ways people interact with media, with each other, and with the world around them. 

Bodies of Words is driven by software designed by Kornheisl, Johnson-Eilola, and Wysocki.

The infrared video for the installation is shot using a Microsoft Kinect, a 3D video camera originally intended for use with an Xbox videogame system, but appropriated by hackers who use the Kinect’s infrared and visible spectrum cameras to work with three-dimensional video.

Johnson-Eilola teaches courses in new media, audio production, typography, and design at Clarkson University. He has authored nearly 50 journal articles and book chapters, and six books.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: The interactive digital video installation Bodies of Words, constructed by a team including Clarkson University Professor of Communication and Media Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Clarkson computer science senior Ryan Kornheisl.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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