Submission 1

What is the limit and scope of the human body? How does the raw physicality of the corporeal form inhibit us? Does it? What is the divide between the reality of the body and the imagination of the mind

Within this project we aim to use sound and the projection of moving images to create an engaging and interactive journey through Edinburgh Universities Anatomy Museum. In keeping with the themes of anatomy, we will highlight the various organ systems within the body through interactions and projections that visitors can engage with in the unique environment of the museum.

Our preliminary plan is to house the respiratory, circulatory, musculoskeletal, and nervous system in individual rooms throughout the museum, as follows:

  • the respiratory system – situated in the main hall (interactive moving images of lungs to be displayed either on the walls, doors, or ceiling of the room)
  • the circulatory system – situated on the stairwell (connecting the ground floor to the first floor): blood vessels flowing up and down the stairs with possible generative imagery and interaction invoking changes in colour, sound, or animation


  • the musculoskeletal system – situated in the room housing the elephant skeleton on the first floor (projection mapping of bones, muscles, and sinew on to statues to create a narrative)


  • the nervous system – located in a small white room to the rear of the museum’s ground floor (a room to represent themes of  creativity and imagination of the brain with projected interactions along with the reactionary and physical aspect of the nervous system with tactile light displays. We want to be able to guide an audience through this incredibly historically significant building and provide them with a new modern element of interactivity. Our installation will show the space in a new light and invoke new ideas on top of what is already a fascinating exhibition of ancient curios. As the audience travels through the different parts of the museum we want them to feel intrigued and engaged in a new way by highlighting the contrast of new technology (such as projection mapping and forms of interaction) with the old historical space.



Our concept for this project is to create the overall impression that the building is a living and breathing entity which feeds primarily on alive input. Therefore, the building is alive only when it detects human presence.

By allowing the audience to interact and change the dynamic of the space around them we will be able to further the impression that the building is as alive as a living body, being in constant motion and grows and decays with time. To highlight the fluid nature of our anatomy light and movement will be used in a way that goes beyond the standard static museum exhibition. Also through the use of interactivity the exhibition experience can become unique depending on the viewers actions within the space, creating a personal relationship to the museum within its foreboding, austere atmosphere.

By playing with the scale of something which is tiny and intricate, such as veins or the interior of human lungs, and turning it into a larger than life projection we can let the viewer see this piece of anatomy in an entirely new way. Scaling imagery up in this way will also create the illusion that the viewer may have shrunk and been devoured by the building and immersed in its internal systems. It could give the impression that the people inside the museum are like foreign particles within a body and can influence the body in a positive or negative way depending on the type of interaction they chose by helping it to thrive or by causing damage.


Emotion and the body

Where does true emotion lie? The neurologist Robert Sapolsky found that information moves through the nervous system in a variety of ways, and in shocking instances it can bypass the visual cortex, where conscious decisions are made, going straight to the amygdala.  In other words, the human body can know and react to information before the mind is conscious of that information.

As early as the 1900’s psychologists such as William James proposed the theory that emotion is merely the mind’s perception of the reactions of the body, rather than the commonly cited concept stating the opposite. Several modern studies support this theory, reporting that people who had once been able-bodied and suddenly became disabled felt a smaller emotional scale than before. “Our being is rooted in our body state […] what is in fact the essence of being joyful or sad if you don’t hook those changes onto changes in the body?”.

Through our exploration of the body, we will explore the importance of the physical form beyond its mere functions. To conclude, combining a tactile and whimsical approach towards the inner workings of the body with the traditional and scientific approach of the museum which will create a new and exciting journey-like experience for the viewers.

Damasio, Antonio, 2010. How Our Brains Feel Emotion. Available at: <; [Accessed 14 Feb 2012]

Sapolsky, Robert, 2003. Becoming Human: Brain, Mind and Emergence. Available at: <; [Accessed 15 Feb 2012]

William, James, 1890. Principles of Psychology. Dover Publications.

Set within the historic halls of the University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum we found the atmosphere and architecture to be inspiring and conducive to our project outlines. The Anatomy Museum staff is welcoming to our ideas and have offered support with additional materials and storage space. The Museum itself was founded in the 1860’s and houses a surprisingly wide breadth of curio for its small size from the skeleton of Burke to. The Museum reflects a love and appreciation of the facets of the body through its patchwork collection, one that will be mirrored in the diversity and range of our project.

Several preceding works have influenced and inspired us throughout this project, both concerned with projected media mapping and with interactive pieces. We hope to branch off and delve into the idea of a living house to set apart our project from other projections in public spaces and noted several similar ideas based on more of a outdoors setting. To see our expansive and detailed report on our influences and historical research click on the file below:


The environment around us might have an impact on our brainstorming process and general ability to obtain new ideas. We need objects, animals, people, actions and such to make triggering ideas far more likely to happen. One of the main reason we have chosen this particular venue because it is one of Edinburgh’s most architecturally, culturally and socially significant buildings. The Anatomical Museum, founded and developed by the Monro dynasty, flourished under Sir William Turner, Professor of Anatomy from 1867 to 1903, and Principal of the University from 1903 to 1917. Its inspiring history evokes sense of intimacy and intrigue. The whole museum environment motivates us and give us a lot of inspiration compared to other places.

Our initial plan was to locate an outdoor venue, yet after meticulous research we decided that an indoor venue will provide us with a better option to implement a large-scale interactive installation. There were plenty of indoor venues to choose from (e.g. Talbot Rice), but our final decision was the Anatomical Museum. The museum has a good combination of traditional and modern structures which was yet another reason to chose this place.

There is an odd odour present within the museum similar to the smell of an antiseptic which adds to the whole experience. Not to mention interesting acoustics with plenty of natural reverberation.

Another inspirational aspect was that though parts of this wonderful old building have been used for both television and big screen filming it was never used for an interactive installation. Though rich in history it lacks the proper media attention. Therefore it was agreed upon the success of this installation project that it could possibly be repeated in the near future in order to attract more audiences and media attention.


Plan A


The main hall will be used to represent the respiratory system. It is located on the ground floor of the Medical School, and it is the main entrance of the whole building. There are two symmetrical rooms, the left one is a student common room and the right one is an office. All the characteristics of the main hall: arched ceilings, elegant lanterns, grand pillars, and historical wooden doors, enhance the intensity of the projection. The installation enables the audience to interact with the projected animation and see how lungs work in respiratory system.



2 large projectors / 2 laptop running the programs / 2 speakers / 2 sensors (accelerometers)


Detailed Specs

The animation will first be projected onto the wooden door and the brick arch on the right. The moment a small group of visitors enter the main hall, they will see the door flipping and the wall bricks floating (snoring sound). As they walk by a specific area, the door opens and reveals the respiratory system including the lungs and airways (yarning sound/ motion-tracking sensor). The relatively mild and steady movements of the lungs will be intensified when the door opens.

The animated exchanging of oxygen and carbon dioxide will be visible; when the oxygen arrives to the lungs there will be blossom (an animation with bright light). A textual command: “breathe out” then emerges on the screen. Once the visitors exhale, their “vital breath” will activate the lungs to flap (coughing sound/ motion-tracking sensor). The visitors will hear the sound of cough and see the lungs compressed. Before long, the cough stops; the ribs appear and cover the lungs like a cage. The lungs then turn into a skeleton bird, escape the rib cage, and eventually fly to the other side. In a subtle way, the audience is led to the staircase entering another phase of the journey.


With a premade animation based on the photo of the wooden door and the brick arch, we had our first projection-mapping trial. After our first testing, we came to realise how the projector influences the presentation of the animation and what factors to be considered. To lessen the difficulties of our later projection, we measured the surfaces to project for animation references.

Plan B


The venue and the enabling of interactivity lended itself to interactive visual iterations that would resonate with the viewer. We felt that it was important to take a non literal and viewer/interactive centered approach that would be educational in some way. It was posited that a sensor based movement interaction would be of value.



1 laptop, 1 projector, 1 Kinect sensor device


Detailed Specs

Very simply, using a photoshopped area of the building merely as an example, sound or audio sensors detect when a visitor moves into the room, which prompts the visuals to evolve from a state of unhealthy decay to an image of an untainted and healthy lung. This will cycle through similar types of abstract imagery such as differing types of food, etc.

When the movement subsides, the cycles gradually return back into the unhealthy image. In this way, the projection engages the viewer to activate and encourage healthy behaviors and exercise, enforcing the positive ethos of the museum.


We began to evaluate the possibilities of using Arduinos and Kinect with MaxMSP/Jitter.


The so-called “Elephant Room” will be used to portray the muscular and skeletal system. The room is situated on the 1st floor of the Medical School. Out of the 4 sections, this room is the only one that contains exhibition pieces of the actual anatomical museum. The complete skeletal structures of two elephants guard the way towards the actual Anatomy Museum area, which will be closed at the time of our project. Next to a yaw bone of a whale and various human bones, the room features a collection of bust sculptures and two famous statutes, the Venus of Milo and the Discus Thrower. The Elephant Room’s architectural structure is identical to the structure of the main entrance hall: from the 19th century, two columns, high ceiling and arched top, however due to the museum pieces there is less room overall for visitors to the exhibit.



1 large projector, 1 laptop running the programs, wires, sound detection sensors or microphones, 1 podium for the projector.


Detailed Specs

In theory every exhibition piece, including the elephant skeletons, holds the potential to be projected onto, although some may be more difficult than others. The columns and the arched roof could also be considered for projection and would be far easier to model in 3D compared to the statues. However, due to their engaging forms, the bones or bust sculptures might delight the audience more than simple structures.

The idea is to use one or both of the statues (Venus & Discus Thrower) next to each other and the projector will run an animation that is mimicking a full body scan on the statues. The body scan animation will be triggered by sound effect coming from the audience.
Each time the body will be scanned a different type of animation will be played.

While one scan will reveal the skeletal structure, the next scan might reveal the muscular structure and the following one reveals a pumping abstract heart. The skeletal structure can grow on to the body, whereby the higher someone’s voice is the faster the skeletal structure will spread across the body. An alternative to sound triggering would be pressure sensors.
The sound for the animation would have to be a fixed one, generative sound is an option but it would have to be elaborated on.


A model of the statues has been created in the Blender software which will be used as basis. The skeletal model can be either created or open source models of skeletons can be altered to fit the desired purpose. Once four to five different “scans” have been created with blender and rendered, the actual x-ray effect can be added into the footage through the use of After Effects. Sound recognition and random play of each animation onto the statue can be created with MaxMSP.

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Using the White Room to portray the brain & nervous system; with particular attention being paid to the creative and emotive aspects of the brain. Interaction with the brain will be physical with a shadow-based interactive projection; as a contrast, interaction with the nervous system will be tactile and light/sound based.


1 large projector, 1 laptop running the programs, wires, lights (small, fairy lights), tilt sensors, tubing, brain scan cap, a screen to project on (to also hide the back entrance).


Detailed Specs

When the user first enters the room, there will be many wires interspersed with interactive tubing hanging from the ceiling representing the nervous system. When touched, the tubing will shoot upwards with a stream of light and make electric sound effects and an interesting light display. In the back and center area of the room will be a spot light in the center of which will hang a brain scan cap attached to wires. When the user puts it on, the projections on the wall will begin a visual and aural display flowing forth from the head of the person’s shadow, representing imagination, creativity, and the limits of the human mind. Narration is also possible at this point.

Further interactivity can be achieved by changing the visuals slowly melding into one another when the user stands taller or jumps (visuals get more positive and happy) and when they crouch lower (visuals begin to represent erratic fear and phobias) – representing the emotive aspects of the brain and the raw physicality of emotional states. In this way the brain and the nervous system room will be a balance between interactive conceptual and real/physical themes.



Researching several methods of making things interactive in thins room, we explored the possibilities of a variety of different programs to see which would work best with the combination of the half particle-based generative visuals, half premade cutscene visuals that would work with the brain. Considerable time went into playing with the parameters of Processing and its OpenCV and JMyron visual libraries. Advances in blob detection (for the shadow on the wall projection), facial recognition, and particle generation were made but it is unclear whether or not Processing will be the right medium. Currently, we are also exploring the options Adobe AfterEffects offers, as there is more control with video and particle interaction in this program. More information can be found here:


ideas keep gushing forth – click for inspiration and flash animation


The Staircase connects the main hall and the first floor. It will represent portray the joints of the body or alternatively the circulatory system.

This will be a large-scale interactive installation featuring a light and imagery projection that responds to the movement or sound created by the viewers.

We aim to transform the public space of the staircase with interactive projections. We will project 3D images of blood cells traveling through the veins on to the walls of the stairwell or on to the structure of the stairs. One idea is to have the blood cells only appearing inside the projected shadows of the passers-by, whose silhouettes can measure between two and five meters depending on how close or far away they are from the powerful light sources positioned on the ground. Using Microsoft Kinect we can track people as they climb the stairs and trigger new imagery as they progress from the ground floor to the first floor. Through this project we want to invite the public to occupy new narratives and representations of anatomy.

Alternative idea

Creating a structure, which will be placed in the centre of the stairwell, either hanging from the ceiling or fastened to the floor. This structure will represent the veins and be used as a surface for imagery to be projected on. This imagery will be influenced by the sound of footsteps on the stairs (and/or voices) and the viewer will see the colour (and/or speed) of the blood cells changing to demonstrate oxygen entering and leaving the blood.


Max/Msp/Jitter, Blender
Adobe After Effects animation and image manipulation (Light falloff, 2D and 3D element combination, 3D camera data import)

Technique / Materials

Projectors, sensorsComputerized tracking system, ScreenLights, Plastic tubes


Sound will play an important part for each particular room we described and also will be focused on kinaesthetic relationships with the projected video materials in order to give them sense of life and subjectivity. For example, movement will be translated into video and then into sound to convey a visceral feeling produced by the identification of movement. Alternatively, movement can be translated into sound and then video – or those two processes can be randomised. Thus, sound will play an important role in examining the relationship of the body to space either by being part of the visual object, related with the object, or completely alien to the object.

Overall, sound will help us achieve a more tangible and corporeal experience of space due to its reflective properties. The permanence of the sound element could produce a longer presence and consistency of the audience in site; it will compel the public in attendance to wait, to listen, to reflect and to be aware of the continuous aural changes.

Sound should be simple and effective and will concentrate on the idea of variation while keeping a sense of structure: sound effects will be developed in various versions to emphasize different details of the projected visuals. Moreover, when the audience will enter or leave a room sound cues will be triggered, announcing them how much of the journey was completed. This will add more layers of tension and expectation to the overall experience and will also glue together the different feelings of each room.

We will also try to incorporate rhythmical patterns and musical elements in our installation. Through combining sound and image at a micro–level and using various effects and processes we are aiming to construct a lively, animated, highly aesthetic space and engage the viewer to engage with the scale, of the space through interactive technologies.


Animation & Basic Visualizations

 Animation on walls, ceilings, doors, and other unique surfaces within the museum halls will be the main visual focal point for each system of the body, helping to breathe life into each room. Cut-scene animation is likely to be heavily based in Blender, with digital retouching and particle effects in Adobe AfterEffects. Accurate Blender modelling is being undertaken to ensure that projection-mapping at any angle will be display properly. Blender modelling of room pieces and animation has begun.

We will be using several projectors to display our animations and, as they range in breadth from small to large, we are currently working on securing as many high-quality projectors as we can. In addition to the available projectors from the McGovern Media Center, the Museum of Anatomy staff have a couple of projectors we may be able to use as well.

Visualizations will be aided through use of physical decor. Screens will be added to stabilize certain projection areas as well as keep the flow of the audience from one room to the next. Rooms will be augmented with additional light displays, see Interactive art below.

Sound Design

The motion of the spectators would be tracked by very sensitive ultrasonic sensors (calculating the distance between the objects/walls where we would project and the audience) connected through several Arduinos. The system would be controlled by a sampler/sequencer built in Max/MSP – depending on the distance of the person, different midi commands would be sent to Max and possibly Ableton live, controlling the Arduinos and manipulating the sound and also the projected visuals (the VGA input of the projectors will be hacked and will react on the sound.

Interaction & Generative Art

Visitor interaction with the visualizations and sound in each room will be the most unique and engaging aspects of our project. Similar to the diversity and range of functions within the human body, each room will have different methods of interaction than the last. Some rooms will have more subtle features such as in the staircase changing the visuals and audio several degrees depending on how many people are in the room at one time. Other features will include interactive light displays based on touch or location. For the White Room, the interactivity will bring forth generative particles and uncover degrees of changing visualizations based on the visitor’s interaction with the program.

Several programming languages have been researched to these ends and a variety are being explored. MaxMSP/Jitter seem to rank high for their sound interactions, and for visuals, Adobe AfterEffects and Processing are being delved into. Currently several Processing libraries, such as JMyron and OpenCV, have some of the functions we are seeking, and we are undertaking the learning process. Due to its strong generative art capabilities, Processing seems like a good candidate for the visuals and can be paired with MaxMSP for matching sound functions.

The physical aspects of the interactivity will be heavily Arduino-based and will involve a variety of basic sensors such as light, touch, tilt (accelerometer), and sound. Simpler forms of interaction and switch triggers are also being considered as we aim to have as many possibilities for interaction as possible.

Learning ProcessingAlthough this program appears simple, it is a graphical mask covering a video, which is revealed by the mouse leaving a trail as it moves around the screen. Coupled with the screen capture technology of JMyron library, this should be close to the effects we hope to achieve in some of the rooms. We are still working on honing in the exact mechanics of the program and incorporating it with a particle world, but are constantly making improvements to this and other programs we intend to use.



Atika Bennamane
MSc in Design and Digital Media
BA in Illustration from Edinburgh College of art and MA in Illustration from the University of the Arts London. Love to experiment with all things visual from printmaking to 3D modelling, also possesses a penchant for anything spooky.

the sound labs are my new comfy prison du jour

Ami Bogin

MSc in Design and Digital Media
I do design, animation, sequential art, narration, web design, and recently I’ve delved into sound design as well. I want to push myself to the limits on this project and make it a really amazing experience. I breathe better doing something I don’t know how to do. I make art.
On this project I want to focus on really ironing out my weak points, like programming and sound design. In addition I enjoy narration and creative exploration, and I love to do animated pieces. I have a keen interest in generative art, and if I can pull off learning advanced enough programming, I would love to make a truly engaging experience.

Lucille Yaju Hsieh
Studying MSc Design & Digital Media, University of Edinburgh; Having undergone three years working experiences of publication and administration in a university English gazette in Taiwan; BA in Applied English, National Taipei University of Technology; Having been learning 3D animation, Web design…, will continue learning until the end of my life span.



Szu-Hsuan Lee

MSc in Design and Digital Media

BA in Japanese Language and Literature from National Taiwan University. I don’t have really relevant background before I entered DDM, but I love design and digital media and enjoy creating something interesting. I have some experience in editing video, and have been learning 3D modeling and animation, web design, FLASH…etc. Although I am almost beginner, but I will do my best definitely. I am sure I will learn pretty much from this project.


Olivia Phyte

MSc in Design and Digital Media

As a graphic designer I am passionate about images & graphics.
I like to design and make things visually attractive, whilst always endeavoring to make them usable and accessible.



Steven Reynolds,

MSc in Design and Digital Media

Hi, i’m part of the team here and enjoying the process of learning more about situated media.

Ana Roman

MSc in Digital Composition and Performance

BA in Media Studies. Currently working in the field of electronic independent music and music for fixed media. Interested in composition, sound design, improvisation, moody atmospheres, big cinematic soundscapes and suspenseful electronic compositions.

I’m seeing this projected as a huge opportunity to present my work in a different context than studio recordings or live performance (which are my primary means of expression) and also to get into the realm of the interaction between sound and the visual arts. As I’m very fond of exploring human relationships to image, evolution and genetic research, I am very excited to work with a great team of very inspiring visual artists.


Greg Telakis
MSc in Design and Digital Media


Combined BA degree in Communication & Advertising from the Hanze University in the Netherlands and Edinburgh Napier University. I have experience in print design as well as web design. Minor experience in video editing and very keen on 3D animation and game design. This project has the potential to create fascinating visuals. We have team members from all over the world and my goal is to blend their creativity.

Collaboration is the key to joy, especially in the world of media.

For this project I aspire to learn more about interactivity in media and generative art. I look forward to work in such an inspiring venue such as the Anatomical Museum.

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