Artificial Life Meets Augmented Reality

Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, videogames play growing roles in education, arts, science and health. These talks bring together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.

Join us TUESDAY’S From April 4th until June 6th from 12pm-1pm in the Sapp Center for Science Teaching & Learning RM 114

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Also listed as one-unit course BIOE196. For more information contact

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Jeffrey Ventrella

Jeffrey Ventrella, Artificial Life Meets Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality is nothing new. Technology amnesia makes it seem otherwise. One flavor of VR (virtual worlds) will have a come back - experienced in front of our eyes, through augmented reality glasses. New virtual worlds will emerge in the context of our existing world - along with embodied AI. In this talk, I will describe past artificial life research, and how principles of biological emergence apply to games and virtual worlds. "Self-animated" creatures are being developed at Wiggle Planet for use in AR. These characters are born in software: they do not require animators. Years before Pokemon Go came out, my team and I developed "Wiglet Hatchery" allowing creatures to be bred, released, and captured, using geolocation. The AI will expand, allowing creatures to acquire a kind of embodied intelligence, informed by their owners and real-world surroundings. New game genres will grow in this fertile soil.

Jeffrey Ventrella graduated from the MIT Media Lab in the 90's and has since worked in the San Francisco bay area in game and virtual world companies, including Second Life. Ventrella is a software artist doing innovative work in artificial life and realtime animation. His book "Virtual Body Language" addresses the history and future of avatars as expressive embodiment on the internet. His most recent project, Wiggle Planet, involves breed-able virtual creatures in geolocated augmented reality.