Imagine being able to digitally project the world’s greatest dancers into your home, and observe them performing virtually, in three dimensions, atop a living room table. Such is the potential of a new class of augmented reality (AR) technologies like the “Magic Leap,” a headset that allows users to superimpose digital media atop their seen reality, innovatively combining recorded dance with real space. Director and founder of the MAP Design Lab Melissa Painter recently collaborated with Pilobolus to produce a bonkers AR choreography called “YouDanceWeDance.” This project, which began its life on the Magic Leap, allows viewers to use their smartphones to observe (from any angle, and anywhere) Pilobolus dancers moving according to selectable emotional themes.

Dance Reality uses your smartphone or tablet’s latest augmented reality technology to place footprints onto the floor in front of you. You look through your phone to step on the footprints, then you follow the animation to practice common dance patterns. The app is not intended to be a substitute for in-person dance instruction, but it will get you started, and help you practice steps and rhythm anywhere, anytime. Practice makes perfect!

Dance expresses and translates human experience into meaningful body forms, transcending cultural barriers and language. Ideas and concepts can be portrayed through each dancer’s movement on the stage. Mixing cutting edge technologies into contemporary fine arts creates opportunities for human imagination and advances development of futuristic technologies. Augmented Reality (AR) is this technology, and we envision the use of AR in avantgarde dance, interactive media, and story telling. Dance and Engineering in Augmented Reality (DEAR) is a collaborative effort between artists and engineers. Through this project, we will realize multiple creative works that take advantage of AR in an integral and non trivial manner. As part of this paper, we describe our application of the technology in dance and propose a simple projector camera calibration method for projection mapping installations. With an easier setup, we hope enable and inspire future AR pieces from talented artists, computer engineers and computer scientists.

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