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A Zen garden, also known as Japanese rock garden or Ryoanji garden, creates a peaceful way to visualize space and tranquillity. In this paper, we introduce AtmoSPHERE, a new method for automatically imbuing a Zen garden with properties of its surrounding space and occupants. AtmoSPHERE uses a Microsoft Kinect to monitor and extract movement in a room and then visualizes representations of this movement physically via sand traces on a custom built XY servo sandbox table. We present our prototype system, the design process and interaction modes, feedback from a preliminary deployment, and a discussion of future work.
In September, 2016, Bruce Shapiro has made a follow-up, professonal version of AtmoSPHERE, named Sisyphus (The Kinetic Art Table). and collecting over one million dollars in Kickstarter. What a success! Congratulations Bruce!

Selected Reviews from CHI'15

R1: Nice art work with combination between Japanese traditional culture and technology.
R2: The device is very interesting and I am sure it will spark interesting discussion.
R3: The machine is precisely developed and the process of implementation is also well written.
R4: This new form of computer display will inspire artists and designers to build interesting projects on it

Paper

On CHI'15 Extended Abstracts: 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings. pp. 1627-1632. (6 pages)

Poster

Presented on CHI'15 Extended Abstracts: 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings

Instructables

AtmoSPHERE (XY table from K'nex + human movement visualization)

BibTeX

@inproceedings{
    du2015atmosphere,
    title={AtmoSPHERE: Representing Space and Movement Using Sand Traces in an Interactive Zen Garden},
    author={Du, Ruofei and Wills, Kent R. and Potasznik, Max and Froehlich, Jon E.},
    booktitle={CHI EA '15 Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
    pages={1627-1632},
    year={2015},
    url={http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2702613.2732771},
    doi={10.1145/2702613.2732771},
    publisher={ACM}
}

Citation

Du, R., Wills, K. R., Potasznik, M., & Froehlich, J. E. (2015, April). AtmoSPHERE: Representing Space and Movement Using Sand Traces in an Interactive Zen Garden. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 15), pp. 1627-1632. ACM.