Advertisement

I wore a flamingo head while smelling of the wetlands

I wore a flamingo head while smelling of the wetlands
From Engadget - November 14, 2017

The birds' habitats have struggled to survive against ecotourism, overpopulation and climate change, affecting the numbers of birds in the wild even further. Dance with flARmingos uses a barrage of techniques beyond olfactory assault to both endear you to these birds and make you think about the threats to their home.

Once the wetlands cologne had faded a little, I was guided to an iPad running an augmented reality interface. Positioned on a window sill, I aimed the iPad through the window to reveal not only a handful of human-sized CGI flamingoes, but also two human participants, strapped into a Hololens headset, and transformed into an oversized flamingo head. The effect is like peering into a zoo, with two fake "flamingoes" getting in the way. The invisible zoo gets a little busier when more birds, with a tagged leg, join the fray.

Each of these tagged birds represents one of over 20 flamingoes that Lucas has actually adopted in the wild, and tapping on them throws up a mini-map on the iPad, showing its migration patterns across different parts of the world. It's a smart way of grounding these, c amon, silly-looking birds back to the real world.

The birds are intentionally simplified and boxy: The animation is a little bit scrappy, making the rendered creatures look a lot like puppets. Occasionally, they interact as a flock. They walk around each other in similar patterns, and once the mating rituals begin, the excessive dance moves are almost in sync -- we have all seen wildlife documentaries where crowds of animals are doing pretty much the same thing, at the same time.

Advertisement

Continue reading at Engadget »