Virtual Holiday Dinner

In this project you were able to have a virtual Christmas dinner with friends and family. By moving your head in Skype you can control the robots at the table. Over three days 156 people from 6 continents gathered to have a holiday dinner together, screen to screen. From families separated to strangers meeting for the first time, we all toasted to this season of togetherness. The virtual dinner is a project for advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

This project we used a combination of Skype and Max to control the robots.

Do you remember the first Max patch you ever made? What was it?

In addition to all kinds of experiments still in Max 3.5 with the iCube and NATO one of the first projects was an installation in a dark space where sounds were triggered by the light from a torch. Different voices were mapped on pictures of people on the wall which you could hear when you shined on them.

How did you come up with this project idea?

We were asked by Wieden+Kennedy to collaborate in their project. They came up with the idea to have a virtual dinner using videoconferencing and we found out we could use face tracking to control the motors of the robots. It was our goal to make the project easy to use and to create a great experience for the users.

What sorts of problems did you have to solve?

Time was the first problem, the project had to be up and running in less than two weeks. Clients and people from all over the world called in and of course the system had to be running without any problems.

Fortunately we were able to extinguish a fire and prevent the whole installation from burning down. A observant visitor saw some of the nice Christmas decorations catching fire by a candle flame and warned us.

If there were one person who you would want to see your project, who would it be?

Not someone in particular, the strength of the project was primarily to bring people together.
Over 150 people from 6 continents gathered to have a holiday dinner together, screen to screen.

At the conclusion of this project were you:
a) exhausted
b) ready to do a new one
c) thinking of ways to expand it
d) [other, please describe]


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