Main >> Technology and Learning >> Digital Puppetry

Digital Puppetry

We adapted commercially available music technology to empower urban youth living in under-served communities. Our commitment is for them to:
• find personal self-expression
• learn in a playful, creative and free environment
• have their voice heard and recognized

Our first exploration in this regard is through digital puppetry. Working with members of the Computer Clubhouse, we adapted P5 gloves to send MIDI signals. These signals trigger flash animations drawn by the students through Arkaos VJ. We interface the glove to send MIDI signals using Microchip's PIC 18F252 Microcontroller running a Logo virtual machine aka the logochip. We also developed foot controllers based on the logochip which interface with the gloves to remap the glove's controls on the fly.

The students have already given three performances as digital puppeteers. With our guidance, the students:
• write the story
• draw all pictures and animations using Macromedia Flash
• help design the gloves
• handle all publicity

Our last performance was May 8, 2004 at the Puppet Showplace Theatre in a digital puppet slam.

puppet gloves and puppeteers
Meet the Puppeteers!

            foor pedals - close up.jpg
            Foot Controllers could remap glove motions on the fly

            puppet gloves
            Two gloves in all their glory

                   puppet glove on Otis hand
                 Otis, a puppeteer, shows the glove off

Short excerpt of a digital puppet performance.
When the camera pans left, the blinking green lights are the gloves’ LEDs.