T. rex Alive!

 

This interactive projection was a piece that I worked on for the American Museum of Natural History’s special exhibit, “T. rex: The Ultimate Predator”, which just opened in March 2019.

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This piece is a large projection spanning the back wall of the exhibit. Two xBox Kinects hang from the ceiling in front of the wall, tracking the movements and appearances of museum-goers. The T. rex, situated in a realistic environment, walks around the scene, and at the appearance of a new visitor, will make its way to the front and begin interacting with the guests. His head will lock on to a target (someone in the gallery) and follow them if they move. Sometimes, he will even bite at the visitors! If no one is present, the T. rex will pace around the scene, sometimes even laying down for a nap.

I worked mostly in Unity, using C#, on this piece. I programmed the T.rex’s behavior, including the locations he walks to (NavMesh system in Unity), and managed the animations and animation transitions (Animation controllers and Timelines). In addition, I programmed his behavior in regards to how he interacted with people. For example, when a new visitor came to the screen, the T. rex would walk to the front of the screen, and then perform and animation (sometimes a bite!) if there were people present.

(higher quality video coming shortly!)

Both “T. rex Alive” and T. rex: The Ultimate Predator are critically acclaimed, with articles and reviews from The New York Times, Science News, Newsweek, and more.