Hellicar & Lewis Intel Triptych digital art installation visualises abstract computing concepts, will help those with autism

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Ever wanted to dive into a scene from Tron, seeing a world of computer code come to life around you? The Intel Triptych digital art installation, designed in partnership with tech-inspired visual artists Hellicar & Lewis, gave a glimpse as to how that may feel.

Using Intel’s 3rd generation processors, designers Pete Hellicar and Joel Lewis focussed on bringing to life three otherwise-abstract computing concepts (hence the “Triptych” title). The “Performance”, “Security” and “Design” installations see visitors to the exhibition (held last night at the Vinyl Factory in Soho, London) interact with Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensors, hooked up to Intel-powered laptops, creating visuals projected onto giant screens that reacted differently depending on a visitor’s movements. “Security” for instance, representing virus and malware protection, saw a school of piranha-like quadrilaterals dive at a representation of the visitor onscreen, bouncing away from the visitor who is left unscathed.

The concept was first sketched out in February, with the Hellicar & Lewis team coding for 10 straight weeks to get the installations together in time for yesterday’s showcase. Intel supplied laptops with their latest third generation processors to Hellicar & Lewis. Using hardware from Fujitsu, Dell and Novatech, Pete Hellicar praised the machines’ power and portability:

“In theory, the whole installation is now portable thanks to the laptops; you don’t need these massive screens to get the concept across. Normally we’d have to drag towers with us, but the Intel-powered laptops are all super-fast and stable.”
triptych-night.jpgThe mobility offered by the machines will also help Hellicar & Lewis with their projects helping those living with autism.

“What we’ve found with students living in the autistic spectrum is that some are over stimulated and some are under stimulated. Our installations help them find a level within themselves”, explained Hellicar.

“With these sort of installations, you make an action and are given an immediate reaction. Within those moments, they’re given an awareness of self. And through that awareness, they’re becoming more in tune with their surroundings, concepts surrounding proximity and also social skills. The installations react differently with more than one person involved, and we often find those with difficulties concerning physical interactions become more comfortable with other people when interacting with the technology.”

Everything that Hellicar & Lewis have built is based on open-source coding too, meaning those looking to build upon the ideas presented by Triptych will be able to do so without it being overly costly.

For more on Hellicar & Lewis, click here.

Gerald Lynch