Michael Meindl

James L. Carmon Scholarship Award (Honorable Mention) 2011

Michael J. Meindl, an MFA candidate in dramatic media, created a multi-media performance that combines a live actor, a puppet, and a virtual character. The actor wears an iPhone that runs a custom application, communicating its position and orientation to a desktop server, which in turn, communicates with the game engine controlling the virtual character. This enables the character to follow, and even react to, the live actor as he moves. The iPhone, easily concealed in the actor’s pocket, is invisible to the audience — as is the technology. The project combines Meindl’s interests in puppetry, animation, and live performance. It integrates theory and practice by incorporating 3-D animation, interactive programming, sensors, and mobile computing. Meindl is also part of a team producing computer-animated visual effects for an NIH-supported project designed to present difficult concepts of biology to high school students and another to teach students about knot theory in mathematics.