Repel the Invaders

Repel the Invaders, 2012

Lisa Fitzpatrick, Eric Stykel, and Michele Olsen

“Repel the Invaders” is a collaborative project created by Eric Stykel, Michele Olsen and Lisa Fitzpatrick at the UMD Viz Lab in 2012, currently on display at the Great Lakes Aquarium. This interactive, projected application raises awareness of the problems of invasive species within Lake Superior and nearby ecosystems. It is coded with the open-source computer program, Processing. In the display, an animation of the bottom of Lake Superior is projected on the wall. There, native species swim around. When a child casts his or her shadow on the wall (i.e. human intervention), the native species are scared away and invasive species begin to take over. The child can try to trap the invasive species to help the native species come back. “Repel the Invaders” has been registered with the U of M Office for Technology Commercialization.

Repel the Invaders Uses Shadow-sensitive Technology. This technology utilizes a simple set of components yet offers a fully interactive educational game.  The main components of this system involve the use of a projector, computer, and a webcam offering a simple and cost effective construction.  Museums and aquariums are looking for interactive displays to get the public more involved.  This technology is integrated with shadow-sensitive technology that uses a projector and detection software to recognize where the user is interacting on the screen.  This is the only interactive and educational game of its kind on invasive species.  This exhibit offers a new and exciting replacement for outdated stationary displays that will allow visitors to become more involved and help fill the growing demand for museum exhibits that attract a larger audience.

Repel the Invaders poster

Informational Posters 

Screen shot of the project with just the native species of fish
Screen shot of the project with just the native species of fish