Facial Recognition Mode used in arts project

In my time away from calming down the excited Triggertrappers who email [email protected], I also co-run a program of artist residencies in Sydney, Australia (where I am based), which gives artists time, space and resources to develop work that incorporates new technology into a performance context. In August, I worked with an arts group called Television Is Dead (Bravo Child, Matt Cornell, Emma Deans), who are developing work that makes people aware of the physical manifestations of the digital world. As part of their residency, they created a performance which took the audience on a journey through the internet, and the idea of "the data cloud".

The artists intended for the experience to begin with each audience member getting a physical profile picture - essentially a print out of their face. But this had to happen automatically and quickly, as the artists would be too busy to take and print each photo. It turned out that the Peekaboo (Facial Recognition) mode on Triggertrap Mobile was the perfect solution.

Below is a quick description of how one of the artists, Matt Cornell, set up a system that would automatically take a photo of a person as they entered the space, and then immediately print it out.

A Canon 5D mk III was connected to an iPhone 4s, running the Triggertrap Mobile App for iOS. The phone's camera was pointed at the door, so that people, entering one by one, would immediately face the camera.


The app was set to trigger based on detecting 1 face. When the app recognised someone's face, this sent a shutter trigger to the 5D mk III which was pointed in the same direction.


The Canon was tethered to a Macbook Pro running OSX Mountain Lion, and all photos taken were instantly saved to a folder on the desktop. The computer was connected to a fast printer. Matt then set up an automator action which monitored that folder for any new files and sent them to the printer as soon as they appeared.


The person would get an A4 print out of their face within about 10 seconds of entering. There was sometimes a short delay in printing, which Matt said he believed was based purely on the monitoring/scanning frequency of his automator script, and could be improved with some tweaking.


What happened to those printed out profile pictures was a lot less geeky, a lot more theatrical, and involved a very large number of balloons, and I won't go into the details. But I hope that this gives you some inspiration for incorporating Triggertrap Mobile into your creative projects. And of course please share them with us!

PS. Matt, who is actually a dancer, also used Triggertrap Mobile to make this timelapse of his setting up and using the space for some movement exercises.