Tug of War

Ars Electronica Futurelab

24 July 2000

Ars Electronica Futurelab / 2000 / Austria Interactive art installation

Interactive Tug Of War – an installation developed for the Playzone of the Millennium Dome in London – thematizes the relationship between human and computer.

The development of this installation’s interface was a breakthrough in the field of force feedback technology.

In Tug of War, the player competes against virtual opponents selected on the basis of the player’s physical strength. On the Evaluation Level, the player is called upon to pull with all his might on a computer-controlled, pneumatically regulated rope. Then, the player can fight his way up the rankings level by level. By means of digital video technology, actors are set within an imaginary landscape; the lifesized challengers are displayed opposite the player on a large video screen. This installation constitutes a successful effort to allow for human-computer interaction in a very direct and natural way. The user behaves toward the machine just as he would toward a human opponent because the rope as interface and the force opposing him correspond to a real situation.