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"The Difference Engine #3 is an interactive, multi-user, telerobotic sculpture about surveillance, voyeurism, digital absorption and spiritual transformation of the body. It uses the architecture of the ZKM Media Museum as a 3D template and the visitors to the museum as the interface. "
Avatars moving through virtual space in the Difference Engine #3.

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Difference Engine <1999>

The Difference Engine #3 uses the architecture of the ZKM Media Museum as a 3D template and the visitors to the museum as the interface. It is an interactive, multi-user, sculpture about surveillance, voyeurism, digital absorption and spiritual transformation of the body.

The Difference Engine #3 was inspired by Charles Babbage's original Difference Engine # 1 (commonly considered the world's first computer). The original machine was used to calculate numerical positions. This piece calculates the captured image and position in the physical/virtual space of visitors to a physical space, located now at The ZKM Media Museum.

Avatars of museum visitors are "born" when they approach one of three Bi Directional Browsing Units (BBU's). These are mirror like units that flip between the physical and vitual space. Quickcams embedded in the BBU's , flip 180 degrees to capture the image (Avatar) of the person standing before it. Each avatar (image of the visitor) is assigned a number, representing the time in seconds the visitor approached the unit. The numbered avatar embarks on a 27 second journey through a 3D representation of the museum constructed in VRML2 and coded with Java3.

The avatar then moves to a Purgatorial Site where it cycles continuously with 30 other avatars. Eventually, the avatars are archive permanently on the internet where their image can be recalled via the identity number.