Cirque du Soleil Breaks New Ground With Chrome Experiment
Written by Ian Elliot   
Sunday, 23 September 2012

A new Chrome Experiment proves you don't need a Kinect to create a Natural User Interface and you don't need WebGL to create stunning 3D scenes.

Movi.Kanti.Revo is an JavaScript experiment crafted by Cirque du Soleil and developed by Subatomic Systems. If you take a look at it then you probably think that it is WebGL and more 3D graphics magic - it doesn't work that way.

The whole thing makes use of the new CSS 3D facilities.

You can now consider page elements such as divs, images etc. to live in a 3D environment. Elements can be positioned in space using transforms. Animation can also be achieved using nothing but CSS. You may well be aware that CSS does 3D but you may not, until you have seen this example, have been aware that it could be used to create scenes of such quality - the thought occurs "who needs Flash".




This probably would have been enough of a technology test, but the experiment also makes use of your machine's video camera and microphone. The user is asked for permission to make use of them, but after that the browser code just gets on with the job - no need for add-ons or anything special. It makes use of the getUserMedia function defined as part of the WebRTC standard.

A JavaScript face detection library is used to track the user's head position and the 3D scene is updated to move in the direction the head is pointing in. This is the sort of technique that you usually need some sort of depth camera, like the Kinect, to implement. You can also speak commands and the program obeys - remember this is just HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

If you want to try the experiment out using a machine that doesn't have a video camera then the left and right arrows keys do also work.

For a 30-second preview see the following video:


The only thing left ot explain is its title:

"Movi.Kanti.Revo comes from the Esperanto words for moving, singing and dreaming. In the experiment, you can follow a mysterious character through a beautiful and surreal world to encounter enchanting Cirque du Soleilperformances and live an emotional journey made of love, doubts, hopes and dreams."

All this is great, but for the moment its greatness is confined to Chrome. The other browsers will eventually catch up, but probably not Internet Explorer which is rapidly looking not just like last year's technology but last century's. This really is a Chrome experiment and it demonstrates the speed at which Google is pushing its browser ahead to become, not just a browser, but a complete runtime environment.

If you would like to know more about the technology then see the technical case study (only part 1 is finished at the time of writing). If you have an hour to spare then watch this Chrome Office Hours which gives you a broader picture:




More Information


Technical case study

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 September 2012 )