Virtual Mannequins

Made in a single short sprint, our Virtual Mannequin project is an experiment in the rapid development of novel interactions for retail spaces. Visitors can control the movements of the Mannequins or simply watch them as they perform different poses and display random animated outfits. We have designed the Mannequins as virtual robots wearing dynamic garments of varying patterns and lighting effects that are inspired by scientific research into bioluminescent materials and experiments by contemporary fashion designers such as Victoria Geany and Cute Circuit .

Some Virtual Mannequins are displayed in empty shop front windows and others on walls and columns in the Wintergarden complex on the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane.

The display consists of a single projection and a Windows Kinect sensor for tracking visitor movement.We have designed it to have two simple and distinct states to provide experiences for both those who are keen to interact with the work and for those who prefer to spectate:

  • Idle State¬†– Displays the mannequins as animated figures wearing dynamic garments. The system randomly scrolls through a set of pose animations that resemble the nearby physical mannequins on display in the centre, except that the clothing that they are wearing also animates randomly through various visual effects that are designed to look like garments made of bio-luminescent materials.
  • Mimic State¬†– The visitors activate the Virtual Mannequins simply by standing face on for more than 2 seconds. The visitors position and movement is captured and tracked using infrared sensors that send information back to the system to control the Virtual Mannequin models. The garments continue to change and animate as the visitors control the movements and poses of the mannequins.

The Virtual Mannequin project draws on concepts and technologies related to:

  • Retail experiences of the future
  • Bioluminescent materials
  • Fashion design for robots
  • Motion sensitive and responsive public spaces
  • Smart surfaces and displays


  • Subversive adaptations and integrations of technologies and systems
  • Feasible and scalable installation design innovations


Deb Polson – Designer
Wade Taylor – 3D Artist
Ryan Quagliata – Programmer
Alan Burden – Installation



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