What Happens when a Self-Driving Car Picks Up a Hitchhiker?

For our proposed workshop activity, we are modifying an existing improv game, “Hitch Hiker,” to explore self-driving car interactions. We have taken the improvised portion of improvised embodied design for self-driving cars and applied it to the game environment for designers. Self-Driving Car Hitch Hiker requires the same amount of players and setup, but instead of seat 1 being the “driver” role, it is the “embodiment of self-driving car” role. The activity cycles through the same way, but when a player occupies seat 1, they must embody the self-driving car in some way. This player can also choose to ignore the rule
of everyone taking on the hitchhiker’s character trait and simply react to the scene playing out in the car. Since the “embodiment of the self-driving car” is not an actual human character, the scene simply ends when the car “arrives” at its destination and the player in seat 1 leaves the scene.

Claire Mikalauskas, Jean-Rene Leblanc, Lora Oehlberg
University of Calgary Calgary, Canada
Claire Mikalauskas is a first year MSc student in Computa- tional Media Design at the University of Calgary with super- visors Lora Oehlberg (Computer Science) and Jean-Rene Leblanc (Art Practice). Her research focuses on integrating interactive technology with improvised theatre, specifically via props, to create new forms of performer control and au- thorship on stage. Claire is a member of the University of Calgary Improv Club, and works as a set and costume de- signer in the University of Calgary’s School of Performing Arts. As part of the UIST 2017 Student Innovation Contest, Claire and a team of fellow students built a system that col- lects audience input for dialogue and gestures that are then performed by a robot arm (“Pokey”) during an improvised scene. Claire created improvised scenes alongside Pokey during the demo session. Claire has a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, and volunteers at the Public Library teaching teenagers how to code to create websites and games.

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