Collaborative Research: Major: Puppet Choreography and Automated Marionettes

Todd Murphey Investigator)

University of Colorado at Boulder
3100 Marine Street, Room 481
Boulder, CO 80309 303/492-6221

Magnus Egerstedt Investigator)

GA Tech Research Corporation - GA Institute of Technology
Office of Sponsored Programs
Atlanta, GA 30332 404/385-0866


Puppet choreography is a highly-developed language for controlling mechanically complex marionettes. It has evolved over centuries into a largely standardized form that allows puppeteers to address issues that arise as a result of the complex systems with which they are working. The project looks at how puppeteers address complex tasks in their choreographic descriptions of plays and using that understanding to solve questions of importance to computer science and engineering. These goals will be achieved by creating an automated puppet play, which will use insights about puppet choreography to implement embedded control of mechanically complex marionettes engaged in complex coordination tasks. This work will impact a broad spectrum of activities, including integrating the choreographic structure of programming into two innovative classes, introducing puppeteers to technical computer science and engineering problems, and the introduction of puppetry as programming to children involved in a local YMCA. Students in these classes will also be statistically assessed for their ability to transfer the choreographic techniques to novel problems as well as the puppeteers? ability to apply their expertise to high-level engineering problems in order to gain insight into educational aspects of the creative process.