Henson brought us some of the best puppets of all time: Kermit the Frog and the whole muppet gang who give life to Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, and many movies, TV shows and vignettes.
Henson’s muppets have become a ubiquitous part of childhood, and of American culture.
In his honor, Google has rolled out a charming interactive Google Doodle featuring Muppets who respond to your mouse clicks.
This doodle is powered by the same software that runs Sid the Science Kid. It’s called Henson Digital Puppetry. Wired explains that Google collaborated with the Jim Henson Company to bring us this fanciful celebration of its founder’s life.
According to Wired, the Jim Henson Company describes the software this way:
The system consists of three major components: mechanical hand controls, a control computer, and a digital puppet workstation which renders the live on-screen image of the character. The final product allows animation to be composited into computer-generated environments in real-time. The system’s animated characters are therefore also “directable,” like actors, and the animation can thus be used as a pre-visualization tool as well as a final product. The animation can be broadcast, or streamed, taking advantage of either local digital networks or the global internet infrastructure. The animation can also be applied to many mediums, including web-broadcasting, computer games, television and film.
What they’re saying is, you can actually control the characters in the doodle and operate them a bit like puppets. Play around, see what you can do.
I’m warning you though: my “e” got a little fiesty and ate my “l”.