muffin and lumas

A real beagle and virtual lumas meet in augmented reality.

It’s not a new idea – everyone in Petaluma wants to know how to pet a luma.  First off you have to find one!  Or perhaps, first you have to create one…

Down at the shared workspace aptly named WORK, we are always bouncing around ideas.  One of our core members happens to be Jeffrey Ventrella  – a complex combination of artist, software developer, and virtual body language expert on a quest to create more humane technology.  He also happens to be really good at creating fun, cute, and captivating creatures in augmented reality – a fascinating fusion of the real world and the virtual world.  Through his venture Wiggle Planet, Jeffrey and partner Ken Pearce have begun to coalesce a lifetime of work into simple but engaging games featuring “self-animated beings with physics, genetics, and funny little brains.”

Enter, Petaluma.  After random brainstorming sessions and input from our own nine-year old daughter, ideas started to form around the concept of taking these fun, wiggly creatures and creating something bigger.  The notion of utilizing play to facilitate learning and digital games to encourage real world experiences excited all of us.  What if you created adorable imaginary animals, placed them around Petaluma, and endowed them with special knowledge of the ecology, the history, the folklore of the town.  Could they be the long lost Luma?

A WORKer-in-Residence program is an idea we’ve been contemplating and this project had just the right combination of community engagement, positive impact, and playfulness to garner broad support from the core crew of WORK members.  Presenting this idea to the group at coffee social this week, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.  For now, we’re trying to keep it simple- supporting Jeffrey’s creative endeavor with whatever collective brainpower we can offer in a three month push to make this little dream a reality. In the future, who knows what could happen- the possibilities are exciting and endless!

Interested in following the progress?  ‘Like’ Wiggle Planet’s new Facebook Page!

Have ideas or talents to offer?  Contact Jeffrey at

written by Natasha Juliana