Firewall: Touch-Sensitive Interactive Wall

Artist Aaron Sherwood and Mike Allison stretched a spandex sheet and used it as an interface that people can touch and push into, creating visuals and music with every interaction.

Very cool.

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“Pulse of the City” Plays Songs to the Rhythm of your Heartbeat

 

One of the many fascinating projects displayed at San Fransisco’s Urban Prototyping Festival this year is “Pulse of the City.” Below are excerpts from their website as well as a wonderful article from Nathan Hurst at WIRED:

“The Pulse of the City team incorporated a lot more than one digital element. A heart-shaped sculpture, bigger than a parking meter, made of cardboard and auto body putty, Pulselinked an EKG board to a pair of copper handles to measure the pulse of anyone holding it. Then, with an Arduino, a midi shield, a handful of LEDs, and an XBee radio, it generated a light and music show, and shared pulse information to the web.

‘We programmed an algorithm that takes your heartbeat and makes a unique tempo, drum beat, and melody,’ said George Zisiadis, who created Pulse of the City with Matt Ligon and Rachel McConnell. “It’s the first time people ever have a sense of what they sound like.’

Of course, a portable cardboard structure isn’t quite ready to be a semi-permanent installation on a street corner somewhere. Like all the other projects, Pulse of the City was a prototype. And like the others, it’s open source. ‘We’re not going to travel around the country and install these, but anybody can,’ said Zisiadis, noting that plans for the device would be published on GitHub and Instructables.

In fact, the open-source nature of the projects represents both an opportunity and a risk for their dissemination. While it means that anyone who wishes could follow along and build their own, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

‘In terms of spreading, from the outside there’s somewhat of a mentality that open source is kind of magic, and if you put it out there, amazing things happen on their own,’ said Levitas. And while that’s partially true, it still takes outreach to spread the word. Now that the festival is over, GAFFTA plans to meet with each team to discuss how to proceed. Most will begin a crowdfunding campaign of some sort, said Levitas.

‘There’s not really a central node for public design, public technology,’ he said. ‘We hope to become sort of a central resource to that.'” (Nathan Hurst, WIRED)

And from the Pulse of the City UPF site:

“Pulse of the City playfully empowers pedestrians with self-awareness of their heart rates by translating them into unique musical compositions in real-time. It simultaneously streams this heart rate data to the internet for anyone to explore and analyze.

The project is designed with maximum scalability in mind. Each pulse monitoring station is simply and cheaply built and anyone can add to the network of pulse monitors across the city, the country, or even the world.
By truly understanding the literal pulse of our cities for the first time ever, we hope to inspire a broader sense of civic community and humbly facilitate a constructive dialogue on how to design the healthier and more livable cities of the future.

Project by George Zisiadis, Matt Ligon, Rachel McConnell and Rich Trapani.”

Source, Image Source 1: Pulse of the City: Urban Prototyping Festival 2012

Image Source 2: Nathan Hurst, WIRED magazine

Interesting thoughts on digital memory banks, Facebook chairs, and Polaroids

MJR

 

 

 

Watching the beautiful short film below, I could imagine a dozen different technological products that it could advertise, in particular saving data on ‘The Cloud’. However, this short film entitled Lost Memories by Francois Ferracci is the exact antithesis to an advertisement for a technological gadget.

 

 

Lost Memories is a powerful comment on our lives in the digital age and a reminder that nothing is more important than our actual memories rather than our digitally archived memories in the forms of blogs and tweets.

 

As technology advances continuously and grows into corners of our lives where we never expected to see it, the sceptical thought that we are becoming too dependent on technology similarly increases. Recent research into technology’s effect on our brain has revealed The Google Effect. Straight forwardly, search engines have given people information at their fingertips which has subsequently decreased the…

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Microsoft’s new technology transforms your room into a video game

In an unprecedented and long-awaited move, Microsoft has patented a new gaming console that blends projector and Xbox/Kinect technology to take the video game environment literally outside the box and into your home.  The patent should serve to keep Google’s competing Interactive Spaces project at bay, a project that also uses projection and cameras to map locations and movement using blob-tracking.  The console, being touted as Xbox 720/Kinect V2, projects the 360 degree video game display onto all four of your walls, encompassing you in the game and making your room into the game environment.  It tracks furniture positions and adjusts the projection to visually eliminate them from the environment.

Thanks to science, we are one step closer to creating the Holodeck.   I’m so excited that this is happening in my lifetime.  I think it’s something that every gamer has dreamed of at least once in his or her childhood.  The project is estimated to be under construction for another few years.  In the meantime, you can start working on your startle response so you don’t wet yourself when Left 4 Dead’s Hunter pops out from behind your bed.

Here’s some more technical context for the ‘Immersive Display Experience”  (Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.)

A data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by a logic subsystem is provided. The instructions are configured to output a primary image to a primary display for display by the primary display, and output a peripheral image to an environmental display for projection by the environmental display on an environmental surface of a display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image.

An interactive computing system configured to provide an immersive display experience within a display environment, the system comprising: a peripheral input configured to receive depth input from a depth camera; a primary display output configured to output a primary image to a primary display device; an environmental display output configured to output a peripheral image to an environmental display; a logic subsystem operatively connectable to the depth camera via the peripheral input, to the primary display via the primary display output, and to the environmental display via the environmental display output; and a data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by the logic subsystem to: within the display environment, track a user position using the depth input received from the depth camera, and output a peripheral image to the environmental display for projection onto an environmental surface of the display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image and shields a portion of the user position from light projected from the environmental display.

[0002] An immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user. The peripheral images serve as an extension to a primary image displayed on a primary display.

[0003] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Furthermore, the claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure.

Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.

 

Willow’s “Sweater” makes a beautiful music video on one stage with Projection Mapping

Everything shot in studio with 3 beamers projecting on a floor and two walls.

Directed by: Filip Sterckx
DOP: Pierre Schreuder
3D animation / Editing: Filip Sterckx
Production: Pierre Schreuder, Filip Sterckx
Technical support: Aitor Biedma
Production assistant: Nils Goddeeris
Thanks to: Het Depot, Stake5, Cools multimedia, Tom Brewaeys, Birgit Sterckx, Antoon Verbeeck, Pieter-Jan Boghe

How Vimeo went Interactive with Old Spice’s “Muscle Music” Video

The latest thing to go viral is Old Spice’s “Muscle Music” video (above), where after watching an impressive display of musical flexing, users can play their own muscle-y tunes by pressing keyboard keys.  Old Spice has always had incredible advertising, but this interactive Weiden + Kennedy video brings a fresh perspective to the brand.

 Interested in how this was done, I came across The Atlantic’s interview with Abby Morgan, Vimeo’s Senior Manager of Strategic Sales Partnerships.  Here’s what The Atlantic, had to say, according to author Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg:

“Wieden came to Vimeo back in June, and together they worked with the visual effects shop The Mill to produce the spot. Asked why Wieden selected Vimeo over other video platforms, Morgan explains, ‘I think it was because we were willing to work with them throughout the entire process of ideation, creation, production … because we were willing to take the journey and step into the trenches with the creative process.’ In addition to the live video recording of Crews, the video is a composite of over 150 different elements. While the Flash player runs through the music video, it loads the interactive portion, which is ‘effectively a new player.’ The real triumph, Morgan says, was figuring out how to speed up the server-side compositing of 150 moving parts so that users could record and save their own Muscle Music videos. The process they came up with is surprisingly fast; watch the progress bar load and it just gleefully declares ‘COMPUTER STUFF HAPPENING!'” (The Atlantic)

Source: The Atlantic

 

InOur.Name App mixes Twitter with Politics, wins Media Mash 2012

As part of a popular New York based competition to mix apps, feeds, and data from NYC-based media companies, InOur.Name paints a solid picture of how your state legislators stand on all sorts of issues. Combining Twitter with the Congressional Research Service, it even cites specific bills and explains Congressional procedures.

Enter your zip code and issue (such as “healthcare,” “human rights,” or “veterans”), press enter, and you’re good to go.  You’ll even see your representative’s contact information, making it simple to reach out to them.

For a social-media obsessed generation that wants to make informed decisions despite heavily circulating yellow journalism, this app can only mean good things! Created by Jason Wright, a student a Cornell, the program is written in PHP with some jQuery for AJAX calls. Check out the video below and start using InOur.Name here.

 

Media Mash 2012 is sponsored by NYC Media Lab.

Google Steals Holodeck Idea from Star Trek with “Interactive Spaces” and it’s Fantastic

Remember when you first discovered the Holodeck, and tried to recreate it with cardboard and paper cutouts in your room? Maybe that was just me.  But get ready, because when you read this article about Google’s new software framework that creates interactive experiences in real physical space, you’re going to be blown away.  Called Interactive Spaces, the open source project was released through Google’s blog this past Monday, and you can check out a copy of the post (written by Keith Hughes of the Experience Engineering Team) below:

“There are cameras in the ceiling which are doing blob tracking, in this case the blobs are people walking on the floor. The floor then responds to the blobs by having colored circles appear underneath the feet of someone standing on the floor and then having the circles follow that person around.
 
Interactive Spaces works by having “consumers” of events, like the floor, connect to “producers” of events, like those cameras in the ceiling. Any number of “producers” and “consumers” can be connected to each other, making it possible to create quite complex behavior in the physical space.
 
Interactive Spaces is written in Java, so it can run on any operating system that supports Java, including Linux and OSX and soon Windows.
 
Interactive Spaces provides a collection of libraries for implementing the activities which will run in your interactive space. Implementing an activity can require anything from a few lines in a simple configuration file to you creating the proper interfaces entirely from scratch. The former gets you off the ground very quickly, but limits what your activity can do, while the latter allows you the most power at the cost of more complexity. Interactive Spaces also provides activities’ runtime environment, allowing you to deploy, start, and stop the activities running on multiple computers from a central web application in your local network.
 
Additional languages like Javascript and Python are supported out of the box. Native applications can also be run, which means packages like openFrameworks which use C++ are also supported out of the box. Plans are also underway for supporting the Processing language.”

No big deal or anything, I’m just sort of FREAKING OUT right now.  This is incredibly cool.  I also dig the added support for Processing, the program I’m currently learning that is fantastic for creating graphics.  Google thinks Processing’s enhanced graphic ability will make a great addition to Interactive Spaces by heightening its visual aesthetic.

I’d like to mention Rockwell Group here, as they collaborated with Google on the project’s initial designs.  They are a New York and Europe-based company whose LAB division “creates narratives and new design opportunities that provide deeper and more valuable experiences for visitors and inhabitants.”  Check out the company’s bio below:

“In general, the ambition of the LAB is to explore, experiment, and embed interactive experiences augmented with digital technology in objects, environments and stories. This activity includes in-house design and the creation of interactive environments/objects, scripting software, science and technology consultation, and maintaining networks of technology solution providers. Our toolkit includes working with custom hardware and software for RFID, UPC scanning, video processing, sonar, capacitance, shape memory alloy, LED and lighting technologies, wireless communications, and screen-based dynamically composited animation” (rockwellgroup).

I look forward to seeing what happens with Interactive Spaces while, at the same time, being super jealous that I don’t have this awesome toy to play with nor the knowledge to make it myself!

Interactive Vending Machine Reveals how low People Will go for Free Food

I’ve got mixed feelings about this one: is getting people to bow down to your product the most awesome thing ever, or just plain humiliating?  Personally, I’m embarrassed for all of the people in the video below.  Except for the grandmotherly lady who takes the initiative and hits the button 100 times for her free rice snack.

So what is this thing? It’s Australia’s Fantastic Delites new marketing campaign produced by Clemenger BBDO called “How far will you go for Fantastic Delites?”  As you’ll see below, people go very far indeed.  Dancing, literally getting on their knees and bowing to the machine, doing the chicken dance, pressing the button 100, 1000, and even 5000 times–it’s degradation at its best.  For rice snacks. RICE snacks, people! Does that even sound worth it to you?  For better or for worse, our opinions actually don’t matter because the video shows that type of marketing to be effective –just look at all the crowds!  I think a major part of the appeal is just that–it draws a crowd and attracts attention.  People stop what they are doing to watch another human make a fool of his or herself.  And then of course they become curious, what is this thing, what’s it for, who is Fantastic Delites, and maybe I want one.

This is a fantastic example of interactivity in marketing.  It’s pushing the limits of human-machine interaction, all while making a name for Fantastic Delites not just at its location, but around the world because of that video.  I’m impressed.  And slightly repulsed.  But mostly impressed.

Source: AdWeek