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.

 

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Fly Over Beautiful 3D Landscapes in Interactive Game Woodbot Pilots

“A 3D gestural game. Using an IR 3D Camera, we translate gestures of the human body navigate a virtual landscape.

Start the game, choose a character and try and get the fastest time through the race track.

This project was launched at Skellefteå airport in Northern Sweden as an installation.”

Credits: Interactive Institute Umeå, North Kingdom and Adopticum

Source: woodbotpilots.com

All images from www.woodbotpilots.com

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

Night Bright Interactive Installation of Nocturnal Discovery

Night Bright is an interactive installation where children physically interact with an imaginary nocturnal ecosystem.  As explained by creator Design I/O:

“Night Bright is an interactive installation of nocturnal discovery where children use their bodies to light up the nighttime forest and discover the creatures that inhabit it.  Listening to the creatures’ sounds children can locate them in the forest, as they play a nighttime game of hide and seek.  Some creatures are curious and will investigate the light, while others are frightened and will hide in the shadows.  Using their light, children can grow nocturnal plants and release fireflies from their flowers.  The fireflies illuminate the environment and help locate the creatures hiding in the forest.
Night Bright was created for the Bumble children’s cafe in Los Altos, California.

Music for the video documentation courtesy of Diederik Idenburg / MOST Original Soundtracks.” (Design I/O)

 

Source: All images from Design I/O.

3D Holographic Displays Grace the Markets thanks to RealFiction

Dreamoc mixes 3D motion graphics with real objects or no objects at all to create a stunning holographic display.  Marketed commercially, Dreamoc is made by Denmark-based company RealFiction to advertise retail.  Leave it to the Scandinavians! This kind of technology holds great possibilities for the arts and experiential realms as well.  Eager to find out more information on how exactly they use the glass pyramid to create a 3D holographic illusion.

Check out this demo video:

 

“Some people call it leaning forward as opposed to leaning back” and Google’s 6 Levels of Engagement

How do we create successful media in the 21st century? Ken Auletta’s book Googled  provides some insight.  I found it relevant not only because the book is a fantastic peek into Google’s inner workings, but because, as you might imagine, it necessitates interactivity.

Albie Hecht, founder of Spike TV, former president of Nickelodeon, and current CEO mogul of Worldwide Biggies uses six criteria for selecting media projects.  Referred to at Worldwide Biggies as the “Six Levels of Engagement,” meeting four of the below criteria suggests a promising project while meeting all of the criteria indicates a “hit.” The following content comes directly from Albie Hecht’s words as printed in Googled (Auletta, p.146).

1. Watch (on any device)

2. Learn (by searching for information about it on the Web)

3. Play (games)

4. Connect (social networks, IM)

5. Collect (microtransactions involving money on the Web)

6. Create (user-generated content)

It is no coincidence that this passage comes before Auletta introduces Google’s 2006 YouTube acquisition for $1.65 billion: YouTube emphasizes all of these criteria, despite the fact that many cable networks doubted and condemned Google’s plan as a failed revenue-maker.

To go into detail here, YouTube let’s you:

1. Watch on computers, smart phones, tablets, and GoogleTV (but not Roku, a decision made by Google themselves)

2. Learn by easily searching (convenient with Google) for YouTube videos. Also, YouTube videos pop up in search results when searching how-to’s and instructional videos.

3. Play: while to my knowledge YouTube doesn’t host interactive videos in the same spectrum as Vimeo’s Old Spice Muscle Music guy [yet], you can create playlists, subscribe, watch trailers for games, watch game walk-throughs, and browse videos in the “Gaming” section.  There’s also an aspect of playfulness in the user-generated annotations.

4. Connect via sharing videos, playlists, creating video responses to other users and videos, and of course, the comment section.  The comment section needs attention as it’s filled with racism, discrimination, rudeness, and sometimes, just plain evil.  Is Google YouTube responsible for their user’s comments? To some degree.  While free speech censorship is a violation of Google’s policy, the sheer number of hate-speech comments is beyond the scope of their user-managed offensive content removal strategy.

5. Collect revenue by selling Ad space not only on the pages, but on the videos themselves either in commercial form (such as Vevo) or lower-third pop ups, which you can close but not prevent.

6. Create user-generated content: well this one’s easy!  Users upload all sorts of home and mobile videos, video blogs, and karaoke recordings that go viral and even skyrocket people to fame.  Did YouTube ever think they would be responsible for Justin Bieber? I would like to know.

Lastly, I wanted to apply these to the Draw Something app, but I’ll let the readers think about that one for now.

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

 

Today’s Google Doodle: Interactive Star Trek Animations

Google’s doodle today is especially awesome today, paying homage to Star Trek’s original series through a sequence of interactive animations.  If you miss it, you can still check it out at Google’s Doodles page.

 

Source: http://www.google.com

Heineken Didn’t Think Lego-like Beer Bottles Were Cool 50 years ago

 

I don’t know many adults who feel “too old” to play with LEGOS, but if that sounds like you, check out Heineken’s beer bottle building bricks from 1963.  You can’t get your hands on one now–they only made it to a prototype phase– but it’s worth reading how Alfred “Freddy” Heineken attempted to eradicate homelessness with the invention of these stackable bottles. See below for pictures of real houses built using the Heineken World Bottle “WOBO” blocks.

Reposted from Laughing Squid:

“In 1963, Alfred “Freddy” Heineken visited the Caribbean island of Curaçao and noted two issues: the lack of building materials for the island’s lower class and the excess of bottles littering their beaches. In response, he connected with Dutch architect N. John Habraken and the Heineken WOBO (World Bottle) was invented. The WOBO is a Heineken-branded beer bottle that doubles as a stackable, self-aligning and interlocking brick made for building eco-homes. One thousand WOBO bricks would be needed to make a simple 10 X 10 foot structure. According to Wikipedia, almost every bottle has been destroyed and only two remaining WOBO structures exist “and they are both on the Heineken estate in Noordwijk, near Amsterdam…””

 

And last but not least, Laughing Squid brought up that Heineken actually did revisit their rectangular roots, but for saving fridge space rather than saving the poor and homeless (and possibly alcoholic): meet the 2008 Heineken cube.

 

All images from Laughing Squid.

 

 

 

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.