SMALLab on the Small Screen

The positions of the glowballs, and other information coming from SCREM, can be relayed to a little Nokia N800 palmtop over the WiFi connection.

Tracking is still a little rough, and, as I mention in the video, I think the IR cams are grabbing the N800 a little bit, so we'll need to keep it outside of the area--at least until the tracker is a bit more solid. Still, it should be a handy way to bring in another interface--and other participants--inside SMALLab. In fact, I gave the N800 to James in the office, and he could watch the movements of the balls through the wall.

I'm sure that's useful somehow.

3D Buttons and Sliders

Here is a quick video explanation of the HitArea and DragArea render engines.

The engines can track when a pointer enters and leaves them, and the DragArea engine also reports back the pointer's relative position--handy for sliders, etc.

Day Two Wrap Up: Tech Art Edition

Another fascinating day at DIMEA 2008. One of the keynotes, by the Greek artist Michalou(di)s, described sculpting using silica aerogel. It's an incredibly light insulator, but it also has a strange "immaterial" beauty to it, like looking into a cloud. Very cool. I also saw presentations on AI painting, biometric sensing art (right up my alley), and a very cool haptic device that rests on the nail of the finger, but makes the user feel like their touching something in the front.

Day One Wrap Up: Insomniac Special

It's about 4:30 local time--I swear I was tired when I got back here. Oh, well.

The conference is going really well. The presentations so far have been just fantastic--I've seen some great stuff for big games, locative media and pervasive computing. I was especially pleased to see Annika Waern and Josephine Reid present their respective papers--I've read about their other projects, so it's great to see the latest work.

Arrived at DIMEA 2008

I've made it to the conference in one piece--fortunately I was waiting for the bus early. I don't present until Friday, so I have the next few days to soak it all in. The list of presenters and demos looks pretty good, too, so I think I'll come out of this with some interesting new precedents to think about. Keynote's in ten minutes, so I'm off.

Made it to Athens

So I finally arrived in Athens. The Galini Hotel, while not exactly a "palace", is nice with a great view of the sea and a mini bar stocked with reasonably priced mineral water. That was especially key when I first got here. I missed my stop by a good margin and had to trudge back here in the heat of the in my suit jacket, wheelie bag in tow. Feh--I need to improve my ability to transliterate Greek. At any rate, I'm settled and rehydrated and due for a nap. More later.

Sonic Slope and the Coordinate Dance

Here are a few more videos from last week's session with ASU. The first is a math game for two players to help students learn about slope through physical and audio interaction. The players can listen to the change in coordinates and then try to determine the right slope based on their positions in three-dimensional space.

There are some issues here with finding the right location for the balls that will prompt some work in the future. Knowing, for example, that you are "on" the right point in the Z-axis may require different kinds of audio cues. One idea we've had is a kind of sonic prompt that fades out when you've hit your mark, but gets louder and louder as you approach the boundary between two integers. This, we hope, will help people visualize where the number 2 and 3 are, rather than floating on the boundary between them and continually triggering the audio sample.

The next video is an improvised dance that the students can choreograph as they each try to reach their X and Y coordinates. This is a variation on the "Coordinate Game" that we had developed the day before. Hopefully, students will get an embodied sense of how the Cartesian system works as they move along in their algebra/geometry units.

It's not quite a game yet, but there's something really fun and compelling about making your own art work (a dance piece) that corresponds to your math assignment.

Enron Email Dataset

I just discovered a bevy of research on the Enron email dataset. After the collapse of the company, all of the email from the roughly 150 ex-employees made it into a publicly available archive. This is a pretty valuable resource for people looking to test data-visualization ideas for social relationships. Hopefully, Chuck and I can find a way to use this in the fall for the collaboration studio we're teaching.

The Coordinate Game

This is simple game we created as part of the SMALLab workshop here at Parsons. It's for teaching middle-school students how to figure out coordinates on a projected grid.

Each player takes their own origin as 0,0 and must reach the goal marker laid down by the teacher. The first player to correctly call out the coordinates of her or his goal marker wins.

Congrats to Christopher for his mad math dancing skills!

More Fake 3D

Here's more work on faking three dimensions on a flat plane.

Disco 3D: Behold the three dimensions!Disco 3D: Behold the three dimensions!

Again, this only works from the perspective of the ball, so one person needs to hold it fairly near their point of view to get the effect. And, from the brief demo we did at the workshop, sometimes people need a few minutes to adjust to the effect before they feel like they're navigating space.

At this point, it seems like more of a fun demo or a parlor trick. One really good suggestion we got recently, though, was that we could give participants a button, say on a Wiimore, that would allow them to assume the first person perspective if more than one person is navigating the space. That might help share the experience a bit better.

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Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

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