Monday, October 27, 2008

Media Facades Festival, Berlin October 16 through December 12, 2008

Here is the link:

Media Facades Festival Berlin 2008: Myths and Potentials of Media Architecture and Urban Screens

"The MEDIA FACADES FESTIVAL BERLIN 2008 is an innovative project, engaging a wide range of stakeholders with distinctive interests in the public space. Through round tables, a workshop, panel sessions, lectures, urban screenings on media facades and an architecture exhibition the event will promote a multi-disciplinary action research approach to technology, architecture and media art in modern cities."

"Media fa├žades can combine aspects of lighting and graphics in formats determined by the architecture, these might differ fundamentally in format, resolution and dimension from the rectilinear media image. Moving imagery has increasingly become interactive and emergent and often have to work without sound, so they question narrative storytelling known from other traditional media. Content can be synthesised from or driven by information from the environment, whether it be from within the building or from the outside world, or through channels such as the internet.

In connection with locative and
mobile media, new forms of content production can develop that create through participatory approaches new relations between the imagery and the surrounding urban space and its citizen.
" - from the introduction

Pictures from the Media Facades Festival Site and other related pictures from Media Architecture:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

SNL's Multi-touch Parody of CNN's Interactive Touch Screen Magic Map Wall

Via Interactive Multimedia Technology

Most viewers familiar with CNN news know about the "Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall", or Magic Wall, used by John King. David Borhman, a CNN producer, was describes the purpose of the Magic Wall in a quote in a Washington Post article:

"It's a stupendous way to explain a lot of complicated data"..."Fundamentally, our job is to explain things to people, and we need it visually. This lets us do it naturally, without a keyboard or mouse getting in the way....Once you see it, you get it instantly."

This would be fun to play with- for just about everyone! If you don't have ready access to a "magic wall", take a look Fred Armisen's playfulness in a recent Saturday Night Live parody of the CNN Magic wall:

Video clip via Hulu

Partial Transcript:

"One thing we are going to look at is Pennsylvania..Have a very good look at Harrisburg.....Get in really close to this. Back a bit, back a little bit, excellent"

"Now the country can be moved up and down, like so....We can also shrink it and put it in your pocket if you need to."

"You can always change the colors. You got blue, blue again, a little bit of red...right over there, a little bit of blue of course, if you want to make something out of green, you got a little face there, some whiskers, we can ..... make a cat. Notice the triangle nose!"

"Let's look at Ohio. Lets look at the Cleveland area. Lets look really really close. Really close. Really really close, You can see the top of a warehouse. We're really going to want look at that. Very, very important, were going to want to look at that."

"You can take Oregon, lets move it out into the ocean. It will be completely surrounded by water. That's very, very dangerous."

"And here is New York.... New York was there in 2004, and you can shake it around like that.. (shakes New York)"

"Actually, what I'm doing is very important, and informational"

"OK, Fred, stop goofing around..."

Fred turns to the map, and with both hands, moves all of the states out of place.

Photo via engadget

"Check out Michigan... I can make it bounce!" (Drags down Michigan on the map, it bounces up and down once it reaches the bottom of the map.)

Rumor has it that Jeff Hans, of Perceptive Pixel, was responsible for the SNL version of the Magic Touch-Wall map.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ambient Information Systems: Links from Infosthetics

What is an ambient information system?

According to the Ambient Information Systems Workshop (Ubicomp 08), ambient info systems are "a large set of applications that publish information a highly non-intrusive manner, following on from Mark Weiser's concept of calm technology.

"The current research in pervasive and ubiquitous computing suggests a future in which we are surrounded by innumerable information sources, all competing for our attention. These information sources may manifest as both novel devices and as devices embedded in common objects, such as refrigerators, automobiles, toys, furniture, clothes, and even our own bodies."

"While this vision of the future has prompted great advancements in context-aware computing, wireless connectivity, multi-sensor platforms, smart materials, and location-tracking technologies, there is a concern that this proliferation of technology will increasingly overwhelm us with information. Our belief is that information should move seamlessly between the periphery and the center of one’s attention, and that good technology is highly transparent. We see ambient information systems as a way to support these ideas."

Ambient Information Systems Pics linked from Infosthetics:

Real-time data panoramas: "Once the stock market opens, our 3D simulation comes to life & people start 'breathing' business information" via

BASHIBA Panorama exploits the visual perceptual capabilities of the human brain.
It harnesses untapped brain power.


Glowcap Ambient Pill Cap via
"Ever forget to take a pill? Watch "how it works" video.

Ambient Devices Energy Joule via Ambient Devices
"Save Money. Help the Planet. Track energy prices and your energy use with a simple night light."
This device provides you with the weather forecast for the day, the day's high temperature, tthe current cost of electricity, your current energy usage, rewards for using less energy, and signal strength.

Affective Diary:

The sensor based Affective Diary is a collaborative project between Microsoft Research and the Interaction Lab at SICS. You can download the code from the application page. The source code is available as a Visual Studio 2005 solution. Here is a screenshot:


"To expand on the ways in which we creatively engage in diary-keeping, we have designed an affective diary that captures some of the physical, bodily aspects of experiences and emotions—what we refer to as “affective body memorabilia”. The affective diary assembles sensor data, captured from the user and uploaded via their mobile phone, to form an ambiguous, abstract colourful body shape. With a range of other materials from the mobile phone, such as text and MMS messages, photographs, etc., these shapes are made available to the user. Combining these materials, the diary is designed to invite reflection and to allow the user to piece together their own stories."

Ambient Mug
Ambient Persuasive Mug via Ads of the World
"The external surface of the cup is printed with a second layer of heat sensitive ink that is revealed when hot water is poured into the cup."

Road Temperature Warning
Visual road temperature warning via NewScientistTech
"Intelligent paint turns roads pink in icy conditions"

Calm Technologies in a Multimedia World - Alexandru Tugui
(Ubiquity: Information Everywhere!)

Nimio - via setbang -Johanna Brewer

a system comprised of a series of physical objects designed as individual playthings, but wirelessly networked via RF to act as both input and output devices for a collective visualization of distributed activity. These hand-held, translucent silicone toys have embedded sensors (for input) and 3 colors of LEDs (for output) which allow them to be reactive to both sound and touch. Action around one of the nimios will cause the others to glow in different patterns and colors. The interaction design is deliberately open-ended, in order to allow the emergence of distinctive patterns of collaborative engagement in real groups."

Interactive Waterfall

Interactive waterfall -Charles Forman, from Setpixel.
(includes a video with nice ambient music.)

The project was produced for the Children's Center at the Hackensack University Medical Center.

Wearables from the Reach project at the Interactive Institute, Design Goteborg:

Scarf that reveals messages when it heats up.

Temperature changing scarves

Bag with sensors that measure sound level, light, and temperature.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Multi-touch at DreamHack Winter 2008: Wish I could go!

DreamHack is known in the Guiness Book of Records as the world's largest LAN party and computer festival. The record set ii 20 10,544 computers and 11,060 attendees. The Winter 2008 DreamHack event will be held at the Elmia exhibit center in Jonkoping, Sweden, November 27-30.

NUI (Natural User Interface) will be at DreamHack Winter 2008. For more information about NUI's upcoming events, see Harry van der Veen's multi-touch blog. (Harry is the co-founder of the NUI-Group and the CEO of Natural User Interface)

Here is a picture of an interactive multi-touch table they demonstrated at Cityscape Dubai 2008:

Natural User Interface is collaborating with Lulea Tekniska University on the upcoming projects.


I gather from the pictures that DreamHack started out as a "guy" thing. The pictures below are from the GRIN website. (GRIN is a game developer company located in Barcelona, Spain, and in Stockhom & Gothenburg, Sweden.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ideum's multi-touch, multi user table prototype for museum installations...

Ideum is a company involved in interactive multimedia project development since 1999. Currently, the company is working on multi-touch, multi-user table-top projects for museum installation.

The company pays close attention to usability and natural interaction factors. Take a look at the Ideum website for a picture of what this company is all about. Be sure to look at Ideum's portfolio page!