For this looking outwards, I chose a work by Aaron Sherwood and Mike Allison, in which a projection is shown on a piece of stretched spandex - when a person presses against the spandex, the visuals interact with their hand, causing a flame-like ripple effect to form. Some of the visuals work better than others, but I liked the idea that the user would actually feel something touching them as they press inward rather than a projection simply interacting with the space around them.
Firewall from Aaron Sherwood on Vimeo.
Tangible Media Group - AUFLIP
This piece encourages the user and creates a positive environment where they can successfully learn a new skill, which in this case is doing a front or back flip. The real-time data monitoring allows for immediate positive reinforcement when a task is done well, and some suggestions when a task is not done at the best quality. I like that research was done on the entire process of doing a successful front or back flip, so that the device could be produced at the best and most accurate quality. The fact that it was tested and further augmented shows that the artists really cared about the practicality of the piece and wanted to ensure that people who used it were satisfied. What intrigues me the most about this project, therefore, is actually the practicality and functionality of the piece, and how it can be applied to teach other kinds of cool skills to beginners.
No video is available on the website, only images.
Anastasis Germanidis & Cristobal Valenzuela, Uncanny Rd (2018)
Link to Project: https://www.creativeapplications.net/environment/uncanny-rd-drawing-tool-to-interactively-synthesise-street-images/
Uncanny Rd. is a project by Anastasis Germanidis and Cristobal Valenzuela meant to explore the capabilities of machine learning. Users are prompted to create a semantic colormap of a scene in which each color represents a different kind of object, and the algorithm subsequently fills in each region with a photographic rendering of its corresponding object type. The neural network was trained on a number of images of German cities.
In particular, I like the post-apocalyptic, decaying atmosphere depicted in the unsaturated images produced by this project. The mosaic-like composition and warped objects are reminiscent of surrealist and Dada artworks. Due to the limited source material on which the neural network was trained, the images consistently retain a sense of place, independent of their composition or level of abstraction. Both the intricate detail and blurred ambiguity of the images allow for users to use the images as brainstorming material for constructing fictional environments.
This is a really cool project that an upperclassmen friend did for a studio project that I thought was really inspiring, as it really blends the space between the digital and physical world together.
The robot on its own works in conjunction with the user, which I found to be a very innovative / cool point of the project.
I'm really interested in being able to combine my programming skills / assets in technology with my designs and I feel with something such as physical computing, I am able to truly build a bridge between that physical and digital world to achieve a project like this that can help people through the usage of technology, without there being a gaping hole of what that connection could be.
For this LO, I wanted to write about the BIY (Believe it Yourself) project - "real-fictional belief-based computing kits" by Shanghai-based design studio Automato.
biy.Move helps the user "move around following harmonious paths" in accordance with Chinese Geomancy and feng shui (specifically, the position of mountains and rivers nearby.) Its directions can be used to guide both humans and robots.
BIY - Harmonious Self Driving Kit from automato on Vimeo.
biy.See processes the stream of data coming through the camera in its 'eye' using object recognition algorithms, and classifies lucky or unlucky objects based on Italian folk magic. It will warn the user when a 'bad luck' object or configuration is present, like "13 people sitting around a dinner table" or the cutout black cat shown in the still below.
BIY - Fortune Recognition Kit from automato on Vimeo.
biy.Hear processes language and identifies names to calculate lucky numbers and read the 'destiny' inherent within them according to Indian numerology. It prints out its conclusions on a nice little receipt.
BIY - Numerological Language Processing Kit from automato on Vimeo.
If the gist of the typical physical computing project is to interpret sensor information in an interesting way, I think this one did a good job upending my expectations of the relationship between sensor data, the supposedly flawless logic of computers, and reality. Technology can and does inspire spiritual experiences, but this can be overshadowed by the idea prevalent among STEM people that mushy logic (like that required to deal with spirituality, faith, and art) is invalid and not valuable. Maybe it's a reach, but I think this project points at how prevailing belief systems and epistemological frames of mind influence technology and culture.
"Art is a tool of empowerment and social change, and I consider myself blessed to be able to create and use my work to promote health reform, bring awareness about ALS and help others."
- Tempt One
The Eyewriter using eye-tracking hardware and free software to allow the user to draw with their eyes. It was developed by members of FAT, OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab, and The Ebeling Group for TEMPT1, a graffiti artist from LA who was diagnosed with ALS in 2003 and since has been paralyzed except for his eyes. Since, TEMPT1 has been able to make his art again, and raise awareness for ALS. The Eyewriter was made in 2010, and it was made into a larger project, Art By Eyes, which was funded by Kickstarter to fund TEMPT1's art and awareness campaign.
The project is really well-documented, with a main website as well as a photos page that gives a lot of insight about the project. The documentation and the Art By Eyes campaign are the most important parts of the project in my opinion. Rather than just create a product, the team applied the product in a lot of different ways and imagined what it could do beyond just what they wanted to use it for. To me, this has a lot of potential for an eye-based operating system, which doesn't seem (based on a really quick search) to be that fleshed out yet, although it does seem like Samsung was working on some kind of "eye mouse" in 2014 (https://www.cnet.com/news/samsungs-eyecan-lets-your-eyes-control-your-computer/). I think that would be really cool, and they seem to have done a lot of the work already. Media art is very important in exposing different ways to use existing technology, and I think this is a great example of that. It seems like the tech industry as a whole is very focused on "forward" progress rather than progress in other directions, which is what Alan Warburton was talking about, and that can often lead to a lot of lost potential.
Passo Uno (2015) by Krio
Krio is an Italian artist incorporating animatronics into stop motion animation. In his project Passo Uno, he combines 3D printing, robotics, and traditional sculpture techniques to bring his protagonist to life. While traditional stop motion puppets can have hundreds to thousands of sculpted facial expressions, embedding robotic parts allows the animator to bring the character to life with a single model.
To create the characters, Krio first hand sculpted the models and laser scanned them to create a guide for the mechanical parts. The internal mechanism was then 3D printed and soldered, and the "skin" was cast from silicone. I wish he provided further insight into how he rigged the robotic elements, but you do see a brief shot of an arduino at 0:15. At a time where traditional hand-drawn animation is becoming less and less common in lieu of CGI, it's inspiring to see computation being used to keep the remarkable craft of stop motion alive.
For this week's looking outwards on Physical Computing, it was super lovely and pleasant to re-stumble across Anti-Drawing Machine by Soonho Kwon (recent 2017 design graduate), Harsh Kedia and Akshat Prakash.
Anti-Drawing Machine was created using an Arduino, A4988 stepper motor drivers and custom enclosures, and code. It does exactly what it sounds like - it helps you draw - but also is opposed to you drawing. In other words, the machine allows for "disrupted or collaborative drawing by manipulating the rotation and position of an ordinary paper material. It exists at that very fine line between disruption and collaboration, trying to be both at the same time." I really adore this for not only it's interesting and complex ability to draw not only against the user's wishes but also with, in addition to it's playful elements.
This project is particularly engaging to me because it truly is an equal and dynamic dance between human and computer interaction. Without either side contributing their full effort, the drawing would not be what it is as it stands.
Jacob Tonski, Balance from Within (2010-2013)
The beauty of the project is its simplicity and fragility. It is a very simple installation with only a sofa and a motor that balances the sofa against gravity, without any protection to stop other possible external forces to tip it over. Thus it becomes really fragile to the viewers and might breaks it into pieces. However, since the sofa is assembled as modulars, it is also very easy to assemble the pieces back together when it falls apart, this objects suddenly becomes durable and resilient. It is poetic to see the juxtaposition of fragility and resilience and it almost feels like the piece is designed to be broken.
Kaho Abe is an game designer and media artist that creates installation games.
Hotaru is a 2 person interactive task-based game where they play as "the last remaining lightning bugs in a fantastical world, in their last stand against an invisible enemy." One person generates lightning using hand gestures, and transfer the lightning to the second person to "shoot" from their gaunlet. I really like the costume elements of this piece; it adds another level of immersion and detail. (the way the lightning pack lights up, and the glowing spikes on the gaunlet). I appreciate that the artist went through many iterations of this piece, and decided to keep focus on the costumes and gestures rather than bigger theatrical elemtns.