Archive for the ‘toy’ Category

When building blocks meet craft …

Monday, November 30th, 2009

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Looking for baby clothing at Muji Japan as suggested by Kimiko, I came accross this o! surprising Lego & Muji love affair. I don’t understand Japanese so I did not make lots of sense with the text, but it seems pretty neat:

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You combine Lego bricks to craft materials to fluidly assemble creatures, people, or even Christmas cards. A great way to expand the way kids work with traditional Lego blocks, integrating unlimited paper craft creations, meaning unlimited imagination.

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As soon as this becomes available here, I’ll get myself a kit!!

Gesture Objects: movie making at the extension of natural play

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

I passed my PhD critique successfully! My committee: Hiroshi IshiiEdith Ackermann and Cynthia Breazeal. I will now focus on few more studies and building few more projects as much as I can before graduating (in 9 months). A little bit on my presentation …

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Gesture Objects: Play it by Eye - Frame it by Hand!

I started with my master thesis Dolltalk, where I establish the ability to access perspective as part of gesture analysis built into new play environments. I then, move into a significant transition phase, where I research the cross-modal interface elements that contribute to various perspective taking behaviors. I also present new technologies I implemented to conduct automatic film assembly.

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The structure of my presentation

At each step, I present the studies that allow me to establish principles which I use to build the final project, the centerpiece of my third phase of research, Picture This. At its final point, Picture This is a fluid interface, with seamless integration of gesture, object, audio and video interaction in open-ended play.

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With Picture This! children make a movie from their toys views, using their natural gestures with toys to animate the character and command the video making assembly. I developed a filtering algorithm for gesture recognition through which angles of motions are detected and interpreted!

Finally, I developed a framework that I call “gesture objects” synthesizing the research as it relates to the field of tangible user interfaces.

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Gesture Objects Framework: In a gesture object interface, the interface recognizes gestures while the user is holding objects and the gesture control of those object in the physical space influences the digital world.

A .pdf of my slides!

When atoms become bits!

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

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Directly from Japan, look at the Tuttuki Bako Virtual Finger Game! 100% real and fantastically crazy by simply sticking your finger in the hole and a digital representation appears on the screen. Then you can use your virtual finger to play all kinds of cool mini games… from swinging a panda to having a karate fight with a tiny little man. It’s so odd yet so wonderful.

You can find it at ThinkGeek

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Monitor your dog’s activities remotely!

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

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SNIF Tag is the revolutionary dog tag that lets you monitor your dog’s activities remotely. It even includes social networking. Woaaaa! I want one for my cat! “Monitor your dog’s activity while you’re away. Keep in touch with his friends and yours. Share helpful information and pet tips online. And get connected to your community. It’s hi-tech, it’s hi-style, easy to use, and completely customizable.”

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So how does it works? Well they use the uberbadge technology developed at the MIT Media Lab, basically when a dog meets with a dog who has a tag and is a friend, it blinks! Also you can know the owner’s dog and find out their owner online…
Thank you Nan Wei!

A video

Barbie and Ken by Karl Lagerfeld

Friday, March 27th, 2009

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Colette features Barbie and Ken by Karl Lagerfeld until tomorrow, hurry!

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Souvenir from my exhibition in New York with Shada/Jahn

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

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… people interacting FULLY with the WOW Pod at the Mixer event in New York. Project I am doing with Shada/Jahn! More about the project ->here -<

Visitors playing with WOW Pod
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Inside the Pod
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The WoW Pod is an immersive architectural space that provides and anticipates all life needs of the World of Warcraft player. Outfitted with toilet throne, hydration system, and meals at the ready, the WoW Pod makes daily human function possible without ever stepping away from the game. In addition, these tasty meals are cooked via a cookset that connects a hotplate to the computer, allowing the player to let their World of Warcraft avatar know when the meal is ready to eat.

The AFK cookset within the Pod is designed for the hungry role playing gamer who can connect her food items, e.g. Spicy Wolf Dumplings, to her online cooking habits. By scanning in the food items, the video game physically adjusts a hot plate to cook the item for the correct amount of time. The virtual character then jubilantly announces the status of the meal to both the gamer and the other individuals playing online: “O la la my roasted raptor is about to be done!” “Better eat the ribs while they’re hot!” etc. When the food is ready, the system automatically puts the character in AFK (‘Away From Keyboard’) mode to provide the gamer a moment to eat. When the player resumes playing, he/she might just discover his/her character’s behavior is affected by the food consumed in real life — sluggish from overeating or alternately exuberant and energetic.

Here is a short movie-clip that shows what can happen to your avatar when you eat in the Pod!

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More photos on flickr!

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Children can replicate their toys!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

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This is a strong reason to be nostalgic of the past! According to Wikipedia, Vac-u-former was a toy made by Mattel in the 1960s. Based on the industrial process of vacuum forming, a square piece of plastic was clamped in a holder and heated over a metal plate. When the plastic was soft, the holder was swung to the other side, over a mold of the object to be formed. Then pressing a handle on the side of the unit created a vacuum, sucking the plastic down over the mold and shaping it to it. When the plastic cooled it solidified, making an impression of the item. Various molds came with the kit, but almost any small object could be used as a mold.

Because very hot surfaces were easily accessible to a child (or adult) playing with the toy, it probably could not be sold today …

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tags] design, children, toys, molding [/tags]

Imagine a story. Create a book!

Monday, January 12th, 2009

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Orit Zuckerman a good friend of mine from the Media Lab –we worked together on a few cool projects– now opened her company, Tikatok, that allows you (or your child) to create books based on her stories. You can also order the books made by the children in the community. Such a neat idea! Orit regularly organizes contests, so the company is now growing as a community of young writers. Tikatok also welcomes teachers, parents and libraries.

During winter break, Lauren showed me this beautiful video of this cute French girl, Capucine, telling the most creative story (no worries, it is translated in English). Imagine how such a child would do drawing, writing and telling her creations on a real book!

Enjoy watching this ultra cute video:

… you can also help the friends of Capucine in Mongolia design books on Orit’s site …

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tags] children, communication, design research, toy, storytelling, book, too-cute-to-be-true [/tags]

Art for the World of Warcraft

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

I used to play World of Warcraft, I like to have my digital body engaged in breaking down monsters. This can be translated in defining strategies to destroy unstoppable monsters! I reached level 70, raided a lot afterwards and then entirely stopped. In France, I used to play strategy games with 15 players in the same house, creating teams, ordering Pizza and getting tones of Soda. We started on Friday at the end of the afternoon and we stopped on Sunday night.

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These past months I have rarely played any game, but I cherish these addictive gaming moments and decided to design an architectural object that criticizes the process of massive multiplayer gaming, designing a refuge with a survival kit integrated as well as doing something with the laptop that continuously burned my legs while playing! Also reflecting on the intense things that are happening on world of warcraft, such as the multiboxing setup!

Recently, I’ve been awarded a grant by the Council for the Arts at MIT camit-logo.jpg. This grant is to help the design of the AFK cookset and the WOW Pod, projects that will be exhibited from April 2009 until September 2009 at the MIT Museum. I am making these two pieces in collaboration with artist duo Shada/Jahn, with who I always wanted to work with; I recently blogged about one of their work, and presented on this blog many projects by Marisa.
The Pod resembles a mobile structure, however it works as a parasite. Connected to the home, it depends on it, it is stuck to it and uses it for survival. A nice metaphor for the teenager who is oblivious to his addiction and the effect it has on his family house! The AFK cookset benefits from a very annoying feature from the old MacBook Pro, that literally burns your laps while playing. The AFK cookset cooks your diner while raiding, it automatically alerts you and the raiders that you are AFK because your “eggs are ready”!

The AFK cookset
World of Warcraft is a massive online multi-player game that attracts millions of players including a large proportion of teenagers and children as young as 10 years old. A typical scenario for teenagers addicted to the game is to settle down in front of the monitor on Friday night and collapse on Sunday night. Sleep deprivation as well as high saturated fat diet is the pride of these players who barely do not take any break, and when they do they sign the typical “AFK” (“Away from Keyboard”) that pops up of top of their avatar. The average AFK is of two minutes, time to run to the fridge, to open a bag of potato chips, to replenish the glass of milk, or go to the bathroom. We are proposing a design noir aiming at representing the ideal setup for the player to spend more quality time online.

Can you imagine the toll that this extreme behaviour takes on the developing body, not to mention the amount of energy waste produced during such a 48-hour non-stop game? The addiction to World of Warcraft, you see, raises questions about the ecological and physio-morphological consequences of the computer game industry – but WOW players would refuse at any cost to reduce their addiction. Another solution must be considered…

The AFK Cookset harvests the heat produced from an ordinary laptop computer to cook meals. Before beginning a WOW session, the player places a shallow metal box beneath his/her laptop. The player pulls out a metal drawer that contains a tray with subdivisions. In one section, the player implaces powdered milk, powdered eggs, a dash of salt and pepper plus seasoning to taste. This protein-rich herb omelette will be cooked first because of the egg whites’ naturally low cooking temperature. In a second subdivision, the player implaces powdered tomato, water, and basil – a perfect second course tomato bisque to provide Vitamin C-rich soup to ward off scurvy. In the final section, the player implaces a frozen pizza. This pizza will be fully heated about the time the player (warrior) is ready for a third meal.

When each respective recipe is ready, the AFK Cookset WOW Plug-in automatically notifies the player that his/her meal is ready. A graphic, announcing, “Bob’s eggs are ready” is immediately visible to the other players on the “Raid Window.”

A first sketch!
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The WOW pod
The WOW Pod is an immersive architectural solution for the advanced WOW player that provides and anticipates all life needs. Before entering the WOW Pod for a weekend-full of adventures, the player first stocks the pod: he/she refills the water bag that skins the architectural exterior and pipes liquids directly into the pod via a plastic tube that the player places adjacent his/her mouth. The WOW Pod holds and dispenses up to 3 cannisters of Pringles chips within easy reach of the desktop. The AFK Cookset and backup foodtrays (see description above) provides nutrients to nourish the hungry warrior. Inside, an array of monitors and computers allows the hard-core player to simultaneously control not one – but a whole assembly of players – with ergonomic ease. For instance, normally “multi-box systems” ask the player to use key commands and different mice to switch between players (warrior, magi, etc.). Involving all the latest features of an integrative computing sytem, WOW Pod allows the player to control the magi with his/her elbows, the dwarves with his/her feet pedals, the warrior with his/her hands. The player also has the control to re-program and re-designate the team of warriors according to his/her ergonomic preference.

The exterior of the WOW Pod is a customizable skin that allows the player to publicly demonstrate his/her guild association. Normally, guild affiliations are shown through “tabards”, or wearable insignias. WOW Pod now allows the player to demonstrate to those not online the richness of his/her online identity.

A first sketch
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So far we have a lot of fun! I will update soon as we progress in the building of the two pieces. More soon ….

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tags] art, game, MediaLab, MIT, World of warcraft, video game, laptop, pod [/tags]

A toy-cyborg for children!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

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“Stelarc Ken” by Zoe Khamsin.
Now children can play with cyborg toys!

Stelarc is a poet and scientist of contemporary times and his body, that he himself defined as ‘obsolete’, and others has defined as ‘posthuman’, is the end of the religious principle of body’s inviolability. Moreover he made a mutual correspondence between his body and his art, and this led to his iconic definition. The artist creation - ‘Stelarc Ken’ - builds upon the idea of iconic individuals being replicated in toy form.