Archive for May, 2008

Physical Heart in a Virtual Body

Friday, May 30th, 2008

My friend Amit Zoran, from the Ambient Intelligence group at MIT Media Lab, continued his work on structural innovation, re-designing acoustic musical instrument according to the abilities and characteristics of rapid prototype materials. Together with Pattie Maes and Marco Coppiardi, they created a new generation of physical instruments by tailoring wooden hearts. The wooden pieces are inserted in body of the guitar to give the instrument the desired sound identity.

Watch the video of the resonator ->here<-

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Amit changing the physical heart of his guitar

can traditional values be embedded into a digital object? in this project we implement a special guitar that combines physical acoustic properties with virtual capabilities. The acoustical values will be embodied by a wooden heart - a unique, replaceable piece of wood that will give the guitar a unique acoustic sound. The acoustic signal created by this wooden heart will be digitally processed in a virtual sound box in order to create flexible sound design.

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His research will be presented at Nime 2008 this summer.
His paper is ->here<-
His presentation is ->here<-

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tags]art, consumer, DIY, HCI, instrument, interaction design, MediaLab, music, product design, technology, MIT, MIT Media Lab, Amit Zoran[/tags]

Imprint digital functions onto common everyday physical objects

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Amphibian allows users to easily imprint digital functions onto common everyday physical objects. Amphibian is a low cost, low infrastructure system that enables users to choose their own physical objects and imprint onto them almost any standard interface functions that take place on a GUI desktop. The goal of Amphibian is to create a system that the common user can implement and operate so that we may learn more about the digital-physical object relationships people will form.

So basically, you take an object, put it on the amphibian scale, and it labels it automatically for you. You can associate data to that object through the Amphibian user interface. Anytime you want to retrieve the data associated with that object, you just put it back on the scale. As for applications, you can play music from your itunes library with forks and spoons, you can write am email by composing with color pens, e.g. a red pen on the Amphibian scale and you say “I miss you!”. A very unique take on labeling objects!

You can download the software for free ->here<- with all the instructions on how to DIY! Enjoy!

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tag]consumer, DIY, HCI, interaction design, MediaLab, technology[/tag]

Electro plushy

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

ElectroPlushies are a set of anthropomorphic plush electronics components consisting of a switch, battery, resistor, LED, and buzzer. Each component has a personality reflecting their functionality. Each component contains the actual electronics component and can be connected with magnetic snaps at the ends of flexible arm leads. Definitely a toy of the year idea!

Watch the video of the project presentation ->here<-

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tag]consumer, DIY, HCI, interaction design, MIT, technology, hardware, electronics, toy[/tag]

The iRing

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

The iRing, designed by Victor Soto, is the concept of a Ring that controls the Playback functionality of your iPod/iPhone device and this … wirelessly!

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tag]consumer, HCI, interaction design, ring, technology[/tag]

Independent media via telephone

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Dialup Radio is a tool that distributes human rights and independent media via telephone. Brief radio-style audio files are uploaded and managed via the Dialup Radio website. These files are immediately available to callers who phone the project phone number. The software automatically generates interactive voice response (IVR) menus that enable callers to navigate audio content using their telephone keypads. Dialup radio works with any telephone, and can be adopted for a variety of activist campaigns.

Dialup Radio has been designed specifically to meet the needs of human rights activists in the developing world. The system can be installed locally or may be operated across national borders. Particular attention has been paid to system security and to minimizing costs of operation.

You can play with the demo ->here<-

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

[tag]consumer, interaction design, MediaLab, MIT, technology[/tag]

A Health-Obsessed Robot for Health Obsessives

Monday, May 19th, 2008

After leaving us for London, Daisy Ginsberg now designs health obsessed robots at RCA! Daisy uses her Bio Spy concept to express that we develop irrational relationships with machines, mourning dead appliances or resisting unfamiliar replacements. How will we behave when robots are trusted with the most intimate moments of our personal lives? Will the master/slave relationship survive? Is symbiosis with a robot possible? And what are the consequences of offering our most personal data for surveillance? Her questions remind me of my post on jealous computers and the 80’s electric dreams movie, with a special RCA’s touch!

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For the hypochondriac, the BioSpy offers reassuring constant health surveillance, removing the nagging fear of illness. But would such a health aid induce unhealthy behaviour? The user and robot develop obsessive mutual dependence: the user only feels healthy when accompanied by the robot, sharing her most intimate information with it. Meanwhile, recording, storing and analyzing every physical change 24/7, the robot is dependent on its user’s health for its existence.

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After a period of domestic harmony, the robot captures data that indicates serious illness. ‘Fearful’, it mirrors its user’s own neurosis. It logically computes that if it records any more data, it might ultimately result in unplugging. The robot’s erratic behaviour confuses the owner – is it behaving autonomously or malfunctioning? Is the user really ill or is it imagined?

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

The Human Space Invaders

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Who does not remember Space Invaders, one of the very first video-games? With your spaceship, your task was to defend the Earth against squadrons of invaders coming from outer space… Well the Human Space Invaders is the second video performance of the Game Over project, directed by Guillaume Reymond.

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For the project 67 people sat for almost 4 hours in the theatre of the Espace Nuithonie. After they received colour t-shirts, they simulated the pixels of the game. For each of the 390 pictures, these human pixels moved or not, from one seat to another, following the specific rules they had been given according to their role (canon, spaceship, missile, bunker,…). All photographs were then put together into a short animation movie.

Check also the Tetris, Pole Position and Human Pong!

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Living in a robot

Friday, May 16th, 2008

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Victor Vetterlein
’s Reboot is a self-sufficient and eco-friendly house. The building is constructed with a space frame, and the outer skin increases structural strength through double curvature. The skin system consists of a vapor barrier, dense foam insulation, and metal sheathing where the exterior face is glazed in solar cell paint. The surface of the building serves as a solar energy collector.

House

Supplemental electricity is provided by on-site wind turbines and energy is stored in batteries on Deck 1. Wind power is also used to pressurize a large canister to operate the hydraulic elevator and the water treatment system. The smooth outer skin of the building acts as a foil against adverse weather conditions, and the rooftop serves as a water collection surface where rainwater runs into a drain located above the resin laminated glass windows. The water is stored in holding tanks positioned below the Main Deck and managed by an in-house water treatment system on Deck 2. Natural ventilation is provided by operable vents located at the top and the bottom of the structure. Lastly, the building’s mechanical systems are stacked on two floors above the Ground level eliminating the need for massive ground penetrations and a large site footprint.

See also his robotic furniture design!

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

A stackable electric city vehicle

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

I had previously posted on cars that fly, swim or shrink. I mainly referred to the retractable scooter that Bill Mitchell showed us at the Media Lab Open House’08. It is an impressive piece of gear that I cannot wait to get!

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However the city car is pretty neat as well …
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The City Car is designed by the smart cities group at MIT Media lab directed by Prof. Mitchell. The project is created by Ryan Chin, Wayne Higgins, Mitchell Joachim, Will Lark, Raul-David “Retro” Poblano, Peter Schmitt, Andres Sevtsuk and Franco Vairani at MIT.

The City Car is the coolest idea: a stackable electric city vehicle for use in dense urban areas! Vehicle Stacks will be placed throughout the city to create an urban transportation network that takes advantage of existing infrastructure such as subway and bus lines. By placing stacks in urban spaces and key points of convergence, the vehicle allows the citizens the flexibility to combine mass transit effectively with individualized mobility. The stack receives incoming vehicles and electrically charges them. Similar to luggage carts at the airport, users simply take the first fully charged vehicle at the front of the stack. The City car is NOT a replacement for personal vehicles, taxis, buses, or trucks; it is a NEW vehicle type that promotes a socially responsible and more effective means of urban mobility!

I looked at the process and strategy used by Will Lark, one of the researcher working on this project. He studies and constructs physical representations of architectural details of varying sizes and materials, then apply shape grammar rules for new geometry generation. His strategy is to use the software CATIA, a parametric modeling CAD program, used to design the complex geometry. The shapes are then fabricated through various media: 3D rapid prototyping, 2D rapid prototyping with 3D assembly, and full manual construction. Comparisons are then made between the automated and manual construction.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

All you can eat!

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

… and you can eat even more!

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In the spirit of eating your keyboard, your pencils, eating candies in the form of pills, drinking latte with laser printed patterns, up to making coded silverware … the field of food products is quite large by now!

I recently found a tie that is made of breakfast cereals by Bryony Birkbeck. The artist proposes a series of eatable ties exploring the redundancy of the tie in modern society by giving the garment a new set of functions!

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure