Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My review on a selection of personal past research

The following are three examples of my work with features that can be re-appropriated to found new research directions pertaining to my future research question.

Passing Glances
Imagined for installation in an urban, public space (bus stop, train station, etc.), PASSING GLANCES invites people to use SMS messaging on their cell phones to post images or video to a public display board. Display boards in different cities would be connected to one another. The system intelligently draws in other imagery to support the content of what users posted to the board. The goal was to have individuals describe their physical space in a substantial way, without the limitations of distance.

Through the supportive research on this application, I found that users were initially using SMS to experiment with the system, but then quickly preferred to make the unknown crowd react through anonymous posting to co-located users. On hindsight, this project had interesting implications for how digital technologies can mediate between how we assert ourselves privately and publicly within the physical space.

Connected to a server, each user’s cell phone could browse inside of their personal computer to display videos, pictures, and sound files. This was done privately and anonymously. The SMS media (picture, text, audio, etc.) posted to the display board could only be retrieved by specific users at a reasonable distance. Because these messages are unpredictable, they create an atmosphere of surprise and excitement.

People were motivated to explore the relationship of private and public roles through the act of anonymous posting in the physical space. However, I would like to expand the system to explore and model the public desire for “subversive” acts, their overlap with the desire to exchange new media and ideas, and how digital technologies can maximally support how these desires translate into the redesign of the physical space.

I designed this project in collaboration with Sven Anderson, Glorianna Davenport, Linda Doyle and Katherine Moriwaki when I was a researcher at Media Lab Europe. The origin of this work was to bring my previous project Textable Movie into a urban sms interactive display.

Web site
More info about Passing Glances

In the MOVING PICTURES project, I have sought to develop interfaces where either digital data can be overlaid onto physical objects in a display space or physical objects can act as handles into the digital space.

MOVING PICTURES offers children the opportunity to gather imagery from their environment in the form of short video clips captured on video camera platforms that we modified for the application. I wanted to provide a transparent experience for the user, in which cumbersome process of capturing and editing becomes fluid in the improvisation of a story is accessible as a way to create a final movie.

For editing, MOVING PICTURES includes a multi-user workstation consisting a set of two cameras, tokens, screen and an interactive platform where users to create, explore, manipulate and share video content with others. Multiple device input to the workstation supports group interaction and collaborative creation.

MOVING PICTURES suffers from several limitations related to the problem of how to best digitally support meaningful interactions in the physical space.

  • First the scalability of such system at a networked and international level is flawed. I need to redesign the software technology to centralize the linked data and distribute the nodes of contained data in an organized fashion. To have the technology better assist how an individual moves about the physical space while capturing content, their platform needs to be mediated by a centralized software architecture.

  • Second, system centralization implies new communication technology to mediate the video platforms and allow them to communicate with one another. The RFID technology in the wireless cameras could be redesigned into a pattern based technology using the video camera of any device.

  • Lastly, I would like to escape the hardware limitations of commercial video cameras. Users could use any phone, any camera or text based device to exchange material. The system should be designed to generalize despite different input modalities. All of these modifications shift the emphasis of the system from a simple, transparent, video platform, and into an architecture for supporting content generation that reflects the physical environment of the user through multiple information platforms.

  • I designed this project in collaboration with Diana Africano, Glorianna Davenport and Oskar Fjellstrom when I was a researcher at Media Lab Europe. The origin of this work was to bring my previous project Textable Movie into a tangible video editing platfofrm for children.
    More info on Moving Pictures

    TERRARIA was a system for visitors of a three-month exhibition in Dublin to author the content of the exhibition space by creating their own movies.

    I have designed a technology that enabled visitors to experience movie making using popular devices, e.g. a joystick to control the movie making process.

    I also re-thought real time video capturing and editing for the museum exhibition space by combining the traditionally separate capturing and editing processes. One can participate in the physical space through capturing video and export instantly to the digital space for the modification of the content they create.

    Finally, that content is projected within the museum, extending into the physical environment. Finally, the simplicity of use, and immediacy of response aims to engage visitors in movie creation. Video capture, editing and publication of the final video is optimized.

    With this interface I have attempted to expand the level of interaction for individuals in the physical museum space. Unlike the typical museum, spectators can transform and contribute to the physical exhibition space.

    Research on TERRARIA was primarily driven to optimize the video capturing and production process for the unique demands of the museum visitor and museum environment. The component of this work that is most exciting to me is the user capturing the physical space and immediately having the opportunity to re-project into that space with modifications of the video.

    If possible, I would like this process to be scaled across spaces, with distributed interfaces, and with computational models in place to describe how the users navigate the data representation and reproduction. Without the consistency of the museum I will need to rethink the display to visualize the content publicly. Investigating appropriateness of display and visualization create a critical component of all of this work.

    I designed this project in collaboration with Andrew Clancy, Michael John Gorman and Brendan Tangney when I was a researcher at Trinity College University in Dublin. Michael John Gorman was curating an exhibition on robots and offered me to design a platform for children to create and share their animations using robots.
    More info on Terraria

    By Cati in personal research

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