Monday, April 30, 2007

ReadyMade: How to Make (Almost) Everything

Beautifully designed ReadyMade book by Shoshana Berger and Grace Hawthorne.

Written by the cofounders of ReadyMade magazine, this is a book of all original material that revolves around the reuse of six building materials—paper, plastic, wood, metal, glass and fabric. This hybrid of how­to, editorial and historical content yielded a design that is simultaneously smart and fun, structured yet chaotic, sophisticated yet accessible.
In the spirit of ReadyMade’s reuse ethos, the book itself is a reusable object, with the spine serving as a ruler—inches on the front cover, centimeters on the back. Since the book’s content swings wildly from do­it­yourself projects and scientific diagrams to lifestyle articles, historical timelines and random sidebar nuggets of information, we deliberately pushed ourselves out of the usual structural comfort zones of contemporary book design—limited typeface use, repetitive grid structure, white space—to see how much variety the piece could sustain and still be coherent. - Aiga

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tilt and feel

Shoogle, created by John Williamson, Roderick Murray-Smith, Stephen Hughes at the University of Glasgow, UK, is an interface for sensing data within a mobile device.

It is based around active exploration: devices are shaken, revealing the contents rattling around “inside”. Vibrotactile display and realistic impact sonification create a compelling system. Inertial sensing is used for completely eyes-free, single-handed interaction that is entirely natural.

Download the Shoogle's paper for Chi 2007
Video of Shoogle

Stephen Hughes was previously a researcher in the Palpable Machines research group with Sile O'Modhrain at Media Lab Europe. The group published key papers on vibrotactile display and mobile multi-modal interfaces.

MESH an iPaq running a simple tilt-driven maze game by the Palpable Machines group

Tangible Programming in the Classroom

Tern: Wooden blocks shaped like jigsaw puzzle pieces

Created by Michael Horn and Robert J.K. Jacob at Tufts University, Tern is a tangible programming language for middle school and late elementary school students. Children connect the tailored wooden blocks to form physical computer programs, which may include action commands, loops, branches, and subroutines.

Download Tern's paper for Chi'07


Prior to designing Tern, the authors created Quetzal (pronounced ket-sal), a "tangible programming language designed for children and novice programmers to control LEGO MINDSTORMS robots. It consists of over one hundred interlocking tiles representing flow-of-control structures, actions, and data. Programmers arrange and connect these tiles to define algorithms which can include loops, branches, and concurrent execution."

Also Oren Zuckerman from the MIT Media Lab created Systems Thinking Blocks for children to model and simulate dynamic systems.

Flow Blocks for children "to create 3D structures in space, that look like common structures in life"

SuiPo: the interactive poster

The interactive Poster “SuiPo” by Fuminori Tsunoda, Takayuki Matsumoto, Takeshi Nakagawa, Mariko Utsunomiya, East Japan Railway uses a combination of IC card ticket Suica and Internet accessible mobile phone where customers can get e-mail information by touching their IC card ticket on the reader located near the poster.

More on SuiPo

Japanese books

Cute Japanese books I found on!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another book

Books I bought today ...

Sagmeister: Made You Look by Peter Hall, Booth-Clibborn publisher.

Envisioning information by Edward Tufte

Curious Boym: Design Works The discreet charm of the ordinary by Constantin Boym, Peter Hall, Steven Skov Holt

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Refreshing ads

Nice for the summer! Via frederik samuel

In the Ibirapuera Park, there were vaporizers placed to refresh visitors. On the sides of these vaporizers, there is a place designed to propagate publicity. They used visuals of people coughing and sneezing with the message that “the flu is in the air”. Agency: QG, Brazil; Copywriter: Edu Marques; Art Director: Luis Tauffer

The Apple iRack

More jokes for a sunny Sunday ... the Apple iRack!

When technoloy tries the impossible

Turn off your cell phone, GSM system tracks mobile phone via the GPS-TRACK satellite network! Thanks Josh for the link!
Online software (beta)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Interact 2007

Prototypes of Moving Pictures

Yessss! The full paper written for Interact 2007 with Dr Hiroshi Ishii is accepted! It shows how Textable Movie designed for facilitating video production has informed Moving Pictures. It presents a mechanism to seamlessly interface the various parts in video production and present our observations. The conference topic is socially-responsible interaction. So see you in Rio de Janeiro in September!

Abstract: The paper presents a novel approach to collecting, editing and performing visual and sound clips in real time. The cumbersome process of capturing and editing becomes fluid in the improvisation of a story, and accessible as a way to create a final movie. It is shown how a graphical interface created for video production informs the design of a tangible environment that provides a spontaneous and collaborative approach to video creation, selection and sequencing. Iterative design process, participatory design sessions and workshop observations with 10-12 year old users from Sweden and Ireland are discussed. The limitations of interfacing video capture, editing and publication in a self-contained platform are addressed.

Download the 14 pages paper

Thank you all of you for your feedback!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flying video-taking pet?

Would you like a flying video-taking pet that follows you around? Here is a fun visionary video on the future of mobile technology for teenagers by Microsoft found on RoomWare

Video: Career in Computer Science - MS Research

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The international fashion machines company, ifmachines, created by Dr Margaret Orth, has over 10 years experience in putting technology on the body. As a student at the MIT Media Laboratory in 2000, Maggie invented the Music Shapers, squeezable instruments, which allow players to mold, transform, and explore musical material and compositions.

Music Shappers

IFM provides private research and development in e-textiles to industry and the military. Our facilities include electronics test and measurement equipment and textile equipment, including looms and embroidery machines. We have over 10 years experience prototyping and developing a variety of conductive fabrics for a variety of application

The company produces Pompom that one can squeeze to turn a light on and off, dimmer switches and fuzzy sensor developer kit designed for Toy Developers and Fashion Developers. The kit includes 1 PomPom, 1 Tufted Sensor, 1 Sensing Circuit that lights LED and buzzes.

fuzzy sensor developer kit

Thinking about blogs

Since I met Régine Debatty and Nicolas Nova in Switzerland in June 2005, I am a blog addict. I love this form of communication, research tool, inspirational and everyday snack. I am convinced of the polarity of the blog community, because at first one can discover blogs based on interests and also networking, but it is hard to know what's out there from another side of the spectrum. I wish some machine learning algorithm could propose a set of blogs that corresponds to what I could never find based on my network and related to my interests. I love the unrelated-related. Too much polarization kills inspiration.

So it is very nice to read: "Architectradure: can you be in love with a blog? I don’t know, but Cati Vaucelle’s blog is a fascinating rollcall of invention and digital innovation that springs from her research at MIT Media Lab, and life in general" [link] and to receive a thinking Blog Award from kuipercliff, a blog that I follow regularly. I try to always blog for my personal PhD research, on what inspires me, and to post even unfinished work for critics and comments. I am happy that this process is useful for others.

In response to the thinking blog nomination, I would like to mention blogs that make me think a lot. To respect the spirit of this initiative, I will avoid mentioning blogs that are already well known or already nominated. I also picked different blog themes on purpose. I read lots of blogs in French that I find awesome, but hard to translate efficiently in English.

♥ One of my favorite French blog is the one of Etienne Mineur. Completely inspirational graphically, there is a thread of personal tastes that I enjoy. I find always useful information in the world of graphic and interactive design. His blog is already very popular in France, so maybe i am breaking a bit the spirit of the initiative, but it is worth expanding the frontiers of this blog to an international community.
♥ Olivier Vaubourg started Teratoblog, a blog on sociology and politics. He posts summary and analysis of books, a must read. He created another blog for which he shares his many years of research on the relationship between generations. The two blogs are written in French, but offer English and German translations.
♥ Yasmine Abbas has an exquisite blog on nomadic culture. She explores everything from the pure nomad, the neo-nomad, and the anti-nomad.
♥ Another blog I constantly look at is idealist for its refreshing and fun picks in product design, findings that you never discover on any other blogs. Idealist also created design corner, a feed agregator for design that I find very useful.
♥ Finally I love the aesthetic choices of multimedia lab, a blog on numerical and visual art

Yeah guys and gal! You all won a thinking blog award! Just grab one of these two Thinking Blogger award icon and put it within your blog. I cannot wait to hear your recommendations!

Architectradure also got nominated by Turbulence! I wander if I can chose another 5 blogs I love, but isn't that obvious all the blogs that make me think?!

Writer Response Theory tagged us for the Thinking Blogger Award. The Thinking Blogger Award was introduced by Ilker Yoldas as a tag meme with meaning. His meme asks that you tag’5 Blogs That Make Me Think. Here are mine:

architectradure cati vaucelle
crtiical spatial practice nicholas senn
ideant ulises mejias
network research garrett lynch
we make money not art by Régine Debatty, Sascha Pohflepp and Shin’ichi Konomi

Via Jo-Anne Green at Networked-Performance

Thank you!

A Robotic Companion

There currently exists a growing body of research indicating the diverse benefits that companion animals offer people. Studies have shown that animals are capable of lowering stress, reducing heart and respiratory rate, showing positive changes in hormonal levels, mood elevation, and increased social facilitation. Given these health and social benefits, animal assisted therapy is commonly used to benefit hospitalized children, the elderly, and other people in need. Unfortunately these animals are not always available to patients due to allergies, risk of disease, restricted visiting schedules, or other reasons.
To provide health and social benefits when therapy animals are not available, robot-assisted therapy applications have recently attracted the attention of robotics researchers.

The Huggable is a new kind of robotic pet surrogate for pet therapy applications in children's hospitals and nursing homes where pets are not always available. Much research has explored the benefits of pets in lowering stress and elevating positive mood. We are designing a robotic teddy bear with full-body sensate skin and smooth, quiet voice coil actuators that is able to relate to people through touch. The Huggable features a series of temperature, electric field, and force sensors which it uses to sense the interactions that people have with it. This information is then processed for its affective content, such as, for example, whether the Huggable is being petted, tickled, or patted; the bear then responds appropriately. We recently demoed the Huggable at SIGGRAPH 2006 in Boston, and it was a recent winner of the 2006 Robots at Play Award. It is funded in part by a Microsoft iCampus student grant.

Project from the MIT Media Lab by Cynthia Breazeal, Walter Dan Stiehl, Jeff Lieberman, Matt Berlin, Jesse Gray, Kuk-Hyun Han (Samsung), Levi Lalla, Allan Maymin, Jonathan Salinas, Daniel Fuentes, Robert Toscano, Cheng Hau Tong, Aseem Kishore, Louis Basel and Roshni Cooper

Web site

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Can a lamp blush?


Can a lamp blush because of your phone conversations? Apparently yes and this by being responsive to your emotions. Pitch detection during phone conversations triggers a red halo around the lamp shade.

I love objects with moods, with apparent intelligence and most especially responding emotionally. They seem to always exemplify our anthropomorphosis relationship to products. Now that objects can pretend being responsive with a technology seamlessly integrated, this relationship between people and tech-products can completely be taken advantage of.

Blush is an example I think of this nature, made by Nadine Jarvis + Jayne Potter.

The light blushes in response to the emotional pitch of a mobile phone conversation. It is activated by the EMF emitted from a mobile phone. It continues blushing for 5 minutes after the call has ended, prolonging the memory of the otherwise transient conversation.

Mary Farbood, harpsichordist

Morwaread Farbood. Photography by Susan Wilson.

Presenting a harpsichord/piano sculpture in my previous post, I thought it would be nice to attend an authentic harpsichord concert. My friend Mary Farbood is performing in Cambridge and in New York this April.

Morwaread Farbood, American harpsichordist of Iranian and Japanese descent, is quickly becoming recognized as one of the rising young stars in the harpsichord world. She was selected for the Pro Musicis International Award in 2006 and won First Prize at the Prague International Harpsichord Competition the previous year.

An excerpt of her playing J. S. Bach, French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816 - Allemande

An excerpt of her playing J. S. Bach, French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816 - Courante

An excerpt of her playing Louis Marchand, Suite in D minor, Pièces de clavecin

An excerpt of her playing Domenico Scarlatti, Sonata in D Major, K. 119

The audio exerpts are unedited and from a live performance at the MIT Chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recorded April 12, 2006. Engineer: Mike Fabio.

When and where?
Saturday, April 21st, 2007 at 8:00 PM - Pickman Concert Hall, Longy School of Music, Cambridge

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 at 8:00 PM - Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Pièces de Clavecin from Suite in D minor
Les Tendres Plaintes
Les Niais de Sologne
Les Soupirs
Les Cyclopes

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Sonata in E minor, Hob.XVI/34
Vivace molto

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903

Hubert Ho (1976 - )
Manual Labor (World and New York premieres)

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (1939 - )
Fantasy for Harpsichord

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Sonata K. 502 in C Major
Sonata K. 1 in D Minor
Sonata K. 119 in D Major
Sonata K. 455 in G Major

Harpsichord by Basserode

Partitions 2000, Harpsichords in oak, ebony, bone realized with the organ-maker Pascal Gourrat, 109,5 x 150 x 18,2 cm 9 photographs 13x18 cm each

When Marcel Proust writes about having tea and cookies, he is inspired by having the experience himself, which brings back memories to his mind. With my past work Textable Movie, I wanted to recreate this same phenomenon, by presenting instantly to the users, videos from their own footage. By immersion into their own memories, they could become engaged into telling rich, and passionate stories, based on past experience.

Russian poet Joseph Brodsky - "any new aesthetic reality helps man to specify his own ethical reality .../... an aesthetic choice is invariably individual, aesthetic suffering is invariably personal suffering. Any new aesthetic reality turns the person it has affected into an even more private person, and this private character, which at times takes on the form of literary or other taste, may per se, be, if not a guarantee, then at least a form of protection against enslavement"

I recently discovered partitions by Jérome Basserode. This object is very disconcerting by being a piano with only 5 white and 4 black keys, piano that is not large but thin and long. Made structurally out of oak, ebony for the keys and bone for the white keys, built based on the harpsichord technique, it creates very unusual sounds. The partition is a picture of a forest that the player can choose to play. The spectator becomes musician by following memories driven by the image.

The installation Partitions, shown in the 6th chapter of the exhibition comprises two objects that formally resemble a fragment of a grand piano but use the musical technique of a harpsichord. Each harpsichord has a keyboard that counts 9 keys ( 5 white, 4 black, in alternation). The unusual sound of these keys determines the initial playing situation. Two series of 9 photographs act as partitions, representing various motifs from the natural and urban environment. The spectator can use the motif of his choice from the photographs as a partition, sit it on the intended stand and begin playing. The visually activated memory can thus express itself musically through the spectator’s playing the harpsichord. Basserode chose to use the sculptural and architectural elements at his disposal to present the photographs. He installed them so that their placement in relation to the harpsichords would produce a certain tension. The dynamism conferred upon the exhibition space by the position of the objects presented and the harpsichords finds an extension and resonance in Kretzschmar’s music and Basserode’s nomadism. Juliane Wellerdiek

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Laurent Perbos

Aire 2005, Gazon synthétique, filet de tennis. Dimensions réglementaires d'un court de tennis soit 23,774 x 10,973 m
Vues d'exposition à l'Université de Provence, Parvis du Centre des Lettres et Sciences Humaines

A French artist that I like for his joyful but shifted critic of social activities and entertainment. His area of predilection is sport. He reappropriates objects and their use and at the end we are confused on how we can make use of them. Thank you Eness for the link.

More on Laurent Perbos

Ballon2 1999 - Ballon de football en cuir, dimensions réglementaires au carré - Photographie Marcell Esterhazy

Friday, April 13, 2007

Joshua Bell toujours plus fort!

Tristan sent me the link to this awesome article. Prodige Joshua Bell plays in the subway, no one notices. I think this is so daring of Joshua Bell to play incognito facing the unresponse of the public. It tells a lot about our everyday filter!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A tiny robot walked in my office today ...


EMRos is this family of so-called World’s smallest autonomous self-propelled micro robots. Each creature is this tiny robot that can record and play back motions being guided by a flashlight.

Ricordo is 1 cm3 in volume and equipped with a recording and playback function. Rubie on the other end is equipped with capricious wandering function. Both were created by Epson in 1995, but I finally got to play with one today, and it is adorable! I found a web site that shows beautiful pictures of the robots as well as the nice packaging that hosts them!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pour un art tres pauvre

Pour un art très pauvre that I made with vacuum formed plastic bags and thread.

I am a ghost specialist. Ghosts in my head, in my memory, in my life. I love their evanescence, their vagueness. They carefully hide their details.

A tour at the ICA

The ICA in Boston is full of surprises with for instance a welcoming Divine Gas by Chiho Aoshima, the Hanging Fire of Cornelia Parker and Josiah McElheny's mirrors reflected infinitely ...

Language based sculpture

Key and Cue, No. 288 by Roni Horn, 1994, Solid aluminum and black plastic, 51 x 2 x 2 inches
Photo by Oren Slor, Courtesy Max Protetch Gallery, New York

My relationship to my work is extremely verbal, extremely language-based. I am probably more language-based than I am visual, and I move through language to arrive at the visual. So I’ve always questioned whether I am really a visual artist. You get into this situation where your ‘identity’ takes over your actual being because you get stuck with whatever it is you resemble to other people—not who you are. They’re not necessarily the same thing. — Roni Horn

More about Roni Horn

Friday, April 06, 2007

Markus Hofer

Bildträger, Leinwand, vor Ort vorhandener Besen; ca. 100 x 200 cm; 2004

One of my favorite Markus Hofer's piece is Bildträger.
Markus' work is very fresh, an in between graffiti and installation. Obviously site specific, his work consists of redesigning elements of a space to make it an object altogether. His work is very inspirational for my current attempts in sculpture.

Blackbox Holz, Spachtelmasse, Kabel, Lack; 25 x 40 x 3 cm; 2004


Everlab's 1 hour circle by Eness

I recently had the pleasure to meet Nimrod Weis, co-founder of Eness.

I discovered his Pixile work, an interactive digital sculpture which transforms a series of static objects into an interactive illusion giving this powerful illusion of real-life objects spinning, changing and responding to each other.

I love Virsual, their digital rocking horse, a wireless, ride-on rocking horse equipped with its own motion sensor device. As riders saddle up a 3D game is activated and displayed on screen. I definitely can tell how much children would love this.

Their latest installation commissioned by Audi to exhibit at the New Audi TT launch in Sydney next week. So if you are in Sydney, check it out!

A series of four translucent screens, each representing a solid cross section of time and space, Three dimensional objects rapidly passing through. These sections deflect, ricochet and manipulate thousands of virtual particles contained in these cross sections. The high impact point of collision between space and matter create an endless amount of esthetical beautiful iconic formations. The gravity of the particles are effected by camera tracking, meaning that the particles direction and velocity change depending on the position of the viewer.

More on Eness' web site

Zen australia

the zen robot

The Zen Robot creates spirals in the sand, reaching perfection and zenness... Created by Eness.

Sock Monkeys

Sock Monkeys, Private Collection

I collect toys. I prefer the ones that tell a story. I love the sock monkeys, they are made from socks, stuffed socks and arranged to represent an animal. It is interesting how simple stuffing socks are at the end registered and how their interpretation changed over time.

Sock monkey toys, a tribute to U.S. thrift and inventiveness, became a part of American childhood in 1953, when the Nelson Knitting Co. registered its design for turning a pair of socks into a stuffed toy. As interpreted by generations of home sewers, the sock monkey is now seen as a form of folk art, its basic pattern transformed through costuming, stitching, and stuffing. This private collection was started in 1985 and now includes over 1,500 monkeys. Approximately 100 of these whimsical and unique stuffed toys are included in the exhibition.

Found at the institute of contemporary art, University of Pennsylvania

Illustration found on the art of popular craft