Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dice video

A Nikle Injuries by Fujiya & Miyagi

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mobile toys for children with PDD

Characteristics of mobile robotic toys for children with pervasive developmental disorders, 2003, Michaud, F. Duquette, A. Nadeau, I. IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics.

Abstract Pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) refers to a group of disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. Symptoms may include communication problems such as using and understanding language; difficulty relating to people, objects, and events; unusual play with toys and other objects; difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings, and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns. Autism is the most characteristic and best studied PDD. We are investigating the use of mobile robotic toys that can move in the environment and interact in various manners (vocal messages, music, visual cues, movement, etc.) with children with autism. The hypothesis is that mobile robots can serve as an appropriate pedagogical tool to help children with PDD develop social skills because they are more predictable and less intimidating. The objective is to see how such devices can be used to capture the child's attention and contribute to helping him or her develop social skills. This paper outlines the design considerations for such robots, and presents experimental protocols that are being developed to study the impacts of using these robots on the development of the child.

The paper reveals characteristics associated with children with autism and how a robotic toy should be designed considering these specifics. As a conclusion the authors state: "Engineers need to combine their expertise with scientists in the field of autism, in order to get interesting insights that will help guide the design of innovative new robots. The application describes in this paper is only one example of such rich source of multidisciplinary research. Our hope is that mobile robotic toys can become efficient therapeutic tools that will help children with autism develop early on the necessary skills they need to compensate for and cope with their disability."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Sanggil Kim, display, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art #3, 2007.

Exhibition FLASH CUBE, July 5 - September 30, 2007, at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, 747-18, Hanam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 140-893. Via E-flux

The exhibition Flash Cube will chart a series of such spatial research strategies implicating a diversity of artistic points of departure such as fluid inner space, open urban space and installative space. The various photographic strategies will be mutually confronted in a transformative way in the exhibition's methodology of mounting (floorplan) - underscored by Rem Koolhaas’ unique non-perspectivist display system of Leeum's exhibition space - so that both spatial reflection and spatial experience can occur in dynamic and invigorating ways.

Multisensorial video?

Caution: Objects in this mirror may be closer than they appear!

I work on getting closer and closer to the expression, and the content of the expression, through video, and this by interfacing capture, edition and projection. Sometimes, novels inspire you the most in what you do. I chose the following quote of Jean Baudrillard from his book America:

Nostalgia born of the immensity of the Texan hills and the sierras of New Mexico: gliding down the freeway, smash hits on the Chrysler stereo, heat wave. Snapshots aren't enough. We'd need the whole film of the trip in real time, including the unbearable heat and the music. We'd have to replay it all from end to end at home in a darkened room, rediscover the magic of the freeways and the distance and the ice-cold alcohol in the desert and the speed and live it all again on the video at home in real time, not simply for the pleasure of remembering but because the fascination of senseless repetition is already present in the abstraction of the journey. The unfolding of the desert is infinitely close to the timelessness of film... - Jean Baudrillard, America

A European MIT for 2008?

The European MIT known as the EIT (European Institute of Technology) with R&D should become operational in 2008, dixit the European parlement. It will be based on a principle of knowledge and innovation communities, relationships with companies and universities.

Article online (in French). Thank you Olivier for sending me the link! Another article in English

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hungry stuffed animals

The Hungries by Dana Gordon is a family of plush monsters with an impressive appetite for RFID. Each Hungry has a different personality expressed with its own unique voice. It listens to the secrets whispered to its ear. When its arm is pulled, it plays them back in its own voice. When they are fed to one another, their voices are mixed in a burp-like way.


I recently spent time with friends Jean-baptiste Labrune and Dana Gordon these past two days, and we had awesome research discussions about the future of HCI! Dana Gordon explained me her fascinating projects and I loved her Undercover blanket.
The Undercover contains 24 wireless speakers and provides a special physical sound experience. The Undercover allows you to enjoy the vibrations of the speakers on your body and provides a private mobile soundscape.

The blanket has an embedded array of small speakers that can receive a wireless audio signal via a Bluetooth connection. This audio signal can be beamed from any kind of audio device, such as mp3 player, television, computer, radio, etc. The volume controllers were designed in a way, which suits the blanket’s natural cuddling behaviour. The upper corners (A.K.A 'the blanket’s ears') control the volume - (pull the right one for higher volume and the left one for lower).

Bracelet for moods

An interesting, beautiful but difficult concept design idea, Sense by Patty Yuan, a wrist-based bluetooth device that senses your emotion by reading your heart rate, skin temperature.

Mapping emotion to biometric data is a difficult research question, especially when it supposedly presents itself as a nonverbal communication device. What is communicated here? What is the language? What is the feedback loop? Many devices from this category deal with the same complexity: how to map these data to a visual or haptic language.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cable carpet

Britta Böhne's Cable Carpet.

Why hide cable clutter when you can embrace it and make it an integral part of your environment? The cable's path is cut into the carpet, but there's also an insert that the cable snaps into to hold it in place. More after the jump. Britta has a placeholder website here.

Thank you Touching the city for the link! Also more info on Moco Loco

Science Fiction movies and HCI

Forbidden Planet (1956): the “thought analyzer” is a device inherited from the planets former inhabitants, displays a 3 dimensional image.

Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies by Michael Schmitz in CS Seminar “Instrumented Spaces” SS 2003 A. Butz, C. Endres, W. Wahlster.

I was recently talking about the influence of HCI over science fiction movies but also the reverse situation on how science fiction movies and books can inspire researchers in HCI. This paper, available online, proposes an analysis of several science fiction movie examples related to HCI.

Abstract: Science Fiction movies have been a source for speculation about the future of technology and human computer interaction. This paper presents a survey of different kinds of interaction designs in movies during the past decades and relates the techniques of the films to existing technologies and prototypes where possible. The interactions will be categorized with respect to their domain of real-life applications and also evaluated in regard to results of current research in human computer interaction.

Minority report (2002)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gestural interaction in museums

“A proposal for an upcoming Canadian Museum for Human Rights suggests a wide range of advanced interactive technologies, including “a gesture-responsive wall full of factual information that will work in a fashion SIMILAR TO NINTENDO WII technology,” according to a report in the Edmonton Journal. “With a simple swipe of the hand in the air, visitors will be able to turn virtual pages.” You won’t even have to remember what you saw: “Visitors will be given a ‘human rights key’ that will provide a digital recollection of their experiences that they can later take home.” The museum is scheduled to open in four years in Winnipeg.” Via roomware

Stock puppets

8 foot tall fiberglass mannequins act as puppets, each puppet movement is connected to a face animation of the appropriate finance minister on the VGA monitor head. Via Pasta and vinegar.

The G-7 Stock Puppets are an Internet-driven kinetic installation that tracks the movements of global stock markets with seven larger-than-life marionette puppets. Using a real-time data stream, a network of PC laptops, and a complex electro-mechanical control system, the installation reanimates the abstract machinations of global financial markets as an absurdist carnival puppet show.

Web site

Fabric suppliers

TreeFall design listed and commented on online fabric stores. A useful list for any craft designer! Via craft magazine

Monday, June 18, 2007

Part suppliers

Adam Kumpf from the Tangible Media Group at MIT created this very comprehensive list of part suppliers for getting electronic components! A useful guide for any tech-researcher!

Friday, June 15, 2007

You need a brand?

A nice set of slides about branding a logo, a product or a company created by Neutronllc.

More slides on

The company also published a book The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

A funny graphic with cross cultural meaning the nail that sticks up is one brave nail

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A breathing robot

Few weeks ago, I carried in my arms Omo, Kelly Dobson's new companion robot. A very therapeutic robot, it expands and matches your breathing. Made of rubber, shaped like an egg to be carried in your arms, it feels soft and alive.

Omo is an alternative relational object. While similar to "carebots" and companion robots, Omo draws on ongoing Machine Therapy work revealing the psychological, social, and political dynamics between people and machines. As a result, Omo's role is empathic and sometimes unexpected rather than normative. Omo breathes and senses the breathing of anyone interacting closely with it, matching—or seeking to lead—patterns of breathing. Omo does not always privilege soothing.

Materializing 3D

The company Dassault Systèmes envisions ways to materialize 3D, a research theme that has also been explored and implemented for quite a long time in the Tangible Media group. Dassault Systèmes made an inspiring TV commercial, probably in the same vein than SF.
One can always find inspiration in Philip K. Dick's books ... Now the hard part is to materialize these concepts into a working prototype. How can we physically manipulate objects that can morphed themselves in the desired physical form?

Video of the TV commercial, a bit too Adolf Loos' form follows function type of aesthetic, but definitly explains their concept.

Fashion digital

by Anthony Vaccarello

Transmitting power and data using the human body makes us seamless with the digital environment. It feels we are not invaded with digital data anymore, neither do we invade digital data, we are just seamlessly part of it, with it.

This particular piece of Anthony Vaccarello discovered on Style Bubble is for me a subtle left over of our cyborg mania, organic yet wired looking.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Invasion of new AIM buddies

I recently found 4 new AIM buddies: Prof Gilzot, sharthisdotcom, Spleak and WSJ. I started looking online for some info about these new buddies and I discovered that Prof Gilzot is an automatic tutor to help school students prepare for their S.A.T with practice questions. Type "Menu" or "More" will get you started!
sharthisdotcom is an aim version of share this
Spleak is a 21-year old virtual girl who can chat with you.
And your WSJ aim buddy is the Wall Street Journal!

Info online about these new AIM buddies and more info here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Framework: the four pleasures?

Designing Pleasurable Products by Patrick Jordan presents four pleasures to understand human experience (with products and services). In an interview for design and emotion he explains: "The Four Pleasures is a framework developed in the field of anthropology. In his book, The Pursuit of Pleasure, Lionel Tiger identifies four different ways in which humans can feel pleasure. These are: physiologically [the body and the senses], psychologically emotions and thoughts], sociologically [relationships], and ideologically [values]. I thought that if we applied the framework to understanding people and what they wanted from products, it could provide some useful insights and help guide design, marketing and branding decisions as well as business strategy."
His book aims to help designers structure their approach in understanding their users.

Playground for all ages

The company Lappset designed Smart Us, a technological playground to connect all age users. Even though it is a very interesting concept and I cannot wait to try the interactive playground, I could not determine how it can really connect users of all ages, especially ederly. Thank you Susanne Jacobson for introducing me to this innovative Finish company!

SmartUs is a product concept developed by Lappset that uses technology to link the playground and its users. SmartUs offers interactive games for all age groups. The users can create games and applications based on images, sounds and text that support learning on the playground. The SmartUs product concept can be made use of in learning through play, playing computer games physically and in different kinds of well-being applications for special groups.

Among the four games available, the conquistador is a game of conquest, which gets people moving. Conquistador is played over the whole SmartUs field and players compete to be the first player or team to gain a specified number of different territories within the field. Territorial conquest is achieved by getting to the iPosts message poles and showing your iTag ID at the pole’s identification point. "It is especially suitable for players who are agile and alert. On the field, each player tries to conquer his/her own part of the game's fantasy world, and helps his/her team towards a common goal. The game develops tactical ability and teamwork skills."

Players carry on the iTag with them. The iTag sensor, distributed to users of the SmartUs environment is a key-sized sensor, that can be carried as a wrist watch or at a key chain.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Modern bird houses

I could not resist, these bird houses are awesome. Birds deserve architecture too!

Design Commission’s The Modern Bird, an exhibition of designer birdhouses created by more than 20 of the top artists and design studios worldwide, will show how far contemporary visionaries have taken the traditional wooden birdhouse.
The structures—of laminated wood, plastic, clay, and even stainless steel—include several designed especially for this show. They range in size from a six-inch creation to a 2-foot birdhouse.
The eclectic mix includes Modern Birdhouses’ sleek architect-designed homes made with oil-finished teak, stainless steel screws, and sandblasted aluminum roofs. For a little whimsy, there’s even J. Schatz’s colorful ceramic birdhouses shaped like eggs. Seattle artists Erich Ginder and Toi Sennhauser are also contributing original pieces to the show.

Web site of the commission

Thursday, June 07, 2007

wireless power transfer

In last few years, our society experienced a silent, but quite dramatic, revolution in terms of the number of autonomous electronic devices (e.g. laptops, palm pilots, digatal cameras, household robots, etc.) that we use in our everyday lives. Currently, most of these devices are powered by batteries, which need to be recharged very often.

This fact motivated us to think whether there exist physical principles that could enable wireless powering of these and similar devices. Results of our research on the feasibility of using resonant objects, strongly coupled through the tails of their non-radiative modes, for mid-range (i.e. a few meters: e.g. within a room, or a factory pavillion) wireless power transfer applications seem to be quite encouraging.

Research by Marin Soljačić at MIT

A recent article mentions his work on "how to wirelessly illuminate an unplugged light bulb from seven feet away" which reminds me of the beautiful wireless lightbulb of Jeff Lieberman.

Interactive fabric patented

Conductive compositions have been developed for various purposes including facilitating electrostatic discharge and as a current transfer medium on printed circuit boards. Recently, conductive compositions have been used, instead of conventional wires, as part of an electrical system for conducting current from a power source to various current operated circuit components on a variety of objects such as wearing apparel, children's toys and books.

In 2001, a US patent is filled on interactive fabric articles that have conductive composition used as a portion of a switch in an electrical system.

A fabric article including a design arranged on the outer surface of such fabric article and having conductive composition arranged in registration with the design and with a printed circuit pattern is disclosed. The conductive composition effectively forms part of the electrical system of the interactive fabric article.

Full text of the patent

Telematic dress

The telematic dress project began at Nottingham-Trent University's DAP lab as an exploration into the development of performative fashion and the sharing these garments across distance. The Arizona State University team joined the project in the fall of 2004 with an interest in exploring shared telematic space and ultimately the notion performers cooperatively embodying remote spaces.

Paper The Telematic Dress: Evolving garments and distributed proprioception in streaming media and fashion performance
Web site

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bendable interior objects

Yanko Design announced tha launch of BIO in September 2007, Bendable interior objects (BIO) comes in the form of a flat bag. Objects are laser cut in recyclable aluminium and ready to be assembled.

Bruce Sterling on design

On Technology Review, a video of Bruce Sterling on design. Science fiction author and design critic, he explains why so many technology designs seem hostile.

Video of the discussion with Bruce Sterling.

A translator between human gestures and machine functions

SmartRetina: a translator between human gestures and machine functions.

SmartRetina is a lightfast gesture-tracking platform written in Macromedia Flash 8, utilizing its flash.geom. package, flash.display package, Video class, Camera class and their motion-tracking capabilities.

Video of SmartRetina as a navigation tool.

Based on this technology, the company created Mossalibra an interactive game installation, operated solely by intuitive human gestures. "While dancing to surrounding music, the user (represented in pixelated form as a pure gesture) can mimic a given set of gestures in order to gain points."