Tuesday, July 31, 2007

8(eight) things you probably don't know about me–probably

Marc Rapp the publisher of Unique Epitome has meme'd me. So here you go: 8 things you don't know about me:

· Some people think that I have a French accent. These people are bizarre
· I read comic books, watch animes, and play video games. But I am not the girl of your dreams
· I have a dark history of mathematics & economics
· I am not vegetarian. Animals are tasty. But they are cute as pets too
· My blog kicks ass. It always takes a while to recognize real talents
· People constantly project on me. Stereotypes of French girls are crazy in this country. But it's true I don't shave and hate taking showers
· I became very serious about my sculpture work. I had to prematurely end my brief foray because the fame was jeopardizing the work
· I can't find an eighth one, you know everything about me already! Here is my quiche

My quiche Lorraine

My turn and I will meme Architectradure's commentors!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The next UI breakthrough, physicality?

The Design of Future Things by Donald A. Norman

A discussion by Donald A. Norman on the passage from Graphical User Interfaces, especially command line based, to Tangible User Interfaces, in particular motion based interfaces.

In my previous column I discussed the reemergence of command line language. Once these were the ways we used our operating systems and applications. Now they are reemerging within search engines. They are hidden and not easy to learn about, but I expect them to grow in power and, over time, become the dominant means of interaction.

In this column I will talk about a second trend, one that also has much earlier origins: the return to physical controls and devices. In the theoretical fields that underlie our field, this is called embodiment: See Paul Dourish’s book, Where the Action Is. But the trend is far more extensive than is covered by research on tangible objects, and somewhat different from the philosophical foundations implied by embodiment, so I use the term “physicality.”

Physicality: the return to physical devices, where we control things by physical body movement, by turning, moving, and manipulating appropriate mechanical devices.

Norman, D. A. 2007. The next UI breakthrough, part 2: physicality. interactions 14, 4 (Jul. 2007), 46-47.

Column on Command Line Interfaces available online

Full paper available at the ACM digital library

Creepcakes by designers!

AIGA 2006 presents creepcakes for Halloween, a use of everyday cupcakes transformed into aliens, monsters, spiders and mummies!
Clever design and great imagination is always extremely inspiring ...

The SynchroMate

The SynchroMate fits snuggly in the palm of one's hand (...) it encourages serendipitous synchronous interaction by indicating when a message is being composed for you by a distant companion through gentle vibrations and pulsing concentric circles of lush colors on the display

SynchroMate: A Phatic Technology for Mediating Intimacy, by Martin R. Gibbs, Steve Howard, Frank Vetere, Marcus Bunyan (2006)

By and large interaction design has been concerned with information exchange - technologies for the collection, processing and transmission of informational content. This design sketch discusses preliminary ideas about an alternative way to think about interactive technologies - phatic technologies - that are less concerned with capturing and communicating information and more about the establishment and maintenance of social connection. Drawing on insights and inspiration gleaned from a recent field-based study of the role of interactive technologies within intimate relationships we outline our preliminary ideas concerning technologies to support phatic interaction. Using materials collected during our fieldwork as design inspirations, we developed design sketches for phatic technologies intended to support playful connection between intimates. One of these sketches - SynchroMate - is presented. SynchroMate is a phatic technology designed to mediate intimacy by affording serendipitous synchronous exchanges.

Full case study

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Selling ad space via computer etching

Leah paid for her new MacBook Pro by selling ad space on her laptop to sponsors.

Soon you will receive a parking ticket for leaving your computer too long on a campus table. Soon you will etch ads on your body to have unlimited plastic surgery, soon you will become an ad to survive!

But I wonder, are stickers over yet? Spreading throughout the internet, the hip idea for a few years now is to etch the cover of your laptop.

I saw beautiful work out there, but never dared attacking the cover of my mac book. I prefered not following any trends, and stuck to my stickers! Among all this craft work, I chose this one from 2006 (see picture above) that is particularly interesting by Buzz Andersen.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Video, toys and perspective taking

I discovered this fabulous experimental research on perspective taking by developmental psychologist Masuo Koyasu.

Masuo Koyasu's web site (in Japanese only).

In the 1980s, I was interested in studying the development of perspective-taking in young children. Piaget's "three mountains task" had demonstrated that children find it difficult to understand how something looks to a person who is in a different position from themselves. In fact, younger children exhibit a strong tendency to choose their own view when asked to indicate how an object looks to someone in another position, a tendency that Piaget called "egocentrism." I thought there are three dimensions of egocentrism (up and down, front and back, and left and right), and that children's difficulty in understanding different perspectives might be because they do not receive feedback about other people's perspectives. To test this hypothesis, I conducted a series of experiments with kindergarteners.

Figure 1. Experimental Situation
A:Child,B:Experimenter,C:Sample Photos,D:Place to put toy animal(s),E:Three toy animals,F:Still camera or video camera

The task in the first experiment was to face a camera set up across from them and then to arrange one to three toy animals in a way that would produce a photograph like the sample (Figure 1). Forty-three percent of the four-year-olds exhibited front and back egocentrism by placing the toy animals' backs to the camera. That tendency had mostly disappeared among the five-year-olds and six-year-olds, but it became clear that hardly any of the four- to six-year-olds could position two or three toy animals in the correct left-to-right order. In a second experiment, I used a video camera instead of a still camera and provided video feedback, showing an image of the toy animals as viewed from the opposite side on a color CRT monitor. In the control group, which was shown only the CRT monitor, the children were able to correct their front-back egocentrism on their own but were not informed of their errors. Even in the experimental group, which received instruction and practice in correcting left-right egocentrism, the effect on their post-test results was clearly small (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Mean number correct in each condition

Until the age of about seven, most children facing a teacher who says, "Let's raise our right hands" while raising his or her own right hand will raise their left hands.
Incidentally, research into perspective-taking abilities has traditionally focused on investigating how children understand other people's viewpoints, but I have noticed a serious limitation in the paradigm commonly used to study this. In the case of the "three mountains task," even if children can't directly guess the viewpoint of a person in another position, they can solve the problem by conducting a mental simulation in which they imagine that they have gone to the other person's position, or by a type of mental rotation, in which they imagine that the object has been placed on a lazy Susan and rotated to the correct position. The lack of methodological distinctions in the perspective-taking paradigm was a major problem. As I was worrying about how to think about this problem, I encountered research into "theory of mind." In particular, I spent ten months as a visiting scholar in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford from 1994 to 1995, where I had the opportunity to come into contact with the front lines of British research into cognitive development. After returning to Japan, I began studying "theory of mind," but at that time, hardly anyone else in the country was doing so. Without intending to, I have had to carry out the role of "missionary" in the field of "theory of mind" in Japan.
The most famous experiment in "theory of mind" is the false belief task (the so-called "Sally and Anne task") of Josef Perner and his colleagues. "Sally puts a doll in a basket. While Sally is away, Anne takes the doll out of the basket and puts it into a box nearby. Sally then returns and the child is asked where Sally will look for her doll." In general, three-year-olds can't pass this task, but they become able to do so between the ages of four and six. It has also been demonstrated that even high-functioning autistic children can't pass this task. It is odd that most young children are easily deceived by this task, which is no problem at all for adults. I have been observing the daily lives of children at a Kyoto kindergarten once a week for three years, as well as conducting developmental research, including the false belief task. As a result, I have obtained longitudinal data on "theory of mind" (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Results of a longitudinal study of "theory of mind"

The data presented in this figure began with 15 children, with 4 more children transferring in at the ages of four and five, for a total of 19 children at the end. Only one child regressed from being able to pass the task to failing it, but he was a boy who became extremely nervous and made mistakes in the testing situation at age five and six. The fact that I was conducting experiments on children with whom I was in contact on a daily basis made me feel that I could interpret the results more broadly.

Why Toys Shouldn't Work "Like Magic"

Mark D. Gross, Michael Eisenberg, "Why Toys Shouldn't Work "Like Magic": Children's Technology and the Values of Construction and Control," digitel, pp. 25-32, The First IEEE International Workshop on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning (DIGITEL'07), 2007

The design and engineering of children's artifacts-like engineering in general-exhibits a recurring philosophical tension between what might be called an emphasis on "ease of use" on the one hand, and an emphasis on "user empowerment" on the other. This paper argues for a style of technological toy design that emphasizes construction, mastery, and personal expressiveness for children, and that consequently runs counter to the (arguably ascendant) tradition of toys that work "like magic". We describe a series of working prototypes from our laboratories-examples that illustrate new technologies in the service of children's construction and we use these examples to ground a wider-ranging discussion of toy design and potential future work.

Kinetic vs electric toys

Odo by Sony

We change our habits and we design accordingly. In the era of socially responsible design, a new business model is emerging. Discovered on Idealist, Odo by Sony is a generation of toys that takes advantage of user-generated kinetic energy. As mentioned in Sustainable Day: "there are a lot of conceptual solar powered cell phone prototypes and hand cranked chargers popping up in response to the strong consumer interest in more environmentally responsible products but in general consumer electronics usually lag behind in the development of green alternatives."

Odo Spin N'Snap

In 2005, I co-designed Playpals, a set of figurines with their electronic accessories that provide children with a playful way to communicate between remote locations. In our first prototype, the figurines were activated using the child-generated kinetic energy. We tried to find a branch of alternative to electrical by using reverse motors.

Playpals movie

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Abstract by Joëlle Bitton

Abstract is the upcoming interaction installation by Joëlle Bitton at Gallery EF in Tokyo.

On the theme of waiting and the perception of the time passing-by: inviting visitors in a space where the body and its movement play the role of interfaces. From a point of view on the Japanese garden and its vision on the surrounding, aesthetic and philosophical world, this project is inspired by the tension between elements intentionally thought here in a contradictory dialog: abstraction and texture, concealment and disclosure, empty space and framed space. This installation places the visitor on the razor's edge: always on the border, between two worlds, passing from one to the other. This is the experience of difference and of a fragile balance, of what is called in the Japanese culture, the impermanence of things. The latter is then staged in a relationship to the cycle of time, to the emotions that the expectation of something to happen can generate.

Joëlle's portfolio

E-puzzle at IDSA IDEA 2007

Discovered on Gizmodo, the BusinessWeek/IDSA IDEA 2007 Awards Gallery presents the E-puzzle designed by Peter Chen. The pictures appeared to be self explanatory.

At first I wandered what the e-puzzle could do, because it seems like a child is moving pieces around on a most probably "interactive map". What could it do? Play "bip bip" sounds? tell a winnie the poo story... in any case, from the picture it did not seem great. Just e-something.

However it is more innovative than that, even if improbable for quite a while, the concept idea is to use e-paper that parents could download patterns to and that children could endlessly discover and assemble. The idea to play with tangible pieces using unlimited digital information is fascinating.
Now how interesting is the project for children? For parents? It seems it can save space (less puzzle at home), money (10000 puzzles into one), offer control (my child will play with a family picture and not a winnie the poo!) ...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Transformable Toys

It started with transformable sculptures: The “expanding geodesic dome” from 1991 at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey - Via Pingmag

Last time I visited her in San Francisco, my friend Kimiko Ryokai gave me this awesome toy. A ball that changes its shape and color when flipped in the air! This tricky toy was invented by the famous kinetic sculptor Chuck Hoberman. An interview on Pingmag recently covers his background, creations and inspirations.

Switch Pitch by Chuck Hoberman. Image from Educational Innovations

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hottness is always the tiebreaker

Everything you wanted to know about creativity and the design process. I stole this video from Marc Rapps' blog that I enjoy reading. This short movie is just so funny and well done.


More on Perfect People Make Perfect Design

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Music videos: after the e-baby ...

E-baby Produced by Pleix / Chased by Cowboys. Music: Bleip. 2003.

Beauty kit Produced by Pleix. Music: Bleip. 2001.

Music videos that mainly deal with the question of the influence of technology on our lives such as biotechnology, media and plastic surgery, etc ... Pleix is a virtual community of digital artists -3d, musicians, graphic designers- based in Paris. I like their progression from the beauty kit, the e-baby: how to order a baby online, to birds as flying dogs: the imagery is stunning, to the complete human assimilation of freaky gigantic robotic-plastic rabbit.

Birds Produced by Pleix / Blink. Music: Vitalic. PIAS. 2006.

All their videos.
Check also Régine Debatty's report on Pleix's talk.

E-baby video

Friday, July 20, 2007

An Investigation into Perspective Taking Skills

"Children believe that animals understand them and that they can share some of their problems with animals. Animals unconditionally love children without judging them so children can easily share their daily problems with animals"

An Investigation into the Perspective Taking Skills of 6-Year-Old Children in Terms of Pet Feeding and Gender Variables by Aysel Koksal Akyol and Vuslat O uz. In Humanity & Social Sciences Journal 2 (1): 08-13, 2007

Paper available online.

Abstract This research has been designed in order to investigate the perspective taking skills of 6-year-old children in terms of the variables ‘pet feeding at home’ and ‘gender’. 100 six-year-old children attending nursery schools participated in the research. Data were collected through a “Personal Information Form” and the “Perspective Taking Test”. In analyzing the data, t-test was applied. As a result of the analysis, it has been determined that the status of pet feeding has an impact on the perceptional perspective taking skills of children (p<0.05) and the gender of the child has an impact on the cognitive perspective taking skills (p<0.01). Consequently, some recommendations have been made.

This paper presents the potential of a pet, as a companion for a child, transitioning from stuffed animals to communicating with others and supporting the child's emotional development. Communication with pets can be mainly non-verbal so that children with communication difficulty progress with pets. Also a study demonstrated the important correlation between the level of the relationship of children with their pets and their level of empathy.

The authors present a comprehensive definition for perspective taking
Perspective taking skills are formed from perceptional (to be aware of what another person sees), cognitive (to be aware of what another person thinks) and emotional (to be aware of how another feels) elements(...) Perspective taking is also defined as the emotional reactions shared in the experience of the child against the emotional reactions of the other person. Perspective taking includes both cognitive understanding of another person’s experience (playing a role) and the emotional understanding of another person’s emotional situation (experiencing). A person with the perspective taking ability can feel the other’s emotions after defining his emotion and perspective partially

The study in this research involved 100 and 6-year-old children. Children take the “Perspective Taking Test (Perceptional Perspective Taking Test, Cognitive Perspective Taking Test, Emotional Perspective Taking Test)” and parents take the Personal Information Form and the Empathetic Skills Scale. In the results, the empathy points of pet feeding children are higher. In children’s interaction with animals, their being able to put themselves in the animal’s place is important for them to understand whether the animal is hungry or not, whether they are hurt or not, or else whether they want to be taken care of or not. The perceptional perspective skills of pet feeding children may have resulted high for this reason.

They conclude that the communication skills of pet feeding children improve and their perspective taking skills are affected positively. They propose that parents support the love and interest of their child to their pet. Children’s love for animals can be developed through visual mass communication tools and the media, by allocating more space for animal related publications and broadcasting.
Based on this result, I wander if children playing with Tamagotchi perform better at empathy, unless the attribution of feelings to a character that is virtual kind of mix the cards ...

I am particularly interested in the subject of perspective taking. Studying perspective taking in discourse structure as well as social perspective, I designed from 2000-2002 a computational toy to enhance narrative perspective-taking. The most fascinated finding in the part of this research on social perspective taking, is that children benefited from the technological toy in reflecting on their hypothesis about their environment, about people, about their personal experiences. I discovered there was a huge potential in computing toys for comforting children in their natural discoveries. Technology cannot replace human or pets interrelationship, but it has the advantage to be neither of these and just offer children fun, authorship and feedback on their creation. In this process a mechanism can be designed to reinforce a particular cognitive skill.

I later designed video systems for children to share creations with one another using video game controllers in a public museum space. Computational tools for adults and children to perform videos in real time using their video database, as well as sms'ing in the public space using a community video database, and a tangible system for remote communities to create, edit, perform and share video creations.
The power of video is immense, it is the witness of an event. I am now researching on the relationship with perspective taking between personal video and personal voice using tangible materials.

Picture extracted from my thesis Dolltalk: A computational toy to enhance narrative perspective-taking. Thesis available online

Dolltalk (2000)
I created DollTalk to help young children take different perspectives during storytelling play. The child tells his/her story to an animated computer character, using two stuffed animals as props while their story is recorded. The stuffed animals contain accelerometers that monitor the movement of those toys; statistical analysis of children's play with props allows the system to assume that if a toy is being shaken, then the child is narrating a story segment associated with that toy. The system also computes different types of motions, from a single toy being shaken, to multiple ones and their frequencies over time. In parallel, the system analyzes the speech of the child. The combination of sound and gestural parameters analysis allows Dolltalk to determine the structure of the narration: from a dialog to a narrator voice, this to offer adequate interaction. In Dolltalk "easy mode", when the child is done telling a story, the recorded audio is played back with two different pitches to signify the stuffed animal that was speaking at the time. In a more "advanced mode", the story is played back using a narrator voice and offers different understandings for the same story using the storyline of the child.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eco-friendly robots

Picture of Theo Jansen work found on Myninjaplease.

I am fascinated by the giant kinetic sculptures of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, always elegant, massive and impressive with their ability to be eco friendly at the same time than resembling apocalyptic robots.

Scarf with electrically operated massager

Scarf with electrically operated massager United States Patent 6537235, by Connor, Clara (Fountain Valley, CA, US) and Busto, Ernest J. (Cypress, CA, US), March 2003.

A combination massager and scarf assembly having a number of electrical motors secured in a flexible casing, which flexible casing is removably secured in the interior of the scarf. The scarf is wrapped around the flexible casing and the motors in the casing are electrically connected to a control box having an A.C. or D.C. power supply to actuate the electrical motors. The control box includes a knob to regulate the speed of vibration of the motors.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The next step for Tangible Media research

Photography by Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Elisabeth Sylvan: the Sharing of Wonderful Ideas

Dr Elisabeth Sylvan

Today I attended the thesis defense of my friend Elisabeth Sylvan, now Dr Elisabeth Sylvan, from the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Laboratory. Her dissertation is entitled the Sharing of Wonderful Ideas: Influence and Interaction in Online Communities of Creators.

At her dissertation committee: Mitchel Resnick, Alex P. Pentland and Peter Gloor

This thesis presents a new framework for understanding how communities of creators share work, influence one another's creative processes, and learn from one another. I introduce the concept of Online Communities of Creators (OCOCs), which are online communities where the core activity is sharing personal creations. Using a mixed-methods approach of ethnography and social network analysis, I study two specific OCOCs: the Computer Clubhouse Village and the Scratch online community.

I analyze how ideas spread through OCOCs using the framework for diffusion of innovation developed by Everett Rogers. I map specific behaviors in OCOCs to Roger's five stages of adoption of innovation: awareness, interest, evaluation, trial and adoption. Within OCOCs each of these stages represent deepening understanding of other community members' work. The last two stages can be seen as members learning from each other. I report on how different social and project-related activities support the communities. I analyze which community members and which projects are most commonly in the trial and adoption stages. Finally I describe what creator and project factors predict influence in OCOCs.

Even though developed for two specific communities, her framework could be re-applied to the understanding of the sharing of creations within another community. It would be interesting to research on the mechanism of creation through blogs, or social communities.

Throughout her research, she analyzes the forms of participation, the mechanism of adoption of ideas and how ideas spread within the community, and finds ways to predict influence. For instance, prediction for download of user's projects happens:
1st- when the project is featured by administrator of the community
2nd- when the creator of the project has many projects already
3rd- when the creator of the project comments on projects
4th- when the creator of the project has uploaded projects recently
5th- when the creator of the project has friends, etc...

By observing a specific community, she studies how the learning happens socially.
Community members spontaneously filled in surveys that her software uses as data to generate a network visualization. She noticed that community members were developing popularity and skills that went beyond the community itself and could motivate users to later do something on the internet.

Elastic visualization

A cluster within my delicious' tags visualized with 6pli

I discovered 6pli, a beautiful and useful tool for delicious tag visualization and navigation. The 6pli system connects to your delicious database and uses the bundles to bridge between very different content. I find this tool amazing; it is finally an answer to my struggle in navigating among my delicious catalog.
You can contact the creator of the tool, Santiago Ortiz, to create your own account.
More about his work.

Santiago --What is nice about order is that is very difficult to keep (because of the god entropy), so there is always eccentric posts, as the image shows:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Never too pink

Pink Prank Project found on itfashion

Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0

Clic for details on the map

We have done it before: The 200 most successful websites on the web, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective. We have done it again – and better. Upon popular demand – here is iA’s next Web Trend Map

Map created by information architects Japan. Also I just discovered a clicable online version via DesignNotes

Robot competition

Unique in its genre ... and just a step away from a tangible street fighter!

Mylight lamp by lars spuybroek

"we can now ‘print’ an object directly from digital information – molds will just disappear. people have no idea yet what an incredible change in technology that is. and what that means for design. all design will become meta-design: objects can now be a range-of-objects like in a family or a species. not one is the same, but they are similar enough to be recognised. they can be big on top, big in the middle, or big below. they can have many holes or just a few. but they will always be private, each lamp you buy is different from the other, it’s unique.” – lars spuybroek

more information

This commercial work reminds me the impressive and comprehensive research of my previous professor at the Graduate School of Design, Dr Kostas Terzidis, whose "research work focuses on creative experimentation within the threshold between arts, architecture, and computer science. As a professional computer programmer he is the author of many computer applications on form-making, morphing, virtual reality, and self-organization. (...) His latest book, Algorithmic Architecture, provides an ontological investigation into the terms, concepts, and processes of algorithmic architecture and provides a theoretical framework for design implementations. -GSD"

My past projects for his course on Kinetic Architecture
My first assignment for his course on Advanced Studies in Architectural Computing.

Excerpt 1 and Excerpt 2 from his works.

Gesture recognition to control home appliances

Interaction design through gesture recognition can be a bit tricky when it means interacting with a full set of home appliances. Distinguishing between intentional and unintentional gestures is probably the challenge as well as creating an artificial-gestural language strong enough to rely on.
I read a lot on the fact that using gesture is for "TV potatoes" while actually I find using gestures more "sporty". Indeed, one moves the entire hand and arm to control devices whereas a remote only works by pressing a button. The wii is a good example of semi-sport action while playing video games!

Now, seven simple hand gestures to switch your TV on

(...) The controller's built-in camera can recognize seven simple hand gestures and work with up to eight different gadgets around the home, reports The Daily Mail.

The all-seeing wave controller is the brainchild of Australian engineers Dr Prashan Premaratne and Quang Nguyen, who predict its availability on the market within three years.(...)

Its software recognises simple, deliberate hand gestures and then sends the appropriate signal to a universal remote control, designed to work with most makes of television, video recorder, DVD player, hi-fi and digital set-top box.

A clenched fist means "start", an outstretched hand with closed fingers means "power on", a thumbs-up sign means "up" and a sideways victory sign means "channel".

Crucially for anyone with small children, pets or gesticulating family members, the software can distinguish between real commands and unintentional gestures.

Excerpt of article by International reporter, July 2007.

Image from the Daily Mail

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Apple Form Factor Evolution 1976-2007

Clic on the picture for details

Thank you Chompchomp!

What the heck is Electronic Mail?

"Electronic Mail is a term that's been bandied about data processing circles for years. Simply put, it means high-speed information transportation. One of the most advanced methods is terminals talking to one another. Your mailbox is the terminal on your desk. Punch a key and today's correspondence and messages are displayed instantly (...) Electronic Mail is document distribution that's more timely, accurate and flexible than traditional methods. There's no mountain of paperwork (...) Tomorrow's automated office will clearly include Electronic Mail. - Honeywell Office Automation Systems"
Ad found on Abdul Taiyeb's blog

Vital monitoring system concept

Dan Bishop has designed the Vital Monitoring System concept that enables medical staff to take and record a patient's vital signs effortlessly. The baseline vitals must be taken manually initially for future readings to be based upon it, but subsequent readings are made much easier. All the patient needs to do is swipe the temperature sensor across their forehead, where the device will then get to work by activating its blood pressure/pulse sensor on the inside of the monitor. The patient is alerted to do so via a light vibration (although a slight electric shock on April Fools' day would have been funny). When will we see hospitals feature the Vital Monitoring System? Not anytime soon.

Via ubergizmo

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Felt rocks

Just because I find them beautiful ... Felt rocks by Molo.

In their raw form, a felt rock is technically a lump of felt formed when small bits of wool fluff gather while making polishing wheels for optical lenses, spun around in a drum with them. With steam and pressure, each stray piece of wool begins to entangle itself with others roughly creating a completely unique rock-like shape without the help of any bonding agents. Each felt rock is then carefully selected by molo and then finished through their own process. Felt rocks are solid all the way through, made out of 100% pure wool felt, and carefully dyed. they come in hand selected sets of 5 ( 2 natural and 3 grey, or 2 moss green and 3 grey ) and are packaged in a natural grey wool felt bag.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jouez l'ecolo

Paperless or techno flat?

Miquel Mora Mor | Paper Alarm Clock | Printed electronics on paper

What ever happened to the paperless future?
What if we could enhance paper instead of getting rid of it?
The Flat Futures project deals with this future. A future where, through printed electronics we could print technology (displays, batteries, speakers...) in flat and flexible surfaces. Objects will wear technology instead of carrying them inside. It will become their skin.
How will this affect our lives? How will our relationship with these enhanced objects change? If any surface can display anything, where will its value be? In the physical object? Or in the information itself?

Light hidden within the wood

Light Play

Back in 2005, I saw the light play table, created by Anab Jain and Stuart Wood, a beautiful fiber optic table of natural light.

Recently I came across the work of the evil mad scientists and the because we can. A table that reacts by light to your motions and without motion it calms down to a very slight attractive twinkling.

The entire table pulls a total of 35 watts when it is fully active. That's less than a single common household light bulb!
Using a network of 32 active and passive near-infrared optical sensors, it detects motion above the table and changes in ambient light. Made of fully analog circuits, the light patterns sweep outwards from your motion with perfect fades, glowing stronger the closer the movement is, rippling across a pool of 480 super-bright white LEDs. It works in full sunlight or total darkness.

The cat is on the table, only his moving tail is setting off the lights

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Social Sensors

Social Sensors by Chris Hand

community anticipation enlarger bluetooth boredom bouncer open source ambivalence revolutioniser wireless road rage communicator dog-mounted love alarm gardeners neighbourliness matcher in-library fear disposer gps-based group hug finder childrens happiness counter automatic group hug announcer community togetherness generator peer-to-peer frustration reducer personal paranoia filter hand-held fear investigator domestic happiness announcer childrens boredom communicator pensioners obsession matcher hand-held powerlessness alarm community homesickness reflector industrial uncertainty alarm neighbourhood jealousy subverter kitchen environment-friendliness messager predictive anger investigator dashboard-mounted depression reducer public transport relaxation finder in-library loneliness broadcaster family empathy communicator -- Extract from 139,590 Devices

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Portable bubble wrap

Found on geek student this unlimited popping action portable device created by Bandai that even rewards you with a new sound after 100 pops!

Microscopic spies

Even your printer is spying on you! Hard to believe.
Intrigued by the new project of the Computing Culture's research group directed by Chris Csikszentmihalyi, I discoverd Seeing Yellow. So if you think that you need to hide your IP address and remove spywares, well maybe spies are around you in your tangible environment for a while now!

When you print on a color laser printer, it's likely that you are also printing a pattern of invisible yellow dots. These marks exist to allow the printer companies and governments to track and identify you -- presumably as a way to combat money counterfeiting.

Now Seeing Yellow has a tangible-antispyware available for you and this by calling your printer maker (and more)

Glass invaders designed by Sebastien Messerschmidt

Sensor doll as a music expression device

Yonezawa, T., Clarkson, B., Yasumura, M., and Mase, K. 2001. Context-aware sensor-doll as a music expression device. In CHI '01 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Seattle, Washington, March 31 - April 05, 2001). CHI '01. ACM Press, New York, NY, 307-308.

Abstract We present a sensor-doll capable of music expression as a sympathetic communication device. The doll is equipped with a computer and various sensors such as a camera, microphone, accelerometer, and touch-sensitive sensors to recognize its own situation and the activities of the user. The doll has its own internal “mind” states reflecting different situated contexts. The user’s multi-modal interaction with the passive doll is translated into musical expressions that depend on the state of mind of the doll.


An inventory of effects

Re-reading and re-discovering an old edition from 1967 of the Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan, I spent quite a long time on this quote, trying to position the context in which this has been said, in which it is re-contextualized through the book, and how it applies today and what I can learn from it.

The discovery of the alphabet will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves...You give your disciples not truth but only the semblance of truth; they will be heroes of many things, and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing.--Socrates, "Phaedrus"

Prada: full of surprises!

Prada is full of surprises. Thinking of the Prada Marfa created by Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, I found the Prada new web site enhanced by this pseudo artsy-culturally-challenged tech brain washing.