Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let’s get Soft Wear for the Holidays!

PC nostalgia anyone?!

Microsoft "SoftWear" has created a new line of closing all soft and cozy. A perfect gift for the holidays! Or you can download the .pdf of your best logos/artwork and DIY!


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

220 petites Pixel-tiles

It's really nice to see friends and co-workers from the MIT Media Lab making their ways to the contemporary art scene. Zigelbaum and Coelho keeps winning awards! After celebrating their Design Miami/Basel Designers of the Future award, they are now exhibiting in New York, you can see their work at the Johnson Trading Gallery.

They will show their computational light installation which steals the pixel from the screen and re-introduces it to the physical world. An ambitious, pulsating LED installation completes itself only when touched by the visitor, each movement modifying and transforming the work itself.

The gun-testing vault at Riflemaker will house 220 luminescent pixel-tiles. Visitors to the gallery will be able to change the colours of the tiles, create a rhythmic pulse and re-arrange the overall form of the square, magnetic blocks.


Zigelbaum & Coelho is a design studio founded by Jamie Zigelbaum and Marcelo Coelho. Their work utilises physical, computational, and cultural materials in the service of creating new, but fundamentally human, experiences.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Robot Opera Explodes Boundaries!

I will join the Opera of the Future team the 24, 25, and 26th of September in Monaco!

A bit more on the robot opera...

Death and the Powers, a groundbreaking new opera created by Tod Machover with his Opera of the Future Group at the MIT Media Lab, is to receive its world premiere September 24, 2010 at l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Tickets can be purchased ->here<-

Prologue (in French): Obscurité. Les robots roulent, oscillent, and glissent sur la scène en groupe puis se dispersent en différentes unités. Quatre robots émergent et commencent à parler. Dans leur dialogue, les robots essaient de comprendre le sens du mot « mort , » un concept étrange auquel ils sont confrontés dans un drame qui leur reste de leurs créateurs humains. A la fin du prologue, toujours perplexes devant la notion de la mort, les robots entreprennent d’interpréter le drame rituel selon l’ordre des créateurs humains. Le robot leader annonce : « Il est maintenant temps que nous commencions. » scene4.jpg
Photo credit: M.I.T. Media Laboratory.

When I die, what remains? What will I leave behind? What can I control? What can I perpetuate?

These are the eternal human questions facing Simon Powers, the protagonist of visionary composer Tod Machover’s new opera Death and the Powers, a full-evening work which premieres September 24, 2010 at l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo. In the opera, Powers, a rich, powerful businessman and inventor, wishes to perpetuate his existence beyond the decay of his physical being.

Reaching the end of his life, Powers uses his vast resources to devise a way to 'download' himself into his environment. This transformation turns every object in his surroundings—his books, furniture and walls—into a collective, living version of himself, called The System. His family, friends and business associates are left not only to figure out if The System is, in fact, a true embodiment of Powers, but how to sustain a relationship with him in his new form, and whether to abandon their own organic existence and join him in his world of light, free of death and suffering.

In this cutting-edge work, Machover—called “America’s most wired composer” by the Los Angeles Times—elegantly blends his artistic and technological expertise to create an inventive score filled with arching melodic lines, wry humor, richly nuanced textures and propulsive rhythms. Death and the Powers additionally introduces specially-designed technology – including animated walls, a chorus of robots and a musical chandelier – assuredly launching a new era in opera production and expression.

Death and the Powers’ creative fusion of music and technology could reposition opera as an art form that embraces innovation, says Marc Scorca, president and CEO of Opera America, a nonprofit that serves U.S. opera companies. “I’m always cheering when I see opera once again reasserting itself as the richest tapestry for innovative, live art,” says Scorca.

Death and the Powers sets itself apart from other operas with its groundbreaking performance technologies, developed by Machover’s Opera of the Future Group at the MIT Media Lab. A new technique called Disembodied Performance employs innovative sensors and analysis software to translate baritone James Maddalena’s conscious and unconscious sounds and gestures, enabling the set to ‘come alive’ with Simon’s thoughts, feelings, memories and desires even after his physical body is no longer on stage. In addition, a chorus of “Operabots” narrates and reacts to the story; robotic furniture morphs and moves about on stage; and a musical Chandelier engages in a sensuous duet with Simons’ beloved wife Evvy.

Machover collaborated with a creative team that reads like a who’s who of movers and shakers of American culture. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky wrote the libretto. Director Diane Paulus received a Tony nomination for her recent revival of HAIR on Broadway, and is joined by celebrated choreographer Karole Armitage and production designer Alex McDowell, who is best known as the creative director behind such films as Minority Report and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Death and the Powers’ cast features baritone James Maddalena as Simon Powers; mezzosoprano Patricia Risley as Simon’s third wife, Evvy; soprano Joélle Harvey as Simon’s daughter, Miranda; tenor Hal Cazalet as Simon’s research assistant and adopted son, Nicholas; countertenor Frank Kelley as ‘The United Way’; baritone David Kravitz as ‘The United Nations’; and bass Tom McNichols as ‘The Administration.’

Following its Monaco premiere on September 24-26, 2010, Death and the Powers receives its United States premiere March 18, 2011 with Harvard’s American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and Opera Boston; and its Midwest premiere April 2, 2011 at Chicago Opera Theater.

Generous support for Death and the Powers has been provided by the Monaco-based Futurum Association.

More info:


Synopsis of Powers (in English)

Synopsis of Powers (in French)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Spendide interactive art board game


I was thinking of Etienne and amazing collections of possibilities with the Editions Volumiques. An inspiring master piece in the arena of interactive art board game, Paradice, designed by artist John O'Neill, strives to teach players to explore the impact of their decision-making.

It is made from dyed sustainable wood and contains a variety of game pieces from trees to forest spirits to human beings. Players must help maintain the balance of the Forest while attempting to gain opportunities for Human Beings, experiencing the delicate struggle of give and take.

Paradice is a world like Earth where human beings live in and depend on the vitality of their forest environment. At different moments in their lives, human beings are driven by different needs. At one time, a human may need to consume and acquire goods. At other times a human may be driven by a need for social connection or the desire to replenish the environment. The circumstances that influence those needs and the resources available in a human's life are determined by a mix of predictable patterns and random opportunity.

The game is for two players, a "Giver" and a "Taker". At various times in the game, the players need to switch roles. Pieces consist of 4 types of trees (7 of each), 4 forest spirits, and 4 humans. The main play board is a 6x6 grid. There is a track which runs around the edge so that the whole board is 8x8.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Stop motion Lego movie by a seven year old girl!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Playful Inventions and Explorations: What's to Be Learned from Kids?

With their boundless curiosity, fertile imagination, and natural mastery of the art of self-directed learning, children have much to teach adults about creativity and innovation. That's perhaps even more true with today's "digital natives," says developmental psychologist Edith Ackermann, whose work explores—and exploits—the intersections of play, learning, design, and technology. An educator and researcher, Ackermann has consulted for LEGO and the LEGO Learning Institute for more than 20 years and worked under the direction of Jean Piaget, the Swiss psychologist renowned for his studies on children at play, at the Centre International d'Epistémologie Génétique. She has taught at Harvard, MIT, and other universities.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Collaborative tablets

Jak Spencer designed a hardware based solution for group meeting collaboration. Four touch surfaces are used individually by meeting participants for group work. The hardware platform combined with a software solution to aid collaboration in meeting environments. It has been designed specifically for Architects and Designers to work on 2D drawing files and 3D CAD files.


The system combines an intuitive interactive user interface with cutting edge touch technology. Users can work in presentation mode where the full 32’ surface of an LCD monitor becomes multi-touch enabled, or in collaboration mode – where the touch surface is broken into 4 separate tablets.

The project has developed from early stage blue-sky designs, through concept selection and detailed design development to a real prototype. In the prototype the top left hand tablet is fully functional with the electronics housed in the frame, whilst the software has been simulated to suggest methods to ease design collaboration. Have a look at the video for more info.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Your hand is the new magic wand!


OnObject designed by Keywon Chung (my officemate!!), Michael Shilman, Chris Merrill and Hiroshi Ishii is a small device user wears on hand to program physical objects to respond to gestural triggers.


Attach an RFID tag to any objects, grab them by the tag, and program their responses to your grab, release, shake, swing, and thrust gestures using built in microphone or on-screen interface. Using OnObject, children, parents, teachers and end users can instantly create gestural object interfaces and enjoy them. Copy-paste the programming from one object to another to propagate the interactivity in your environment.


Watch the videos!


Children recording on objects


Saturday, June 19, 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 : Emerging Technologies Trailer

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Magic books

Talking about creative projects and about amazing people, Etienne Mineur, who was my professor in Paris (lucky me again!!) along with Bertrand Duplat just released their éditions volumiques.

They consider paper a new computing platform, envisioning an OS made of paper, video games in paper, etc... They also research on the relationship between the act of reading and the physical handling of a book along with their relationship to new technologies. The core concept in this work is to stop opposing the digital world to the paper world but on the contrary to find a synergy and complementarity: working on tangible books, connected and magical.

Here they are, this new series of prototypes and research on this subject, some of the magic book will be available in September 2010!

Some avant-première videos!



The Night of the Living Dead Pixels


Le livre qui tourne ses pages tout seul

le livre qui disparaît

Ok go magic numbers!

Jeff Liebermann has created so many creative projects I blogged on, including a few collaborative projects that we worked on together (lucky me!) Now he is doing the coolest music videos. Recently, Eric Gunther and Jeff Liebermann just made a music video with OK GO. You've seen Ok GO on treadmills and in their backyard, but you've never seen them like this. With some fancy cameras and a little magic, they figured out how to dance with time.

For those of you who like numbers...

The fastest they go is 172,800x, compressing 24 hours of real time into a blazing 1/2 second. The slowest is 1/32x speed, stretching a mere 1/2 second of real time into a whopping 16 seconds. This gives them a fastest to slowest ratio of 5.5 million. If you like averages, the average speed up factor of the band dancing is 270x. In total they shot 18 hours of the band dancing and 192 hours of LA skyline timelapse - over a million frames of video - and compressed it all down to 4 minutes and 30 seconds! Oh, and notice that it's one continuous camera shot.

They also made a special friend in the process. Her name is Orange Bill and she's a goose. You will agree that she clearly has a future in music videos.

The song is called End Love and it's off their new album.

And they had hella fun making it and I believe them!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A tribute to a love for books

French Artist Olivier Vaubourg, based in Zagreb, Croatia, explores the relationship between light, textures and the chosen words of books he loves.

The enlightened Machiavelli


Baudrillard | The perfect crime | Blood


Lyotard | Condition post-moderne | Ligne


Guattari | Chaosmose | Slice


Do you feel the power ?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Amazon's reviews


I was reading some Amazon reviews and stumbled onto this dude's reviews that are hilarious!

Start with the Creative Fatality Gaming Headset, and you'll move onto the review for Uranium Ore ...


I will spend more time reading Amazon's reviews from now on, thank you Adam!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Video feedback and recorder on toy accessories

Working on tangible video capturing, editing and performing systems since '00, it is nice to see a product that is directly translated from my research! At the MIT Media Lab, I was Mattel fellow for four consecutive terms and for my PhD I created Picture This, basically dolls with camera integrated in their accessories to alternate view points, record and play back videos. Mattel will release their first doll with video recorder integrated in July 2010!


Pictures from Chick Chiplets

So more details about the product, Mattel developed a toy that features a video camera built directly into Barbie’s necklace with a LCD video screen on her back, so you can record and view everything that Barbie’s seen and experienced!


You can record videos up to 30 minutes long and even edit videos (add music and sound effects) on Barbie.com. The Barbie Video Girl Doll will cost around $50 and will be available in July 2010...

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A DIY multitouch keyboard & a smart glass without electronics!

I've had a chance to give a talk at Microsoft Research this January and also to meet fantastic researchers. I've had very inspiring discussions about the future of HCI bringing design, fabrication and strong theoretical foundations into the mix. I've also visited unique labs and see some neat projects. For instance, Paul Dietz from the Applied Sciences Group showed me his and his team keyboard, applying his technical contribution for the famous MERL diamond touch table into a regular keyboard, making it not only multi touch (you can press multiple keys at the same time as input and receive outputs accordingly), but it is also pressure sensitive! The keyboard was presented at UIST this year.
Here's a video:

The research has already been partially integrated into a product, that will be released by March 2010. This keyboard, the SideWinder X4, will be extremely nice for keyboard gamers (like myself) who suffers from the ghosting problem: when my keyboard loses track of key presses when I am already holding down another key. This new keyboard allows a gamer to press up to 26 keys at the same time!!

Among other research products, the team explored the possibility for a table top interface, such as Microsoft surface, to recognize everyday objects without the use of any electronics. The team applied optics to a simple empty vs half full glass detection problem, so a drinking glass can sense when a refill should be offered. The glass had to be modified in fabrication with a prism-like structure at the bottom of the glass to reflect light when it is not submerged with liquid. The surface table sends IR light directly up towards the prism and when the glass is almost empty, the IR light reflect back at a different angle than when the glass is full. Such a nice trick and it allows the table to function with passive objects containing no electronic components or moving parts!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The affective intelligent driving agent!

AIDA is part of the Sociable Car - Senseable Cities project which is a collaboration between the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab and the Senseable Cities Group at MIT. The AIDA robot was designed and built by the Personal Robots Group, while the Senseable Cities Group is working on intelligent navigation algorithms.


One of the aim of the project is to expand the relationship between the car and the driver with the goal of making the driving experience more effective, safer, and more enjoyable. As part of this expanded relationship, the researchers plan to introduce a new channel of communication between automobile and driver/passengers. This channel would be modeled on fundamental aspects of human social interaction including the ability to express and perceive affective/emotional state and key social behaviors.

In pursuit of these aims they have developed the Affective Intelligent Driving Agent (AIDA), a novel in-car interface capable of communicating with the cars occupants using both physical movement and a high resolution display. This interface is a research platform, which can be used as a tool for evaluating various topics in the area of social human-automobile interaction. Ultimately, the research conducted using the AIDA platform should lead to the development of new kinds of automobile interfaces, and an evolution in the relationship between car and driver.

Currently the AIDA research platform consists of a fully functional robotic prototype embedded in a stand-alone automobile dash. The robot has a video camera for face and emotion recognition, touch sensing, and an embedded laser projector inside of the head. Currently a driving simulator is being developed around the AIDA research platform in order to explore this new field of social human-automobile interaction. The researcher's intention is that a future version of the robot based on the current research will be installed into a functioning test vehicle.

The robot is super cute, I wonder how it can be more distracting than it is, maybe it should be installed in the back with the kids as a baby sitter, kids would have a blast with it! Don't miss this video!