Friday, April 20, 2012

A future for TV?

NeXtream offers a potentially interesting TV! "Functionally, television content delivery has remained largely unchanged since the introduction of television networks. NeXtream explores an experience where the role of the corporate network is replaced by a social network. User interests, communities, and peers are leveraged to determine television content, combining sequences of short videos to create a set of channels customized to each user. This project creates an interface to explore television socially, connecting a user with a community through content, with varying levels of interactivity: from passively consuming a series, to actively crafting one's own television and social experience."

This is a very interesting approach and project that not only challenges everything that makes TV lame, but also what makes watching content on a laptop based on friends' recommendations on social networks more integrated. TV becomes a new social activity, with tailored content. The only issue here is repetition that one might find in social networks. If your friends only watch gossipy content, you end up only hearing about that on your TV. On the bright side, it is also a channel to discover entirely new content by filtering and reviewing users "a la" stumbleupon. It was designed and built by ReeD Martin, Ana Luisa Santos, Mike Shafran, Henry Holtzman, and Marie-José Montpetit at the MIT Media Lab.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Prenatal genetic testing: a critical design discussion


Interventionist Healer: This object serves the family who views their genetic mutation within a fatalistic, predetermined narrative: They accept the experience of carrying the mutation as part of the family identity, but choose to be active.


This object is given as heirloom to the child who did not inherit the genetic mutation. While physically fortunate in avoiding the illness, in effect they are also excluded from a substantial part of the familyʼs narrative.

With the increased availability of genetic information, the view of our body and identity as a sequence of genes is becoming prevalent. This perception of ourselves has the power to reconstruct our familial relationships and challenge our conception of responsibility, risk and autonomy. Gold and silver, much like a number of genetic cancers, are traditionally passed down the generations as inheritance. The emerging use of precious metals in medicine and especially in cancer treatment draws parallels between material heirloom and genetic ancestry. This series of speculative heirloom objects is based on the medical applications of nanogold particles and responds to the new moral codes of genetic responsibility. Each object address a certain issue within this context; focusing on the emotional and psychological implications of genetic knowledge.How does the comprehension of genetic vulnerability change our behaviour? Can new materials have an effect on our morals and social structures?

Genetic Heirloom by designer Revital Cohen with Partner — The Wellcome Trust. Collaborators: Professor Richard Ashcroft, Professor of Bioethics, School of Law, Queen Mary University,London. Dr Ainsley Newson, The Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol. Professor Andy Miah, Professor in Ethics & Emerging Technologies at the University of West of Scotland.Photography by Gary Hamill.

Hypnotic Audiovisual installation


Very compelling visual and sound work by Ryoichi Kurokawa, rheo: 5 horizons, 2010. Discovered on We Make Money Not Art.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Open source electronic modules that snap!

Little Bits

One of my favorite electronic kit of all time is the one I had found in a yard sale, the Lectron, magnetic electronic blocks to discover the magic of electronics in a minute! This was very cool to find at a yard sale, but I was always wandering why such kits did not exist today. Well... a friend of mine from the MIT Media Lab, Ayah Bdeir, did it beautifully with LittleBits: the magnetic blocks hands-on remain, there is less an "electronic understanding" per se and more of an an "experiment me first" attitude. The design is very well thought out too with the color coded modules and the easy snap-on pieces.Electronic components are classified: input, output, power and wire, are color coded (sooo cute) and easily snap-able. With 50 modules in hands, everything can happen! I can't wait to put my hand on the started kit and see how my little one (just turned 2!) will adjust to this new creative medium!