Monthly Archives: November 2011

Mobile, hand held, wearables and locative content: Sixth Sense by Pattie Maes

During the 2009 TED conference, MIT professor Pattie Maes and her student Pranav Mistry presented a portable wearable device called “Sixth Sense”. “Sixth Sense” is basically comprised of a mini-projector, a smart phone, and a webcam connected to a lanyard around the users neck.

The actual cost of the components runs around $350 to produce. Maes states that the “device is totally mobile and in the future would not cost more than today’s cell phone”. During the presentation Maes continues to state that “We take in information from the world with our five senses, but by harnessing the power of the web, we could take in so much more.” The way the device works is rather similar to the Microsoft Surface interface in that hand gestures manipulate objects and indicate commands. Very similar to the interface showcased in the movie ”Minority Report”.

Must state that the demonstration is very impressive indeed. Unlike other mobile devices, Sixth Sense does not require an actual surface, but uses a “webcam to interpret gesture”. For example if the user wants to take a photo of an item or location, he/she can simply make a picture gesture in order to take a photo.

Also if a user wants to know the time they can simply drawing a circle on their wrist in order to view the time and date. During the 2009 TED conference presentation the device shown appeared rather clunky, requiring the user to wear colorful plastic caps on their fingers in order to interpret the relationships between what they are interacting with and the device. It is astonishing to see how far technology has come along and hope to be able to purchase a more refined version of this device in the near future!


Artist Machines and Interactive Devices Article : Sensor band and Atau Tanaka

Sensorband is a trio of instrumentalist who performed during 1993 to 2003. The trio consists of Atau Tanaka, Edwin van der Heide and Zbigniew Karkowski.  Sensorband is described as a “sensor instrument ensemble”. Each band member plays a virtual instrument which “captures gestures and corporeal movements” in order to create melodious sonic streams and pulses. Each musician uses interactive electronics in order to create music from “bioelectric signals, infrared and ultrasound”. One of the musician’s, Atau Tanaka utilizes a device called the BioMuse.

Atau Tanaka is a Japanese/American artist based in Paris, France. Tanaka, a composer and performer in the field of technology and music, “creates music for sensor instruments, wireless network infrastructures, and democratized digital forms”. Due to his knowledge of digital data he has adapted a device called the BioMuse. The BioMuse is a multi-purpose “neural interface/biocontroller”. This device allows the performer to create music with physical gestures and neural activity while using a hand-held controller.  A sensor on the devise captures these gestures and translates them into digital data.


It is interesting to witness each musicians creating harmonious sounds, in absence of traditional physical instruments. Believe it would be fair to state what a peculiar experience it would be to witness the creation of this virtual symphony of sound.


Live and Interactive Cinema: Late Fragment by the Canadian Film Center

Late Fragment is North America’s first dramatic interactive feature film. It was written and directed by Mateo Guez, Daryl Cloran and Anita Doron. A product of the Canadian Film Center, this 168 minute long interactive film lets the audience piece together and experience the cinematic narrative in a number of ways.

According to the backgrounder on the film’s Facebook group page, “Late Fragment also retains the focus on complex character-driven stories surrounding love, hate, death, revelation and justice.” The story revolves around three strangers whose lives are shredded by acts violence. An article on http://www.blogto.com notes that there are “3 acts, 9 chapters, 3 endings, 139 scenes, 380 components, 10 loops and 10 rabbit holes”. The viewer as the option to click “enter” to continue on with one character’s storyline, or scene or click another film clip to view another storyline.

Late Fragment is the first project created and produced, through the CFC Media Lab’s, which is primarily designed for a DVD platform. Since this film is primarily designed for the DVD platform it may explain why upon watching the online Demo, navigating through the various storylines proved to be slightly challenging. CFC Media Lab has been experimenting with the creation, development, and production of the interactive films since 1997. For information on the film, please visit http://latefragment.com.


Game Play : Myfanwy Ashmore’s Mario Battle No. 1.

In 2000 Ashmore’s hacked into the Super Mario Brothers game ROM and significantly modified the video game. In Myfanwy Ashmore’s Mario trilogy, “gamers are invited to play” a hacked version of the Super Mario Brothers battle no. 1. In the game Ashmore removes all of the architectural gaming elements within the first level of the game, leaving a blank landscape in which Mario perpetually walks along.
By hacking into the game Ashmore has “modified the video games by exploiting glitches in the code, adding or removing elements in the game and isolating specific visual components”.
On http://www.myfanwy.ca, Ashmore notes that she “removed all of the enemies, performance enhancing drugs, money, and architecture from the game so all that you can do is jump, walk, run around and dance in the landscape with the bushes and the grass and the mountains. Eventually you run out of time and die.”
By removing the elements of game play Ashmore effectively illustrates the purpose and importance of the game’s competitive particularities and user challenging components.