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Nabaztag, the Wi-Fi enabled ambient bunny March 3, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays, gadgets, innovative interfaces, physical interaction design.
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nabaztag.jpgNabaztag (Armenian for “rabbit”) is a Wi-Fi enabled rabbit, manufactured by Violet. The Nabaztag is a “smart object” that can connect to the Internet (for example to download weather forecasts, read its owner’s email, etc). It is also fully customizable and programmable.

Nabaztag can send and receive MP3s and messages that are read out loud as well as perform the following services (by either speaking the information out loud or using indicative lights): weather forecast, stock market report, news headlines, alarm clock, e-mail alerts, and others.

Some users join the Rabbit’s community by sharing photos of their Nabaztags on flickr, videos on YouTube and DailyMotion. It is also possible to find other rabbits on Google Earth and check all the posts about Nabaztag over at Technorati.

Learn more and watch some fun demos at: www.nabaztag.com


Touch – an urban interactive installation February 19, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in interactive installations.
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Touch is an urban interactive installation by the Belgian digital design and art lab, LAb[au], Laboratory for Architecture and Urbanism. The installation is placed at the base of the 145 meter high Dexia Tower in Brussels, Belgium. The installation allows the 4200 windows of the tower to be individually colour-enlightened by RGB-LED bars, turning the facade into an immense display which can be control by the users at the station for interaction placed at the base of the tower.

This station for interaction contains a multi touch screen which supports both touch and gesture based interaction. The touch screen allows multiple inputs and thus on the one hand allows people to interact with more than one finger, and on the other hand it allows people to interact together, thereby extending individual interaction to a collective experience.

Once a composition is created a snapshot is taken from a distant location, this subsequently can be sent as an electronic postcard. The picture is also uploaded on the project website where people can retrieve their postcard in an electronic and printable format.

Check out the live stream video of Touch until 15 January 2007.

Volume February 19, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in innovative interfaces, music.
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Volume is a luminous interactive installation that was presented this winter at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Volume is a sculpture of light and sound and consists of an array of light columns positioned dramatically in the centre of the Madejski Garden at the V&A. The installation responds to human movement, creating a series of audio-visual experiences. Visitors at the V&A were invited to step inside and see their actions at play with the energy fields throughout the space, triggering a brilliant display of light and sound.

Volume is created by United Visual Artists in a collaboration with Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack and his long-term co-writer Neil Davidge.

Volume was exhibited at the V&A from 24 November 2006 to 28 January 2007, and was presented in collaboration with the Playstation Season.

reactable February 18, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in innovative interfaces, music, physical interaction design.
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The reactable is a multi-user electro-acoustic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving physical artefacts on the table surface and constructing different audio topologies in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language.

The reactable hardware is based on a translucent round table. A video camera situated beneath, continuously analyzes the table surface, tracking the nature, position and orientation of the objects that are distributed on its surface, representing the components of a classic modular synthesizer. These objects are passive without any sensors or actuators, users interact by moving them, changing their position, their orientation or their faces (in the case of volumetric objects). These actions directly control the topological structure and parameters of the sound synthesizer. A projector, also from underneath the table, draws dynamic animations on its surface, providing a visual feedback of the state, the activity and the main characteristics of the sounds produced by the audio synthesizer.

More info: http://www.iua.upf.es/mtg/reacTable/

Basic demo 1:

Basic demo 2:

musicBottles February 18, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in innovative interfaces, music, physical interaction design.
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jazzbottles.gif musicBottles is a project from MIT’s Tangible Media Group. It introduces a tangible interface that deploys bottles as containers and controls for digital information. The system consists of a specially designed table and three corked bottles that “contain” different sounds.

Custom-designed electromagnetic tags embedded in the bottles enable each one to be wirelessly identified. The opening and closing of a bottle is also detected. When a bottle is placed onto the stage area of the table and the cork is removed, the corresponding instrument becomes audible. A pattern of colored light is rear-projected onto the table’s translucent surface to reflect changes in pitch and volume. The interface allows users to structure the experience of the musical composition by physically manipulating the different sound tracks.

More info and videos at: http://tangible.media.mit.edu/projects/musicbottles/

About ambient displays February 14, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays.

Current information interfaces are either interruptive or too detailed. With ambient displays the physical environment becomes an interface to digital information rendered as subtle changes in form, movement, sound, color or light.

For the first time in history, ubiquitous wireless networks can affordably deliver digital information anytime, anywhere. The result for most of us is cacophony. Ambient wants to make the world calmer. Some information requires constant awareness.

For some it’s the status of their portfolio, or the health of an aging parent. Others want to know if their friends are online, the upcoming weather, the score of a game, if the fish are biting, or if there’s heavy traffic on their drive home. These are examples of information that is neither worthy of interrupt (push), nor worthy of investing time (pull). This type of information should be glanceable, like a clock or barometer. This is called ambient information.

Ambient devices elegantly embed digital information into the objects and environments that surround us. These displays are in the form of sound, air pressure, motion, light, smell, and other media that complement the full range of our human sensory modalities. They exist in the periphery of our senses, where they provide continuous information without being distracting.

Source: www.ambientdevices.com

Ambient Orb February 14, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays, innovative interfaces.
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ambient_orb.jpg The Ambient Orb is a device that slowly transitions between thousands of colors to show changes in the weather, the health of your stock portfolio, or if your boss or friend is on instant messenger. It is a simple wireless object that unobtrusively presents information.

The Ambient Orb may look like a crystal ball on acid, but it’s really more of a giant mood ring–plugged straight into the fluctuations of the stock market or anything else you care to track. The orb can be wirelessly configured to track any individual stock, any market index or your personal portfolio. “People want information, but they don’t want to invest a lot of time in getting it,” says Ambient president David Rose. “This makes getting information a ‘glanceable’ thing.”

It can be purchased online here for US$150 + shipping.

Dangling String February 14, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays, innovative interfaces.

calmtech00004.gif Created by artist Natalie Jeremijenko, the “Dangling String” is one of the earliest expamles for Ambient Interfaces. Those interfaces lie in the periphery of our perception.

It consists of an 8 foot piece of plastic spaghetti that hangs from a small electric motor mounted in the ceiling. The motor is electrically connected to a nearby Ethernet cable, so that each bit of information that goes past causes a tiny twitch of the motor. A very busy network causes a madly whirling string with a characteristic noise; a quiet network causes only a small twitch every few seconds.

Placed in an unused corner of a hallway, the long string is visible and audible from many offices without being obtrusive.

Multi-touch II February 14, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in innovative interfaces, physical interaction design.
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Here is how Jeff Han’s multi-touch technology has evolved since last summer.

Physical Interaction Design talk by Prof. Reto Wettach February 13, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in physical interaction design, podcast.
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On August/2006, Professor Reto Wettach from the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany, gave a talk on Physical Interaction Design at Carnegie Mellon University.

The podcast of this talk can be found here.