Dec 29, 2007

Keepon, BeatBot's robot: Potential to promote social behavior in children with autism spectrum and developmental disorders.

The BeatBots project develops rhythmically intelligent robots for research and entertainment. In the video below, the responsive robot, Keepon, dances to the Spoon song, "Don't You Evah".

Keepon was developed by Hideki Kozima and programmed by Marek Michalowski, from Carnegie Melon.

(The video is available to the public under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.)

According to an article by David Templeton in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"While the videos have proven Keepon's human appeal, the double-bubble yellow fellow's key role is to interact with children. Keepon has shown promise in encouraging social behavior in children with developmental disorders, including autism."

"Keepon's simple appearance makes children comfortable, and its lifelike movement makes it attractive to them," Mr. Michalowski said. "This combination creates an environment in which social interaction is encouraged.""

"While the robot can dance to almost any song, it also can identify visual and other sensory rhythms, helping to prove how rhythm and synchronization in body language are paramount in human interaction. As such, Keepon has schooled roboticists in how to improve human interaction with robots."

An example of Keepon's attentive and emotive actions:

Another example of Keepon's entertainment value - Spoon's "I turn my camera on":

More videos can be found on the BeatBots website.

Dec 26, 2007

My Nokia n800 Internet Tablet!

I recently purchased a Nokia n800 Internet tablet for about $225.00. I'm impressed with all of the features for the price! It works well for making Internet calls via Skype, as it provides an integrated camera/ webcam.

The screen is crisp and easy to read, especially when zoomed in. The screen can be manipulated with a stylus or fingers, and the on-screen keyboard can be enlarged to allow for finger-typing.

Playing around with the device, I can see that it has potential for use in education.
In my opinion, the n800 the potential to support low-cost assisted technology and augmented communication applications.

Screen shot of pictures on flickr.

A few specs:

  • Direct access to shared media over Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) connectivity and Windows network shares
  • Rhapsody Music service client (only available in US)
  • Direct access to Nokia Internet Radio Directory with free internet radio stations available
  • Supported audio formats: AAC, MP3, WMA, AMR, AWB, M4A, MP2, RA (RealAudio), WAV
  • Supported video formats: 3GP, AVI, H.263, H.264, MP4, ASF, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV 7/8/9 (RealVideo)
  • Supported playlist formats: M3U, PLS, ASX, WAX, WVX, WPL
  • Desktop applet for internet radio
  • Storage support for memory cards up to 8GB
  • Additional specifications


Nokia nSeries n800

Detailed Review of n800 running OS2008
(Tips, tricks, hacks, and news about Nokia Internet Tablets and related technology.)

Maemo Downloads for the n800

Internet Tablet Talk

Internet Tablet Wiki

The m-Learning potential of the n800

Linux on Board: Developing for the Nokia n800

Dec 10, 2007

Cross Post: Microsoft Research SenseCam

From the Microsoft Research SenseCam Website:

"SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn. Unlike a regular digital camera or a cameraphone, SenseCam does not have a viewfinder or a display that can be used to frame photos. Instead, it is fitted with a wide-angle (fish-eye) lens that maximizes its field-of-view. This ensures that nearly everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera, which is important because a regular wearable camera would likely produce many uninteresting images."

Technology Review Article

The SenseCam application has the potential to be a resource for people who have developmental delays, traumatic brain injury, severe attention deficits, and autism spectrum disorders. It would be a great tool for special educators, occupational and speech/language therapists, and rehabilitation specialists.

Images from Microsoft Research:

Dec 9, 2007

Seth Sandler's AudioTouch Multi-user Musical Table

Seth Sandler is an undergraduate student finishing a Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts with an emphasis in Music at the University of Southern California, San Diego.

Seth has been focusing his energies on research and developing a Multi-user, Multi-touch musical interface.

Here is a video of some musical multi-touch applications:

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I'm pretty sure this will have a place in the music education world.

Seth is a member of the The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. , (Natural User Interface), an interactive media group researching and creating open source machine sensing techniques to benefit artistic and educational applications.

Link to a great post about serious games and virtual reality in business

Elaine Alhadeff's Future-Making Serious Games blog has a wealth of interesting information for people interested in how interactive multimedia technology can impact the present- and the future. Take the time to visit her blog and take a look!

Here is a slice from one of her latest posts:

Via: daytaOhio - Barco and daytaOhio Equipped Collaborative Visualization Complex at Wright State’s Joshi Research Center

"Barco, a leading global provider of visual display systems, has partnered with daytaOhio to implement the industry’s most advanced virtual collaboration and visualization complex at Wright State University’s Joshi Research Center. "

It is exciting to learn about the growth in collaborative visualization! The businessmen below seem to be enjoying the experience:

For more interesting ideas, look at Eliane's archived posts about serious games.

Dec 6, 2007

iSocial: A Virtual Social Space for Youth with ASD, built with Croquet

iSocial is a 3D environment developed to support conversation and positive social skills for young people who have autism spectrum disorders. iSocial is a work in progress, designed by a team of researchers at the University of Missouri.

iSocial runs on Croquet, an open-source 3D SDK/tool designed to build 3D virtual collaborative environments. (EduSim applications also run on Croquet.)

iSocial Video

3D Virtual Learning Environment: Quest Atlantis

Quest Atlantis is an immersive 3-D learning environment for students, developed by researchers at the University of Indiana. For more information and links, read the post on the TechPsych blog.

Dec 5, 2007

Interaction Tomorrow: SIGGRAPH Course Materials On-line

If you are interested in interaction design for the future, take a look at the course notes from Interaction Tomorrow, presented at SIGGRAPH 2007.

Here is the course abstract:

"This course provides a comprehensive overview to user interface technologies on the newly emerging interactive tabletops and large wall displays. The course will cover input devices, interface metaphors, modality of interaction, sensing technologies, applications, and future directions. Materials will be drawn from both commercial systems and research prototypes." The Interaction Tomorrow is a document that contains 172 pages of pictures and text.

The course was organized by Michael Haller, from the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, and Chia Shen, from the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories. The lecturers included Gerald Morrison, from Smart Technologies, Bruce H. Thomas, from the University of Southern Australia, and Andy Wilson from Microsoft Research.


The course website

This was cross-posted on the Technology Supported Human-World Interaction blog.