Jun 17, 2011

An Internet of Old Things as an Augmented Memory System: "Tales of Things" allows people to record multimedia stories about objects, linked via QR or RIFD tags.

The following article about "Tales of Things", an interesting augmented memory app, was recently selected for review by Personal and Ubiquitous Computing:

An Internet of Old Things as an Augmented Memory System
Ralph Barthel, Kerstin Leder, Andrew Hudson-Smith, Angelina Karpovich, Martin de Jode, Chris Speed, University College London /  Loughborough University
After watching the following videos and exploring the Tales of Things website, I am sure that this sort of technology will have many uses in education.  Wouldn't it be fun to have a "tales of things" project for a homework assignment?!

In the following video, Chris Speed discusses the Tales of Things project:

Tales of Things Beta: Connecting anything with any media, anywhere!

Below is a video of how an old Fisher Price teaching clock can become part of a "tale of things":

Tales of Things: The Internet of "Old" Things:  Collecting Stories of Objects, Places, and Spaces (pdf)  Ralph Barthel, Andrew Hudson-Smith, Martin de Jode, Benjamin Blundell, CASA Centre For Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, London, United Kingdom

In case you missed this: Microsoft Releases Kinect SDK Beta for PC

Kinect for Windows SDK Beta!   IT IS TRUE!!!!!

My Kinect and PC are waiting for my summer project.    What a great opportunity to "practice" programming over my 5 week summer break..... I already know C#, and I've done a little game programming (ie. AI for Game Development - using XNA Game Studio Express- it has been a while).  
Skeleton tracking image
-Photo credit: Microsoft Research

I have some cool ideas for basic games that might be good for the students I work with who have autism spectrum disorders... and some ideas that might be fun for my grand-baby.  I can't wait to have time to code again!   

Here's some info from the Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK Beta website:

"The Kinect for Windows SDK beta is a programming toolkit for application developers. It enables the academic and enthusiast communities easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running the Windows 7 operating system."

"The Kinect for Windows SDK beta includes drivers, rich APIs for raw sensor streams and human motion tracking, installation documents, and resource materials. It provides Kinect capabilities to developers who build applications with C++, C#, or Visual Basic by using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010."

This SDK includes the following features:

Raw sensor streams
Access to raw data streams from the depth sensor, color camera sensor, and four-element microphone array enables developers to build upon the low-level streams that are generated by the Kinect sensor.
Skeletal tracking
The capability to track the skeleton image of one or two people moving within the Kinect field of view make it easy to create gesture-driven applications.
Advanced audio capabilities
Audio processing capabilities include sophisticated acoustic noise suppression and echo cancellation, beam formation to identify the current sound source, and integration with the Windows speech recognition API.
Sample code and documentation
The SDK includes more than 100 pages of technical documentation. In addition to built-in help files, the documentation includes detailed walkthroughs for most samples provided with the SDK.
Easy installation
The SDK installs quickly, requires no complex configuration, and the complete installer size is less than 100 MB. Developers can get up and running in just a few minutes with a standard standalone Kinect sensor unit (widely available at retail outlets)."

Nicholas Kolakowski, Application Development News, 6/16/11

Summer Blogging Plans - Lots of interesting updates -Sony's Tablet video(s), more to come...

I've been wrapping up the loose ends of the last few weeks of what turned out to be quite a busy school year,  so I haven't posted in about 10 days!    I have lots to cover, including interesting updates about a variety of tech companies I follow.

Today, I'm sharing a video from Sony that highlights the features of the company's iPad-like tablet in a creative way:

The video is the first of a 5-part campaign to promote the S1 and S2 Android tablets  For more information:

Sony Teases New Tablets With a Mysterious Video
Stan Schroeder, Mashable 6/17/11
Sony Launching 2 New Tablets, Both Run Android Honeycomb
Jolie O'Dell, Mashable, 4/26/11

Here's a previous teaser:

"Here's a preview of our two tablets - codename S1 and S2.With the S1 designed for comfort and S2 built for safe portability Sony enters the Tablet arena with two very distinct offerings."-Sony

Note: If you are a new visitor,  I work as a school psychologist in my "day job",  which can spill over to evenings and weekends at times...  I returned to school to take computer and technology courses back in the  '00s,  and started to blogging because it was a requirement for one of my courses.

I never stopped.  

My blogs still serve me well as on-line filing cabinets, since I have a fairly wide range of interests and I like to drill down deeper into topics that strike my fancy.  I'm curious that way.  Because of my interest in interactive multimedia technology,  most of my posts include video clips, photos, and links to interesting websites.    

Jun 7, 2011

A few interesting tech links from Experienta/Putting People First and HCI 596 Blog

No time for reflective blogging today, so here are a few interesting links!

The future of the TV Experience 
(Article discusses Blink, a media industry magazine)

Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces Conference (DPPI 11)

Cambridge Consultants: Patients Want More User-Friendly Medical Devices
Levent Ozler, Dexinger, 6/3/11

Internet of things blurs the lines of bits and atoms
Katia Moskvitch, BBC News, 6/2/11

NESTA: Hot Topics: Digital You-Discussion about Telepresence

Hot Topics - Digital You from NESTA UK on Vimeo.

NESTA is the UK's National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts

The following links provide a wealth of resources related to emerging technologies and human-computer interaction:
Experientia - Putting People First blog
HCI  596 blog 
"This blog is for the HCI 596 course being taught at Iowa State University through it's Human-Computer Interaction program."

Jun 6, 2011

Quick Links: On-line interactive science resources for families from the Charlotte Observer (Better viewed on a large screen TV!)

The following information was compiled by Alicia W. Roberts as a feature related to her recent article in the Charlotte Observer, "Parents find fun online for kids: How to keep boredom at bay and help youngsters learn more about science tis summer".

To enhance the visual impact of many of the following websites, parents should consider  connecting the family computer to their a large HDTV display, if they have one.   This will make it easier to include all members of the family in the process!

YouTube -Videos of science experiments:  youtu.be/773Rv8pZeOs

National Geographic for Kids: www.Kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids .

Free: Science, math and engineering: www.brainpop.com/free_stuff.

Funology - go to the Weird Science tab: www.funology.com.

PBS Kids: www.pbskids.org.

Fun activities: www.edheads.org.

Resources for Science and Parenting
Geology and Earth science: www.all-geo.org/highlyallochthonous/2011/04/backyard-science-isotope-hydrology-style .

Science and math activities: www.parentingscience.com.

"Helping Your Child Learn Science," a reference booklet with experiments: www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/Science/index.html.

U.S. Government Science websites, with downloadable resources: www.science.gov/browse/w_133A.htm.

Citizen Science Websites

Nature's Notebook ( www.usanpn.org/how-observe): Help scientists collect data on how plants and animals respond to climate change.

Firefly Watch ( www.mos.org/fireflywatch/how_to_participate): Are fireflies disappearing?

Science for Citizens ( www.scienceforcitizens.net): Find a project that suits your family.

I'll add a few more resources when I get a moment!

Jun 2, 2011

Interactive Multimedia: Music, Videos and Ads -Choose your POV, Scenes, Timelines, and More -HTML5, JavaScript, WebGL

I thought I'd share some examples of interesting interactive multimedia sites on the web.  It seems that artists, musicians, and ad agency folks have been experimenting with tools such as HTML5, SVG, Canvas, and Web GL.  Some of this work is featured on Google's Chrome Experiments website, and other examples can be found on websites promoting Wrangler Jeans or Ikea furniture.   This sort of content is great on a larger display.

Take some time to watch the videos and explore the links below.  Enjoy!

"Choreographed windows, interactive flocking, custom rendered maps, real-time compositing, procedural drawing, 3D canvas rendering... this Chrome Experiment has them all. "The Wilderness Downtown" is an interactive interpretation of Arcade Fire's song "We Used To Wait" and was built entirely with the latest open web technologies, including HTML5 video, audio, and canvas."

ROME:  "3 Dreams of Black", an Interactive Film by Chris Black (The link leads to the interactive site.)


Wrangler: WORN ACROSS AMERICA (Interactive multimedia 
map - go to "Choose Scenes")

Demo of interaction on an iPad

Interactive Ad for IKEA: "A Better Sleep for Everyone"
The website for this amusing and creative ad campaign was created using HTML5. Here is a description of what you'll find if you follow the above link:

"IKEA is now launchig the Kokokaka produced A Better Sleep for Everyone campaign site, which features IKEA's bedding catalog.  6 different mattresses are shown by 6 Swedish artists, each interpreting a classic lullaby performed in a dreamy and surreal music video.  By scrolling up and down the user can change between the artist's music videos and the different mattresses.  Experience, for instance, a soulful Tingsek having problems falling asleep.  ust like the princess from the famous fairly tale he gets annoyed by something hard under the pile of mattresses.  But guess what? It's not a pea, it's Tingsek's band!  Let yourself fall asleep to beautifully performed lullabies!" 

Agency: Forsman and Bodenfors;  Film Production: Social Club;     Director: RBG6;   
Music: Music Super Circus;  Web Production: Kokokaka;   Photographer: Carl Nilsson

Below are videos of two of the lullabies featured in the interactive ad:

Here is a video from the interactive IKEA Come Into The Closet  website from a year or two ago:

"This is a campaign to promote IKEA's wardrobe solutions. IKEA wanted to show their huge range of styles and all the smart features on the inside. All the movements on the web site are controlled by sound and music. So change songs, upload your own music, play on your keyboard or sing into the microphone."

Cacophony: An interactive video player in HTML5 and Javascript
"The basic elements of a Cacophony video are: An HTML5 Video on the base layer, a series of HTML5 Canvas layers above that, a timeline of effects to be triggered to the beat of the song, images and other elements to be used by the effects"

Jun 1, 2011

Fun, weird, and a little scary: "Baaa" and "Cows&Cows&Cows" - video clips by Cyriak Harris for a quick smile!

Cyriak Harris is a freelance animator, illustrator, and graphic designer who lives near Brighton, UK. He uses Adobe software to create his unique animations.

Baaa "Experiments in ovine geometry",  featuring self-replicating sheep:

"surreal bovine choreography. No cows were harmed during the making of this video, though their future prospects probably aren't as optimistic. Software used: adobe after effects"

I liked the fractal hand experiment:

Here is an interesting music video experiment:

Cyriak's Blog
Cyriak's Website
Cyriak's Wikipedia Page