Archive for October, 2005
The University of Tokyo researchers have developed a flexible artificial skin that could give robots a humanlike sense of touch. The team manufactured a type of “skin” capable of sensing pressure and another capable of sensing temperature.
And they add that there is no need to stop at simply imitating the functions of human skin. “It will be possible in the near future to make an electronic skin that has functions that human skin lacks,” the researchers write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Future artificial skins could incorporate sensors not only for pressure and temperature, but also for light, humidity, strain or sound, they add.
October 29th, 2005
An ‘Operating System’ for contemporary architecture (Arch-OS, ‘software for buildings’) has been developed to manifest the life of a building and provide artists, engineers and scientists with a unique environment for developing transdisciplinary work and new public art.
Arch-OS is a current attempt by the Institute of Digital Art & Technology www.i-dat.org (My old haunt) by members of the School of Computing, Communications and Electronics at the University of Plymouth to develop the evolution in intelligent architecture, interactive art and ubiquitous computing.
Here are the projects so far and here’s one that always gets a good reaction, the ‘Random Lift Button’.
Arch-OS systems (integrated hardware and software) available through this site incorporate a range of embedded technologies to capture audio-visual and raw digital data from a building through a variety of sources which include:
• the ‘Building Energy Management System (BEMS);
• computer and communications networks;
• the flow of people and social interactions;
• ambient noise levels;
• environmental conditions.
October 28th, 2005
Take an LED that produces intense, blue light. Coat it with a thin layer of special microscopic beads called quantum dots. And you have what could become the successor to the venerable light bulb.
The resulting hybrid LED gives off a warm white light with a slightly yellow cast, similar to that of the incandescent lamp.
Until now quantum dots have been known primarily for their ability to produce a dozen different distinct colors of light simply by varying the size of the individual nanocrystals: a capability particularly suited to fluorescent labeling in biomedical applications. But chemists at Vanderbilt University discovered a way to make quantum dots spontaneously produce broad-spectrum white light.
Article from exploration ….
October 27th, 2005
The ReFashion Lab is a concrete example of how architectural space and interactive media can be combined to create new types of interaction.
The ReFashion Lab can be understood as a spatial media interface to information and ambience, addressing various senses in a personalised way. The novelty is the ubiquity of the technology in the space, without involving the visitor in complicated, technical ways of interacting with the technology. Instead the modes of interaction are modelled on existing notions of exploring an environment, like a fashion store.
Technology events in the ReFashion Lab can therefore be understood as an augmentation, or extension of existing real-world experiences. Physical space, artefacts and visitors are essentially joined into new conceptual entities through the use of digital media in a location and time specific, interactive context.
The prototype space offered an opportunity to assess those possible new relationships between people, interactive media and physical world.
The part of the project I most like is MetaMirror built but Tomato Interactive (UK). The MetaMirror is a special installation, overlaying natural reflections with digital media imagery and information.
It plugs into a special media infrastructure, linking space, artefact and media into one entity. The system operating behind the enabled space is able to identify and locate specific items being carried inside. It can then react automatically with a variety of custom events.
This works by tagging the fashion items with a special radio chip, that allows the individual items to be recognised in the space. If a visitor is wearing the item, the space can therefore react with custom experiences relating to the behaviour and movement of the individual.
The MetaMirror is a large scale animated display, that features a video clip looping over the entire surface of the Mirror. Once a visitor is approaching the display, the animation is faded out to turn the pane into a real mirror. Above the persons reflection though, the mirror is showing images and information relating to the item being worn. The material effect of linking reflection and projection into one image is produced by using a special semi-transparent mirror with a strong back projection.
The cognitive issue of linking the presented information event with the artefact carried by the visitor is a challenge to interaction design, but also opens an interesting debate on the further scope of these application in other contexts.
October 26th, 2005