Proof-of-concept interface design project from MIT Tangible Media Group demonstrates a system combining the use of a smartphone with a desktop computer - video embedded below:
THAW is a novel interaction system that allows a collocated large display and small handheld devices to seamlessly work together. The smartphone acts both as a physical interface and as an additional graphics layer for near-surface interaction on a computer screen. Our system enables accurate position tracking of a smartphone placed on or over any screen by displaying a 2D color pattern that is captured using the smartphone’s back-facing camera. The proposed technique can be implemented on existing devices without the need for additional hardware.
High-Low Tech have put together some tools and techniques to integrate electronics into craft works:
We’ve developed a set of tools and techniques that make it easy to use microcontrollers as an art or craft material, embedding them directly into drawings or other artifacts. We use the ATtiny45 from Atmel, a small and cheap (~$1) microcontroller that can be glued directly to paper or other objects. We then construct circuits using conductive silver ink, dispensed from squeeze bottles with needle tips. This makes it possible to draw a circuit, adding lights, speakers, and other electronic components. Alternatively, you can make circuits with copper tape (as well as simple circuits without microcontrollers).
To program the microcontroller, we’ve developed a set of hardware and software tools. The TinyProgrammer plugs into the USB port of a computer and loads a program onto the microcontroller. We’ve also developed a plugin for the Arduino software that makes it easy to write the code that runs on the microcontroller. We call this set of tools an “untoolkit” because it provides the ease-of-use of other electronic toolkits but using off-the-shelf electronic components.
MIT Media Lab makes an attempt to see how 3D monitors could be constructed with current available technology. Above is not some new type of glitch art (yet algorithms are used for visual compression) - they are images for several layers which will be played simultaneously to form a moving image with depth. The video embedded below demonstrates their method:
As striking as it is, the illusion of depth now routinely offered by 3-D movies is a paltry facsimile of a true three-dimensional visual experience. In the real world, as you move around an object, your perspective on it changes. But in a movie theater showing a 3-D movie, everyone in the audience has the same, fixed perspective — and has to wear cumbersome glasses, to boot.
Despite impressive recent advances, holographic television, which would present images that vary with varying perspectives, probably remains some distance in the future. But in a new paper featured as a research highlight at this summer’s Siggraph computer-graphics conference, the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture group offers a new approach to multiple-perspective, glasses-free 3-D that could prove much more practical in the short term.
Researchers show that memories reside in specific brain cells
From MIT News - Simply activating a tiny number of neurons can conjure an entire memory:
Our fond or fearful memories — that first kiss or a bump in the night — leave memory traces that we may conjure up in the remembrance of things past, complete with time, place and all the sensations of the experience. Neuroscientists call these traces memory engrams.
But are engrams conceptual, or are they a physical network of neurons in the brain? In a new MIT study, researchers used optogenetics to show that memories really do reside in very specific brain cells, and that simply activating a tiny fraction of brain cells can recall an entire memory — explaining, for example, how Marcel Proust could recapitulate his childhood from the aroma of a once-beloved madeleine cookie.
“We demonstrate that behavior based on high-level cognition, such as the expression of a specific memory, can be generated in a mammal by highly specific physical activation of a specific small subpopulation of brain cells, in this case by light,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at MIT and lead author of the study reported online today in the journal Nature. “This is the rigorously designed 21st-century test of Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield’s early-1900s accidental observation suggesting that mind is based on matter.”
To avoid printing the entire world, it is necessary to specify the region you wish to process. By placing a combination of specific blocks (obsidian, diamond, gold, iron) at two points you can define the 3 dimensional area to print. Two words of warning.
Step 3: Print it
Minecraft.Print() then outputs a standard model file for printing to either a professional 3D printer or (MakerBot or RepRap). Now that you’ve printed out your creation, it’s time to show it off. We figure you know how to do this part.
MIT Media Lab Professor Tod Machover discusses his robotic opera, Death and the Powers.
From MIT News:
Later this month, the Opera of the Future Group at the MIT Media Lab will premiere Death and the Powers, an opera more than 10 years in the making. Featuring life-sized singing robots and a musical chandelier, the opera could redefine how technology can enhance live performance and help reestablish opera’s spirit of innovation.
A method / tool for generating a 3D form from 2D input to create a 2.5D example:
We present a way to bring cartoon objects and characters into the third dimension, by giving them the ability to rotate and be viewed from any angle. We show how 2D vector art drawings of a cartoon from different views can be used to generate a novel structure, the 2.5D cartoon model, which can be used to simulate 3D rotations and generate plausible renderings of the cartoon from any view. 2.5D cartoon models are easier to create than a full 3D model, and retain the 2D nature of hand-drawn vector art, supporting a wide range of stylizations that need not correspond to any real 3D shape.
Results are pretty convincing. On the web page, there is even a model designer for Windows users.
Imagine you could draw musical instruments on normal paper with any pencil (cheap circuit thumb-tacked on) and then play them with your finger. The Drawdio circuit-craft lets you MacGuyver your everyday objects into musical instruments: paintbrushes, macaroni, trees, grandpa, even the kitchen sink…
One day I bought a “harmonium” kit at the street market in Bangalore. I hacksawed the keyboard off to make the first ever Drawdio circuit. We played with it at a local school in the slums using plants, water, our foreheads, etc. My friend told me graphite would work too. Meditating on it, I realized the Drawdio circuit should be literally attached to a pencil to “draw audio,” and that’s where the name came from: Draw + Audio.
Karl Sims - Evolved Virtual Creatures, Evolution Simulation, 1994
This video shows results from a research project involving simulated Darwinian evolutions of virtual block creatures. A population of several hundred creatures is created within a supercomputer, and each creature is tested for their ability to perform a given task, such the ability to swim in a simulated water environment. Those that are most successful survive, and their virtual genes containing coded instructions for their growth, are copied, combined, and mutated to make offspring for a new population. The new creatures are again tested, and some may be improvements on their parents. As this cycle of variation and selection continues, creatures with more and more successful behaviors can emerge.