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March 31, 2005

SCOOT: a reality adventure game

08:54 AM games + locative + telephony

SCOOT is a mixed reality experience designed by Deb Polson and Marcos Caceres, to explore the potentials of location-based games.

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Players have to solve clues located both in the real world and the virtual world. They interact with strange objects, receive information via SMS to their phones and have to text their answers to the games clues back to SCOOT.

As part of their journey around the site players will be introduced to the area and its surrounds. This orientation will not only be spatial, as the game explores also the history of the place and its dynamics.

SCOOT will be at the ACMI in Federation Square, Melbourne, on April 9.

Via Selectparks.
More location-based mobile phone games here.

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The "intelligent rest room" system

06:56 AM ubiquitous computing

Japanese companies Yamato House and TOTO have created the "intelligent rest room" system which integrates into the bathroom monitors your family's vital statistics (urine sugar levels, blood pressure, body fat percentages and weight) at the same time every day. The results can immediately be checked on an LCd screen on the wall and are also uploaded to the family computer where a health care software can advise on diet, exercise, etc.

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The urine measurement equipment is installed into the toilet bowl; the scales are into the floor in front of the mirror; the blood pressure meter is installed next to the toilet, enabling the seated subject to multi-task while the body fat meter is on the side of the handbasin.

Via Gizmag.

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March 30, 2005

RFID tags for eggs, sperm and embryos

09:39 PM rfid

To avoid accidents in clinics, like using the wrong sperm to fertilise egg of a woman undergoing an IVF treatment, the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is considering labelling all embryos, eggs and sperm with barcodes or electronic ID tags. The idea is that an alarm will sound if the wrong eggs and sperm are brought close to one another or if a doctor attempts to collect the wrong embryo to implant into a mother-to-be.

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IMT International is already developing barcodes for IVF procedures. Digital cameras built into the clinic’s benches read the barcodes off the labelled dishes containing eggs. A computer reads the codes, and sounds an alarm if they do not match with the patient.

The RFID tags would work in a similar way.

The HFEA is investigating whether such a system would be safe, as radio waves might harm embryos. IVF Witness, an RFID system being developed by Research Instruments has been tested on mouse embryos and, thought the tests are not complete, “it looks very, very good that there’s going to be no problem with it,” claims David Lansdowne, technical director at the company.

Via New Scientist.

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You've been nicked - by a lamppost

05:16 PM privacy

Q Star FlashCam-530 vociferous lampposts are being deployed across the UK.

The FlashCam has already been attached to street furniture in 52 locations in London, Glasgow and Birmingham, where it aims at detering vandalism, in particular graffiti and illegal trash dumping. Water companies are using the system to protect water storage tanks against intruders. Some systems are being used to deter burglary, drug dealing and prostitution.

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The FlashCam-530 senses motion up to 100 feet away. When motion is detected, the system starts taking 35 mm photographs. A bright flash goes off and a loud voice message warns the intruder to "leave the area now" and that his/her photograph is being taken.

Former London Met police officer Steve Galinsky enthused: "They have already caught lots of people - some quite literally with their pants down, engaged with prostitutes. The look of utter amazement on their faces when the camera starts to shout is priceless."

However, The Guardian wonders exactly how the FlashCam distinguishes between strumpets administering sexual relief to punters and old ladies out walking their dogs.

Via The Register.

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PDA-based auditory navigation system

04:51 PM locative

Melodious Walkabout, by Richard Etter, is a wearable system that guides a user by contextualizing audio contents s/he is listening to. The system doesn't use speech and allows the user to listen to her/his own audio contents while being aware of the location of the destination.

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Say you're located in an unknown town. Usually you ask people for the way and struggle with maps. With Melodious Walkabout, you just put on headphones and select your destination and favorite songs on your PDA. The music begins and audio contents reach you from a certain direction. The direction of the virtual sound source unobtrusively tells you in which direction to go.

Melodious Walkabout consists of:
1. A Bluetooth GPS-receiver.
2. A Geographical Information System that calculates the direction and distance to the destination.
3. An Auditory Display that renders personal audio contents in real-time according to the GIS.

Don't miss Richard Etter's other project AwareFashion, a shirt that senses your digital and social environment.

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Nuage vert

02:56 PM green

Nuage Vert (Green Cloud) is part of Hehe's free research into altering our perception of pollution.

Whenever we see a chimney emitting smoke or vapour we think of it as pollution. But these emissions function also as weather-veins and landmarks in the urban landscape. If such smoke signals were to signal recycling, displaying the local effort made by citizens when they recycle more (or less), the chimney would then be a sign of environmental effort as well as waste.

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The waste incineration site at St Ouen (near Paris) treats the waste that comes from ordinary household bins and the waste which has been rejected from the local recycling site.

The constant plume emitted from the site is visible for miles. It consists mostly of water vapour and emits small levels of dioxins. The aim of the Nuage Vert project is to raise the level of awareness and participation amongst consumers.

The colour image on the cloud will change depending upon the ratio between the amount of daily waste collected for recycling and that collected for incineration.

The work will be presented at this year's edition of PixelAche in Helsinki.

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Hand drawn animations for DS

10:01 AM art + games

Dennis Baraba is using the DS to create hand drawn animations that he calls Pictomations. His fabulous collection includes shorts featuring Katamari Damacy, Solid Snake, Resident Evil 4’s Leon, etc.

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Via Kotaku.

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Brain-computer interface for music

09:22 AM sound

The Future Music Lab at the University of Plymouth, England, is looking for new modes of interaction with musical systems through bio-signal interfacing, networks and responsive environments.

One of the projects the team is working on is a "brain cap" that can detect and recognize musical ideas in the minds of composers with up to 99 percent accuracy. Project leader Eduardo Reck Miranda reported up to 99 percent accuracy in recognizing specific electroencephalogram patterns for musical ideas using a 128-electrode EEG brain cap with signal-processing algorithms.

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"When the technology is more mature we will test it with musician patients at the Royal Hospital of Neuro-Disability in London" said Miranda. "The idea is to let these patients have the opportunity to continue making music, provided that the brain damage did not impair their musical cognition."

Although the musical ideas tested were extremely simplistic, compared with the complexity of musical composition, the team has demonstrated that the idea of interfacing the brain with computers for musical applications is no longer a science fiction fantasy.

Miranda also plans to switch from the 128-electrode brain cap (rather cumbersome and inelegant) to a magnetic encephalogram, which records the magnetic field generated by neural activity. MEGs are less well-developed than EEGs, but they should provide more accurate, localized signals that might not even require a cap.

Via this annoyingly good blog. Further info.

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Designer paper bags

09:03 AM sex

Designer Paperbags currently on display in Montreal design gallery Madam Edgar are available for auctions on eBay. This one caught my eye:

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Grabbed on sexblo.gs < k10k.

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Gems for people who really care

08:24 AM design

For The Diamond Project, New York-based Tobias Wong has designed items that derides our designer/label-infatuated society.

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The Hidden Diamond Ring hides the gem inside the band, no one can see it, but Who else should care? anyway. The series includes also the Ultimate Reverse Setting ring which has a sharp diamond that makes it the perfect killer ring or surface tagger, the Rubber Bouncing Ball infused with 2 carats of micro diamonds, etc.

In 1998, Wong made the 24hrs of pure silver leaf, pill with pure silver in it to make your poo sparkle.

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TCPunk Flyer Archive

07:19 AM vintage

Gallery of punk flyers.

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Via linkfilter.

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March 29, 2005

Tweed and lace for buildings

03:55 PM architecture

For Chanel’s new Tokyo headquarters, Darren Nolan, Peter Marino + Associates turned to LEDs to illuminate its façade.
The building is completely transparent by day and lanternlike at night. LEDs, imbedded on the glass and metal façade, change light patterns each night, simulating for example Chanel’s tweed.

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Via UnBeige < the Architect's Newspaper's article on light and architecture.

In France, for the Future Musée de la Dentelle in Calais, architects Alain Moatti and Henri Rivière, will embroider (read "perforate") the white aluminium facade of the building. The piercing allows light to invade the interior of the edifice in the daytime. During the night, the artificial light inside the museum will create a lace pattern to be admired from the outside of the building.

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Related: Klein Dytham Garden Chapel's lace pattern.

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Alternative Motivational Posters

03:53 PM art

Orlando-based Right Brain Terrain is producing Alternative Motivational Posters. Hardest thing is to find enough motivation to choose one.

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Also on Josh Spear's.

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Temporary Residence of Intelligent Agents

12:23 PM activism + sousveillance

The aim of the TROIA -Temporary Residence of Intelligent Agents- project is to focus public awareness and discussion on the technologies of political control which are taking ground in Europe.

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TROIA is developimg a huge transportable stage that will function like a Trojan Horse by infiltrating the concious and unconcious precepts of both the visitors and passers by alike. Though it has the appearance of a gift it carries a dangerous and at times subversive content.

The subject matter is communicated by performers acting as undercover agents provocateurs following a script generated by each host country where TROIA is exhibited. The actors, not detectable as such, mingle with the crowd and go to see the event with them. Their task is to initiate conversations and to infiltrate the public space with information and opinions.

This combination of subtle dissemination and spectacular form should open a field of tension within the visitor that lasts well after the project is finished ...

Video at the bottom of this page.
Via PixelSumo and Networked_performance.

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3D animated ads

10:11 AM advertising

Barcelona-based company TheSpecialThing has developed 3D animated advertising that floats in the air. No need to get a pair of those special eyeglasses. The trapezoid Imagepro3D black box contains an optical system and a patented software, both linked to a digital display that projects the images.

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The images can rotate, move, look like they are building or desconstructing themselves, etc. Special sound effects can also be added.

The system can be used in museum as well, enabling visitors to view the artefacts better and in total security.

Via Ariadna.

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Gossips wall

09:26 AM augmented reality

The Hello.Wall, developed at the Fraunhofer Institute, is an ambient display that emits information via light patterns. While it fulfils an informative role for the initiated members of an organization or a place, others might see it as an atmospheric decorative element and enjoy its aesthetic quality. The work is therefore at the crossroads of privacy-enhancing technology and informative art.

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The Hello.Wall can rely on other artefacts to communicate more detailed information. These mobile devices are called View.Ports. Depending on their access rights and the current situation [e.g., distance to the wall], people can use View.Ports to decode visual codes/light patterns, to download or just browse information [e.g., video], to paint signs on the wall, or to access a message announced by a light pattern.

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SIAM is a task-management system able to foster group communication and provide awareness of what other people are doing. SIAM focuses on a collaboration infrastructure and user interface to manage tasks, where every object can be synchronously shared and every change is immediately visualized at all machines.

The Personal Aura enables users to control their appearance in a smart environment. In real life, every person adopts different social roles, depending on their situation and social environment. The Personal Aura enables persons to decide whether they are "visible" and in which social role they want to appear.

Via Eyebeam reBlog < Information aesthetics.

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