Fastcodesign. What Happens When Video Games Can Read Your Face. Game developers have always been interested in how players might react to the characters and plots they created—but what if they could tell exactly how the player was feeling and tailor the game to their mood? "Back in the olden days we had to do a lot of guesswork as game designers," says Erin Reynolds, the creative director of the gaming company Flying Mollusk. "Is the player enjoying this? Is the player bored? You had to create a game that was one size fits all. " But all that is changing fast. Affectiva, an MIT Media Lab spin-off that creates technology that recognizes people's emotions by analyzing subtle facial movements, has created a plugin that game developers can integrate into their games to make them more emotion-aware.
This marks Affectiva's first foray into the gaming space; the technology is also used in other industries better understand how people react to advertising and political polling, among other things. Moving? Students Devise A Smarter Way To Pack Boxes. Moving is the worst. Even if you’ve got the cash to pay for professional help, you’re still left with that sinking feeling six months later that some heirloom was lost at the bottom of a long-gone cardboard box.
Could there be a better way? A concept called Argo, by a group of Carnegie Mellon students working in partnership with Ford, may be it. Argo looks like a handheld scanner that you’d see at the checkout counter of a clothing store, but you actually set it on the corner of a box that you’re packing, and it automatically catalogs each item that goes in. Basically, Argo tracks your packing to create a realtime inventory of what's located where. Scannable tags help you identity the exact contents of every box, providing a popup list. Of course, camera systems like the Microsoft Kinect—which could theoretically be set up to track where you place everything in your house all the time—could perform a similar function. Android Wear's New Strategy For Success In The Apple Watch Era. Some stomachs must have been turning at the Googleplex when Apple Watch sales estimates started rolling in last month.
Although Apple hasn’t revealed any official sales numbers—and says it doesn’t plan to—several unofficial estimates claim that Apple has at least cracked the 1 million sales mark. Google's Android Wear platform only shipped 720,000 units in all of 2014, according to Canalys. Just as it did with smartphones and tablets, Apple has essentially created the smartwatch market.
But don't write off Android Wear just yet. Through a series of seemingly low-key changes, Google is quietly positioning itself for a stronger second act. An Update Will Make For Better Apps A few weeks ago, Google announced Android Wear 5.1.1, and while the version number doesn't suggest major improvements, the update will make third-party apps much more useful. Google will also make it easier to open smartwatch apps in the first place with a launcher that users can open by tapping on the main screen. The Problem With 'Deaf Person Hears for the First Time' Videos. Screenshot/YouTube I admit it: I'm a total sucker for "inspirational" viral videos that pop up on Facebook and Twitter, especially if there are bunnies involved. But there's one video I'm completely sick of seeing and will be happy to never see again—ones where deaf people are able to hear for the first time.
One of the latest made the rounds today, featuring 40-year-old Joanne Milne of Gateshead, U.K., who was born with Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic disease that affects hearing and vision. News outlets all over the world shared the YouTube video of Milne weeping with joy as she discovered her hearing for the first time, but few looked past the highly emotional moment to explore the scientific explanation behind it, or to explore the question what it's truly like to be deaf.
I'm a CODA—Child of Deaf Adults—and involved in the Deaf activist community. Here's what you should know about cochlear implants. And then there are the technical issues. This appears courtesy of The Wire. The Problem With Wearable Technology, According To "Blade Runner" Designer Syd Mead.
What Are “Nearables,” And Why Is Ideo So Excited About Them? Last week beacon technology--sensors which can trigger actions in devices that come within range, increasing their spatial intelligence--shrank in size and grew in opportunity with the introduction of Estimote Stickers. Three millimeter-thick adhesives no bigger than an oversize postage stamp, the nearly weightless Stickers--dubbed "nearables"--are an impressive evolution of the egg-sized Beacons that Estimote introduced in 2013.
“Beacons are a little bit like URLs for the physical world,” says Steve Cheney, cofounder and senior vice president. “We don’t know exactly how it’s all going to work out, from the experience level, but I think the apps you use the most will start to integrate beacon technology in a way where you assume it was always that way.” Possible applications range from prosaic to Jetsons-esque. The challenge, Rizk says, is how to “create a space that comes to life without altering or manipulating the space itself.” 1. 2. 3. This New Moleskine Is Like An iPad Made Of Paper.
Ask companies like Adobe and Fiftythree, and they’ll tell you that tablets are the future of drawing. Give in, and get used to the concept of touching a stylus to your screen. Because as hardware and software get better, you’ll be able to create the sorts of things you can only dream about creating on paper. Moleskine--the preeminent journal company with no lack of self-interest in keeping paper alive--has presented the vision of another possible future.
Its new Livescribe Notebook ($30) appears to be a typical, tactile Moleksine. Except, when you write on it with a $150 Livescribe smartpen (a pen known for turning written, paper notes into typed, digital transcripts), your doodles and brainstorms are not only automatically backed up to an app, they’re also infused with the conveniences of digital-native technologies. Now, a Livescribe pen, coupled with a Livescribe journal, can already pull off a lot of these stunts on their own. Order the Livescribe Notebook here. [h/t SlashGear] GravitySketch Tablet Is a Portable 3D Augmented Reality Sketchpad For Designers. There’s an imposing wall dividing real world creation and digital design. To transfer a paper design to a computer, you need training and experience in technically demanding computer assisted design (CAD) programs. Instead, imagine if we could mold digital designs in three dimensions as easily as we mold clay.
Intuitive, powerful, and immersive interfaces would open the field to more people and inject more serendipity and improvisation into digital design. We may be entering a new era of computer interfaces where standard two-dimensional screen, keyboard, and mouse are enhanced by more instinctive 3D modes of interaction—modes that more closely mimic real world design methods. In sci-fi, 3D interfaces tend to be holographic. A surface projects 3D schematics into the air where people can manipulate images, spin them around their axes.
Though some folks are working on such holographic interfaces, they yet remain elusive. Take the recently developed GravitySketch tablet. Image Credit: Gravity. 3DTouch Works In 3 Dimensions & Could Replace The Computer Mouse. University of Wyoming researchers have developed a novel wearable device, called 3DTouch, which could revolutionize the way we interact with computers. While a computer mouse is useful and has dominated the way we have interacted with computers for the last 50 odd years, it is restricted to two-dimensional movements; this new piece of technology would allow us to interact in three-dimensions. The device has been described in arXiv. Interacting in 3D is certainly not a new idea. You’ve been able to buy a mouse capable of sensing its position in three dimensions for some time, but they’ve generally had poor resolution.
Then there’s the awesome Kinect for Xbox or Nintendo Wii, but unfortunately they’re not transferrable to computers. This new mobile device, which sits on your finger like a thimble, can accurately sense its position in 3D and is capable of responding to various preprogrammed mouse-like gestures, for example a finger tap, that allow the user to interact with objects in 3D. 9 | This Architect Is Wearing His Wi-Fi Signal. There are invisible energy fields all around us. Now, one architect has invented a tool to introduce some of them to the spectrum of visible light.
Luis Hernan's self-portraits show the artist and Newcastle University researcher dancing in a cloud of colorful Wi-Fi signals. Hernan intended to make his “Kirlian device,” a tool that picks up on Wi-Fi signals and translates them into colored lights, sound a little out-there. It’s named after Semyon Kirlian, a Russian inventor who came up with a mystical, glowing style of photography said to capture the vivid "auras" of torn leaves and other living things.
Naturally, Kirlian photography picked up in the '70s when New Age-types were getting into that sort of thing, even though it turned out that the charged effects had much to do with water content, and not the power of the spirit. But Hernan's Kirlian device does pick up on observable frequencies. "I think there is a hidden poetry in these kinds of signals," he says. MIT's CityHome Is A House In A Box You Control By Waving Your Hand. Two hundred square feet. It’s horrifyingly small, even by New York standards. But a new project called CityHome, by MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group, can make it feel like you're living in an apartment three times as big. CityHome is essentially a hideaway bed taken to the upteenth level. It’s a mechanical box about the size of a closet that sits inside an apartment, where it stows a bed, dining room table, kitchen surface, a cooking range, a closet, and multipurpose storage, too. “This would work well in the 30 to 40 Innovation Cities where young people are priced out of the market,” lead researcher Kent Larson explains.
Larson assures us that CityHome isn’t just a concept, but a viable product, and he intends to bring it to market through either a startup or a commercial sponsor. See more here. MIT's CityHome Is A House In A Box You Control By Waving Your Hand. How to Build a Speech-Jamming Gun. The drone of speakers who won’t stop is an inevitable experience at conferences, meetings, cinemas, and public libraries.
Today, Kazutaka Kurihara at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tskuba and Koji Tsukada at Ochanomizu University, both in Japan, present a radical solution: a speech-jamming device that forces recalcitrant speakers into submission. The idea is simple. Psychologists have known for some years that it is almost impossible to speak when your words are replayed to you with a delay of a fraction of a second.
Kurihara and Tsukada have simply built a handheld device consisting of a microphone and a speaker that does just that: it records a person’s voice and replays it to them with a delay of about 0.2 seconds. The microphone and speaker are directional, so the device can be aimed at a speaker from a distance, like a gun. Their tests also identify some curious phenomena. That has important implications. Even chickens have their own virtual world. How much would you pay for organic, virtual free-range chicken breasts? It doesn't really matter, you can't buy such a thing. But Austin Stewart, an assistant professor at Iowa State University, really seems to like the idea. He's been traveling the country showing off Second Livestock, a concept that takes cooped-up poultry and grants them the gift of being free-range through virtual reality headsets and an omni-directional treadmill.
The truth is, despite Stewart's stone-faced presentations, that Second Livestock is not a real thing, and it likely never will be. But it is meant to showcase just how much we rely on technology to solve our myriad problems and how it impacts our own lives. Obviously we don't have the space or resources to allow every chicken in the country to be free range, but we're not always entirely comfortable with the cramped filthy conditions our future meals are raised in. Comments. Sculpt Sound With Gestures, Using Imogen Heap's $2,000 Gloves. Imogen Heap, a singer-songwriter who works largely in electronic sounds (and whom you may remember from her work in the band Frou Frou or this song), has long been confronted with a problem: How do you put on a show for people who are used to seeing guitars, drums, and pianos, when your music is created largely with computers, synthesizers, fader knobs, and processors?
Her solution is the Mi.Mu Glove, the next version of which is now on Kickstarter. We've seen this project before, but just as a sort of technical demonstration. The Kickstarter marks a totally new path for the engineers, artists, and designers of the Mi.Mu team, based in London: they're opening up the gloves to the public, and even allowing people to buy a glove (or two, if you've got deep pockets).
The gloves are stuffed with sensors: bend sensors in each finger, accelerometers and gyroscopes and lots of other stuff in the wrists. They communicate via Wi-Fi to a computer. Making Leap Motion More Human, Less Minority Report In A New Campaign. When Leap Motion first unveiled its gesture control device for PCs and laptops last year, it unleashed a collective nerdgasm among technophiles who couldn't wait to ditch their keyboard and mouse for a set-up that looked more like Tony Stark's. But when the company's flash drive-sized device was finally released, there was some grumbling it wasn't quite the hardware killer many thought it would be.
Despite any mild disappointment that our Minority Report future hadn't arrived just yet, the company has been quick to answer critics by doubling its number of apps to about 150 since the summer and getting rave reviews for its new sculpting app Free Form. Leap Motion has already been integrated into another brand's product--the HP Envy laptop--but the question is, could the company establish a clear identity of its own?
If Apple has taught us anything, it's that great technology is more powerful when paired with strong branding. Enter Dojo. Tangible Audio Interfaces - Surface Matters Speaker Takes Commands by You Stroking its Fabric Cover. With The iPhone 5S, Apple Is Making You The Device. Apple has always been good at convincing people to interact with their computers by making them more intimate. The Apple II convinced people they needed a computer in their homes; the Mac anthropomorphized computers, made the metaphor of computing as relatable as a friendly face and a desktop. And the iPhone, of course, was a revolution precisely because it put a computer that responded to touch alone in the pockets of hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Today, Apple introduced a new feature to the iPhone 5S: a built-in fingerprint sensor called Touch ID squirreled away under the home button that gives you increased security for your iDevice. At first blush, a fingerprint sensor seems like a step back from the spirit of computer-age intimacy Apple has made a business of selling in various permutations over the course of the last three decades.
That's what Apple is after. The ultimate goal, of course, is to get you to live within the confines of Apple's walled gardens. Levitate Objects With This Fitness Tracker For Your Brain. Watch This $200 3-D-Printed Robot Crack Your iPhone ⚙ Co. A Social Map That Knows The Nearby Restaurants (Or Dry Cleaners) Your Friends Like.
Competitive Relaxation: A Turbo-Nerd’s Way To De-Stress ⚙ Co. Disney's Crazy Invention Lets You Feel Phantom Objects Floating In Air. This iPhone App Reports The Weather As A Daily Infographic. Why The Human Body Will Be The Next Computer Interface. Fresh From TED: A Mind-Blowing App That Could Remake Mobile Retail. 8 | Watch 600 Clock Arms Merge To Become A Single Digital Display.
HP, Samsung Face Identity Crisis With Tablet-Laptop Hybrids. The Magic Number For Making Virtual Reality Feel Like Reality. Vision and Media. GE's New Emphasis In Appliances: Sound Design.
Shattering The Myths That Make Us Fear Brain Interfaces. Scientists 3D-print bionic ear that hears beyond human range.