Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Augmenting My Reality

My head is spinning. I attended the Creativity and Technology conference today (CaT), hosted by Creativity magazine as part of Internet Week. It was an excellent overview of some astonishing technology that is being used now in websites and mobile devices, plus more esoteric ideas of data visualization that feed the soul and the imagination.

An interesting thread that ran through many of the panels was the question/primacy of storytelling, a concept that is dear to my heart. APIs still need a connective thread, emotional ones have the most power to be effective. Technology still needs to connect to human cognition, for the brain to be able to process the message. And it is still all about the message, or a piece of knowledge, that is being communicated.

Some presentation highlights:

Bruno Uzzan, CEO and Cofounder of Total Immersion
. These guys have a software program that turns an ordinary computer into a 3D machine. Augmented Reality is best described as taking a real image and compounding it with a computer-generated 3D image. The camera of the computer reads a real thing-—Bruno had a box of transformer toy he bought at Toys R Us--and you see the box on your screen WITH a 3D image of the toy sitting on top of it.

He also had Lord of the Ring playing card. The camera reads the flat cards, and on your screen you see the figures stand up. And if you have 2, the figures can interact with each other.

GE has a site that has AR software loaded so that you can experience it yourself.

The iPhone Guy! Yay!
Steve Sprang, Creator, Brushes iPhone App
Steve is one of those soft spoken geniuses. Brushes is his first project as an independent producer after seven years with Apple, where he designed and implemented the 2D graphics program used throughout the iWork suite. There is a community of Brushes artists on flickr, all created with just the creative push of a finger.

The big story last week was Jorge Colombo’s aptly named “Finger Painting” for the June 1 cover of the New Yorker. He created it while standing on line for an hour to get into Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Times Square (who knew that place was so popular?).

Kevin Slavin, Managing Director and Cofounder, Area/Code

Area/Code creates cross-media games and entertainment. Very entertaining presentation on Sharkrunner that they developed for the Discovery Channel, and Parking Wars, a Facebook game to call attention to an A&E series. The game got millions of players; the tv show only a few thousands of viewers. Hmm.

The Super Wizards of Data Visualization

Aaron Koblin, Technological Lead, Google Creative Lab

From creating art through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk—-a mural of sheep, in homage to Dolly and the Little Prince—to visualizing flight patterns and text and phone patterns, there is knowledge to being about to see data that is usually represented by numbers, as well as art. His work has interesting philosophical underpinnings. You've got to experience it for yourself.

Joanna Kuchera Morin, Director, Allosphere, UC Santa Barbara

An “instrument” as she calls it, that allows you to walk into data, so that you are immersed in a visualization of data, from a hydrogen atom to a piece of a brain. The possibilities for her work reach to infinity. (Photo up top.)

Tomorrow I return to the minutiae and frustrations of producing any real world print or web piece, but I’ll feel a little more connected to this great community of people who think big, and deeply, and without limits.


dorki said...

Wow! What an experience that must have been. All those concepts in one space.

We need real work like the "Hyper Island" presentation to transform the Universities and other US schools into a system that actually educates our citizens.

M.A.Peel said...

I completely agree. The Hyper Island model is wonderful, and I had never heard of it at all before this.

kbcsi said...

ya i am completely agreed. this one is awesome!!!!!!