Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Uniqlock is a blog part which is made by Uniqlo, Japanese
clothing retail chain.
The company also has stores in the U.S.(New York),
the U.K., France, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and South Korea.


It is a blog part and it's a clock with music and video of girls
who wear Uniqlo's clothing and dance around all over the world.
Anyone in the world can put this blog part in their own blog.
Electronic music based on the ticking of the clock and dancing
girls video never stops, so one cannot stop watching it once she/he
starts to watch.

What is interesting about this blog part is that it never says
"Watch this" or "Buy this", but it naturally attracts people
with the power of music, dance and all beautiful monuments
in the world. Even if Uniqlo is a clothing retail store, but it
doesn't advertise any clothing here.

And What is important thing about this blog part is that it is
the viewer who choose and decide to put it on their blog.
It means that the viewer itself is going to be an advertiser by
putting it.
And other people who looked this blog part on someone's blog
can download it and put it.

More than 34,000 people over 85 countries put this blog
on their blogs!

Touch Yourself Technology?

Physical interfaces only get in the way and become one extra thing people need to worry about carrying around or losing. Just as wired electronics are fading away into the history books, so will objects used to control electronic devices (keyboards, TV remotes, video game controllers, etc.) You might be thinking, "Well, keyboards are already on their way out with the iPad and other touch screen devices, so what else is new?" This is true; touch screens are the new interface of choice for many people worldwide. The track pad on your MacBook Pro is a combination of touch screen technology and gesture recognition technology as it already recognizes a variety of finger gestures, such as the pinch and rotate gestures. However, they too will eventually make their way into the pages of the history books with the current interest in developing "gesture" recognition technology. Thus, the concept behind human based interfaces and technology that is currently being developed by several separate parties. Who will come out on top?

Microsoft in collaboration with the University of Washington and the University of Toronto have begun spending some serious time and money developing muscle gesture technology for use with the Microsoft Surface (which is essentially a giant interactive touch screen.) This allows users of MS Surface to use variables such as pressure and gestures to fulfill different commands in the program. The technology also identifies which fingers are being used and will respond accordingly by assigning say different colors to each finger, allowing the user to finger paint a digital masterpiece.

Continuing development, Microsoft explored Forearm Electromyography (EMG) to take the physical interface out of the scenario. Although wired, Microsoft is currently looking into a wireless armband approach using EMG to track muscle movement where no physical device is present allowing one to unlock the trunk of a car while their hands are full. (For this and other examples of Microsoft's EMG technology, see the video below from 0:58-2:16.)

EMG muscle recognition is only one direction the future of electronics may head. The other is what is known as "Skinput." Chris Harrison at Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute developed his own system similar in idea to the EMG system used by Microsoft, however unique in method. His system actually measures the acoustics of the human body and converts contact into commands that may control a number of electronic devices. (See 0:40-:056 of the blow video.) By using a monitor placed in an arm band (image to the right), Skinput calculates acoustic variables such as bone density and location to dictate commands to a specific device.
With the use of a fairly small pico projector, a visible digital interface can be... well... projected onto the user's forearm. (See 2:07-3:05 of the below video.) Skinput combines hand gestures commonly used to in a completely new and exciting way. Depending on where on the user's fingers, palm, wrist or forearm is tapped, one can easily scroll through a list of their favorite musical artists, skip songs being played back, dial phone calls, or play video games right on one's hand using gestures such as taps, pinches, or flicks with the fingers.

After further development, it isn't difficult to foresee this kind of hands-on technology becoming smaller, inconspicuous, and perhaps even fashionable to wear. It may even become universally compatible with most electronic devices. No one will ever have to worry about dropping their iPod or their cell phone again, as they can be left in your backpack with your books and lunch, and those precious touch screens won't be accidentally broken or cracked. However, even if they are, Skinput allows the functionality of those devices to remain... on your arm.

-Shaun B.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Project Natal - The human video game controller

Fact be told, there is no better way to describe how amazing this new product is, then by watching their video demo...
Project Natal is a new product that's about to come out by the end of this year (to be honest, that's what they said last year and I'm not sure they're on schedule for this year too...).
It is a new way to control your home game console (Xbox 360 only) without any remote control, or in another words, with you as a remote control.
As Spielberg described it "a technology that recognizes not only your thumbs and your wrists, but your entire being".
What he refers to by that is not only your entire body.
Microsoft also made a very impressive voice recognition system to work with that product as well.
The video recognition system they built not only recognizes movements on the screen, it is capable to analyze your body and to distinguish between hands and legs, and can recognize your face in comparison to other people on the screen and tell them apart and give them different avatar on the screen.
All of that is done by a very advanced face and body recognition software, 2 small cameras to be able to get 3d movement around the room and a special sensor that is able to map the room.
The software itself functions with a standard gesture control, that recognizes specific movements and translates them to software functions.

Does this look like a new and awesome technology?
And how about this game?
Unfortunately for Microsoft, the second image is from a game almost ten years old, made by sony for PS2 with EyeToy.
EyeToy is another product with video recognition ability.
True, it is not as sophisticated as what Microsoft is working on, but MS are obviously not the pioneers in that field.
In fact, ever since webcams became commercial, in 1991, games using motion sensors started popping up. for example bouncing a ball on the screen, or wiping a screen from "dirt".

So Microsoft are doing the same (and still genius) trick, of taking several technologies already created, and combining them together into one awesome product. (that's how MS-DOS and the first Windows came out, and the feature of multi-tasking).

I have several future predictions, for the near and far future.
First thing, it is true that the controller is limiting our control over the game console.
but, as the thumbs bother us to go above and beyond our imagination, our body also does none the less. especially for people who are not in shape and have absolutely no aspiration for it (which makes too much of earths population\gamer population to me).
As we speak, Emotiv is working on the development of a mind reader controller that works with brain waves.
As the progress of this company goes, it seems the product is still far from fully functional (but it definitely looks cool!!).
And for the even more distant future -

not very original, I know, and very star-trek geeky of me to post that picture, but it still makes me wonder how it would be to get into a dark room, and to command it to start, and then suddenly I'm in the desert with sand at my feet.
looking around I see nothing but sand, the warm sun camels with their owners wondering around in the distance ----- and the metallic door from which I came in from... :)


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Digital Transformations

These are notes on my essay, "Digital Transformations: The Media Is the Mix" in m/c journal, which we'll be discussing as we talk about Mike Figgis's film Timecode.

Key concepts: digital cinema (as defined by Manovich), agency and & linearity (graph interpretation of Murray), mix.