s q u i d s o u p . o r g

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art, research, play and immersive experience

PPP bugs

First pass at the bugs here

Portable Pixel Playground

The Portable Pixel Playground commission for Folly is underway. The project aims to combine physical play (moulding the sand in a sandpit) with virtual animal husbandry, and is aimed at 6-12 year old kids.

For us it’s a great opportunity to make something solid, simple, fun, immediate and aimed directly at kids – something we haven’t done directly since the Virtual Puppeteers project… although it has to be said that children have explored and had fun with several of our other projects.

Virtual caterpillars, projected onto the sandpit, react to the physical topography of the sand, and can be enclosed by sand walls, scared by children’s hands and fingers, and attracted to each other. When they meet, magical things begin to happen…

Technically, the project uses a Point Grey Bumblebee stereo camera to capture depthmap information from the sandpit in real time – using software and ideas first developed for Driftnet during a Research Fellowship at Arts Institute Bournemouth in 2007. See here for another experiment with the Bumblebee.

Camera view of sandpit, and depthmap (red near, blue far)

Bumblebee on tripod

Trial setup

Physically, the piece is going to need to be strong – not only to survive the elements outdoors in a playground, but also to survive the children! Currently the ideas revolve around a large 3 or 4-legged dome-shaped structure (steel and tent material) that will shield the equipment and the sandpit itself from the elements, and also some light.


Freq2 @ Streetvibe

Our project Freq2 shown as part of StreetVibe, a street festival celebrating science education and music. The event took place at The Scoop, by Tower Bridge, London on 14th June 08.

Freq2 at Street Vibe


3D LED Cube

This is a single module of the NOVA system, as seen at the Wired NextFest

3D LED grids

One way to control light in 3 dimensions is to put loads of lights in a space and control each light. I’ve always loved this idea ever since seeing the work of Jim Campbell. Although not 3D, his use of low resolution 2D grids of lights is highly evocative and beautiful.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=vONC5FJ3XYg&feature=related]

Taking it into 3D causes headaches mainly because of the numbers of lights/LEDs involved. A 32×24 2D grid needs 768 lights; a 32x24x24 3D grid needs 18,432. Search 3D grid in Youtube and you get anything from 3x3x3 up to, currently, 16 cubed.

A nice example of a larger cube – apparently modular – is by James Clar

James Clar modular grid

Seekway also make a 16x16x16 grid – see here.

NOVA, developed by the Swiss Institute of Technology, is an interesting one. A grid of LED clusters, 10cm apart and in 3cm spheres, in 10x10x10 modules.

There’s a 50x50x10 module at Zurich Central station.

NOVA site here

Image courtesy of this site

UVA have played with a more abstract notion of this idea with ‘Volume’:

as have Jason Bruges Studios with ‘Untitled Chandelier’:

Jason Bruges Untitled Chandelier

and finally, also very nice is the work of Erwin Redl – this is his project Matrix II

Energy lines (2005)

A blast from the past…

Realtime interactive animation of walking underneath a high voltage pylon. The sound is created by four sinewaves, each which has a pitch determined by the distance between the viewer and each of the four feet of the pylon, creating a constantly shifting phase pattern (you probably need headphones or a subwoofer to hear this).

Both sound and visuals are ’embellished’ with compression artefacts – the sound really is just four soundwaves, and the background of the visuals is a smoothely changing plain colour – both difficult to reproduce with compression.

Aerogel

Aerogel apparently holds 5 record properties, including the best insulator and lightest solid on the planet. It is used by NASA to collect space dust, and this in turn was an inspiration for Liliane Lijn to produce a piece of work using Aerogel at Riflemakers in Soho (London) – see here.

We have a piece of Aerogel, kindly provided by Airglass AB, and it is extraordinary stuff, and visually absolutely beautiful. Half way between glass and nothing, like a chimera or ghost.

It does weird things with light; it looks yellow outdoors and blue indoors; light reflects/refracts off it in interesting ways.

Aerogel sample

Tilty Snake on Monome

Trial using the accelerometer in a Monome 64 to create a new interface for the old mobile phone game Snake. Works out to be very tactile, intuitive, responsive and quite fun. First posted March 2008.

Snake is a bit of an old favourite – we did this 3D version a few years back…