One of the PCBs inside a 1989 Nintendo GameBoy DMG console. Big components and clearly labeled = very hackable http://yfrog.com/2o86257411j
January was a chilly month in Ireland, but Berlin (or Brrrr-lin even) was absolutely freezing. I was over in the ice and snow to attend the Visual Voltage workshop. The event was centered around how interaction design fits into sustainable living and how to better visualise, understand and optimise our energy usage through smart design.
The workshop was held by the Stockholm-based Interactive Institute alongside the Berlin-based design-research firm IxDS. The activities were concept building based and as groups we brainstormed up ideas for smart products and services to make people aware of their use of energy. There were also tangible examples of energy wise interaction design at the accompanying Visual Voltage exhibition, which the workshop was a precursor to.
The ideas brainstormed during the sessions were posted on display for the exhibition opening party. You can check them out here. The 2 days were great fun and I learned as much from the participants own work stories and insights as the seminars and activities.
More info at www.visualvoltageworkshop.de
Here’s my hardware hack idea for Nokia’s N900 Push contest, the N900 Cyber Kanny:
In Finland, the homeland of Nokia, mobile phones are referred to as Kannys, which literally means “an extension of the hand”. I would like to make this extension of the hand very visceral by combining Nokia’s N900 with retro virtual-reality peripheral, the Nintendo Power Glove. The resulting hardware hack would enable hand gesture based interaction with the N900, controlled through the glove interface.
In order to answer a telephone call, the user makes the ‘telephone gesture’ and their hand becomes the handset, bringing a whole new meaning to “talk to the hand”!
Here are the slides from the Hacking Toys Into Tangible Interfaces workshop that was held at DKIT last week for the ISEA / International Symposium of Electronic Arts 2009 conference. Thanks to everyone that participated :)
Here are the slides for my paper ‘The Real Virtual Living’, presented at the Posthumanism strand of ISEA 2009 at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.
I’m presenting a paper at the ISEA 2009 Conference (International Symposium on Electronic Arts) in Belfast this August. It’s under the ‘Posthumanism’ category and called ‘The Real Virtual Living’. Basically in it I’m examining what people thought the ‘cyberfuture’ would be, how it actually turned out and how that future vision has inspired creative work in different digital and electronic mediums, both in cyberspace and meatspace :)
Also as part of ISEA 2009 I’m running a workshop on ‘Hacking Toys Into Tangible Interfaces‘ at Dundalk IT. We’ll be building unique game control gizmos by adding usb connections to cheap electronic toys. The workshop is an introduction to physical computing, covering some basic interaction design theory along with practical hardware hacking techniques. There’s more on the workshop and everything else that’s happening as part of the conference at isea2009.org.
At the moment I’m reading ‘Racing The Beam‘, an in-depth study of Atari’s VCS console from 1977 (renamed the 2600 in 1982). The book traces the systems history and talks about how it’s game designers creatively worked around the machines limitations. One major constraint been how it was designed to show just 2 sprites (objects, aliens or whatever) onscreen at once.
In the name of research I’ve scored a cheap woodgrain 2600 from ebay and will conduct some serious playtesting of the games mentioned in Racing The Beam, starting off with Combat, Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Then it’s onto Empire Strikes Back. Even E.T. will be tested. It’s gonna be a tough job :)
Anyhows, there are still applications been made for the 2600, albeit in a homebrew capacity. For instance, Atari 2600 OS, a point and click GUI with Pong embedded is a marvel of minimalism. While the 2600 Full Midi interface allows direct control of the VCS audio for making music, if you’re into the gritty low-bit sound!
The Random Album Cover Game has been around the last year, but I had a go at it a couple of days ago.
Not sure what genre it’d fit into exactly… possibly folk meets downtempo meets dnb…
Found these great flash cartoons on youtube, by animator Hiroshi Namiki. All feature this ape with a snot bubble hanging out of his nose, who mostly spends his time harassing a bulldog, which has similar nose hygiene issues. The use of sound adds to the surreal humor, particularly the canned laughter and applause. The same animator also has a series of short sixteen second pieces about a mischievous piece of sushi called Okapa-makiko. Anyhows, it’s exercise time with WarangUtan and company…