Monday, July 17, 2006

Data Sonification

The conversion of data traffic into audio representations - types of data, speed, events - converted into an ambient and informative sonic landscape.

This notion was first suggested to us by Paul Anderson of Informatics who gave me the reference to Peep, an OS package that converts data events into bird song and ambient sounds of water and rain.

MP3 audio sample of Peep

More recently I came across iSIC which is short for information music - an ambitious and advanced java based research project and system inspired by peep.

MP3 audio sample of iSIC

A thorough and interesting article written by the project leader, William Farkas, on data modelling through music can be found here at vague terrain

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Building Operating Systems

Systems of software and hardware that enable buildings to come alive, to be intelligent and responsive to its inhabitants and the environment.. Operating systems for buildings...

1. Threshold
Threshold is a Scottish grown Open Source system based on minimacs, designed to enable multiple images/video and sounds to be spatially controlled and scheduled within Perth Concert Hall.

2. Arch-OS
"An 'Operating System' for contemporary architecture (Arch-OS, 'software for buildings') has been developed to manifest the life of a building and provide artists, engineers and scientists with a unique environment for developing transdisciplinary work and new public art."
Created at Portsmouth "
Institute of Digital Art & Technology [] and produced by members of the School of Computing, Communications and Electronics, University of Plymouth."

3. Bacnet
Industrial automation - a network system for controlling heat, light etc within a building.. somewhat different from the two examples above which are primarily a/v information systems.
The definition of an Intelligent Building tends to be associated with energy saving and safety: wikipedia: intelligent building

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not Specks!

Small profile computing hardware is ideal for standalone interactive applications or special interfaces.
the small format PICS and Atmel microchips are fantastic, but there are boards being produced with more bits, aimed at producing applications that are perhaps easier to develop...


Alternative micro computing boards - open source too and uses the language "processing" - it gets easier!

Amadeus, The ubiquitous computing project in York have some layout designs for DIY kits:
(looks a bit more specialised and complex...)

Soft Sensing

Soft Sensing - without physical contact - gesture, touch.. the use of cameras and recognition software, innovative interfaces..

Multi-Touch Sensing through Frustrated Total Internal Reflection

LED side lighting of acrylic sheet, camera sees fingers due to light scattering, machine vision blob analysis detects finger positions.

an open source research platform for developing tangible interfaces for audio visual environments.

Another soft table interface, using reflective infra-red and camera tracking..
coupled to Pure Data and the "arts programming language" Processing.


"The OpenIllusionist Project aims to provide a framework for the development of augmented reality applications. Augmented reality is a method of computer interaction that blurs the distinction between the real world and the virtual world of the computer. By using a video camera or a webcam and some form of feedback, be it through speakers, a monitor or a data projector, a physical area can provide an intuitive interface to a PC. Rather than pointing and clicking, you just grab with your hand. Rather than dragging the mouse to draw lines, you simply use a whiteboard and marker - and then allow the OpenIllusionist to interpret what you have drawn and present feedback."
Installed in the new Connect exhibition, Royal Museum, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.


Open Source - lego-like building block approach to machine vision - aimed at performance, musicians, compatible with Open Sound Control and Midi.
The approach is reminscent of Max and Pure Data, two graphical building block systems for synthesising musc and constructing interactive applications.
Both have video plugins for generating and responding to imagery in real time. Max is a commercial package available from cycling 74 and Pure Data (PD) is Open Source.

Paper on Sensor systems for interactive surfaces

by J. A. Paradiso, K. Hsiao, J. Strickon, J. Lifton, and A. Adler
This paper describes four different systems that we have developed for capturing various manners of gesture near interactive surfaces. The first is a low-cost scanning laser rangefinder adapted to accurately track the position of bare hands in a plane just above a large projection display. The second is an acoustic system that detects the position of taps on a large, continuous surface (such as a table, wall, or window) by measuring the differential time-of-arrival of the acoustic shock impulse at several discrete locations. The third is a sensate carpet that uses a grid of piezoelectric wire to measure the dynamic location and pressure of footfalls. The fourth is a swept radio frequency (RF) tag reader that measures the height, approximate location, and other properties (orientation or a control variable like pressure) of objects containing passive, magnetically coupled resonant tags, and updates the continuous parameters of all tagged objects at 30 Hz. In addition to discussing the technologies and surveying different approaches, sample applications are given for each system.

And a blog summary of "multi-touch interaction" from Pixelsumo: