Interactions By Connor Timm

Workshop One

The Power Of Projection

Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays. More formally, projection mapping is “the display of an image on a non-flat or non-white surface”. In the first workshop, Clive brought us in some projectors to take a look at. We learned about how projectors adapt to modern day technology with them being an old piece of tech. Projection mapping can be used for advertising, live concerts, theater, gaming, and even decoration. Clive showed us an example of projection mapping in the workshop:

Today, thanks to advances in technology, the power of software, video, audio, projectors, and lighting can really take the whole experience to another level. In the past, projection mapping was limited to boring squares and rectangular projection screens. Thanks to this innovation, an entire room or wall, or even a boring building façade, can be transformed into a dramatic and exciting 3D delight through projection mapping. Creative directors and event designers are making the most of projection mapping because it allows for curved video walls and 3D video structures. Any physical surface can become a canvas for video, making it possible to create a stimulating show for all the senses. The best projection mapping is achieved using digital cinema projectors, much like those in high-end movie theatres. They can be mounted on rooftops, building facades, ceilings – anywhere, really. Another key to projection mapping is to make the most of the architecture that it is projected onto. Projectors have had to be implemented in todays technological advancements as they are nothing new, but artists find projection mapping extraordinary and this is how many display their work. It is an exciting and fairly new projection technique which can turn and surface, or building in to a dynamic video display.

Workshop Two

Virtual Environments

When in comparison to Projection Mapping, Virtual Reality is certainly a lot more recent, whereas projectors need to implemented in to todays technology. Although it's had a rough history, with such products like the Oculus, companies are making leaps and bounds in VR technology. Initially making a comeback with the Oculus Rift, many companies started to take an interest in the technology. Combining lenses, a dual screen display and an internal gyroscopic system, the headsets put users in such a world so far away from the reality, they are immersed in another dimension. The dual screens project two slightly different screens to give this perception of a 3D world, with the gyroscopic system tracking the head movements of the user and relaying it to the world so that the image moves with the user.

Many businesses such as Oculus, with the Oculus Rift, HTC with the HTC VIVE and Sony, with the Playstation VR, have been pushing towards the rise of virtual reality, immersing the user in a totally different dimension. Right now the best Virtual reality headset out there is the HTC Vive. Although it may be the best piece of tech on the market, it does come with a price of £699 and needs a computer powerful enough to run the VIVE, which could set you back another £1000. I think that people are going to wait until virtual reality comes down in price before thinking about being in a different reality.

Instead of virtual reality, companies such as Microsoft have been going down the route of augmented reality with a product called the Microsoft HoloLens. which is known as 'holographic magic'. Using cameras it intakes live footage from the real world using a similar technology to the Kinect to track distance and movement. The headset projects virtual images over the real world that can be completely gesture controlled and interactive.

Many other companies have taken on the approach to Augmented reality. Snapchat have teamed up with a company called MSQRD to allow live face manipulation on Snapchat photos/videos.

Workshop 3

Micro Controllers

In the last workshop, we looked at interactivity through a microcontroller. A microcontroller is a computer squished down into the size of a modern smartphone that is made up of a processor, some memory that can have code stored into it that can be activated when triggered. There were two activities that we took part in, the first half we looked at Littlebits which is a company that designs an open source library of electronics that snap together with magnets to encourage learning from prototyping, it is more specifically designed for children.

In the second half of the workshop we looked at the Arduino hardware sets. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. We had a manual which we looked through and created some functioning circuits. This type of technology has been around for a long time, a lot longer than Littlebits;

however the Littlebits tool is essential in providing young people knowledge on electricity and how they can create a working circuit while designing something enjoyable. LittleBits, also known as magnetic Lego. LittleBits uses modular electronics that connect together using magnets to for a small circuit. They are primarily used for education to show how circuits work without the wizardry of the overwhelming programming. Littlebits provides a manual with things that can be created from a simple circuit; it’s a fun learning tool for children to have. Arduino sets are an open source electronic prototyping platform based on flexible hardware and software. The sets are specifically aimed for designers, artists and anyone who is generally interested in creating an interactive object. The makerbot uses Arduino to add movement to the printing head which then creates the object through 3D printing, creating a shift in technology. Although this type of interactive technology doesn’t gain as much popularity as projection or virtual reality, it’s an important profound piece of technology which has led to huge advancements in the industry and society.

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