Interactions level 2 Digital media

Workshop 1

Projection Mapping

This workshop centred around Projection Mapping, including the history of it and it's practical uses. Projection Mapping uses everyday projectors to project onto a variety of 3D shapes and objects, including things like buildings and cars.

Below are a couple of examples of Projection Maps that I came across and was thoroughly impressed by:

Interconnection

This was the winner of the Jury's Choice and People's Choice awards (the first time in the history of the competition that both awards went to the same team) at the iMapp Bucharest competition in 2016. It was created by a team called Limelight from Hungary, and this is not their only creation that is of a very high quality. I found the whole 5 minute production extraordinary.

The iMapp Bucharest competition is the largest 3D mapping contest in the world, with it bringing 40,000 people together for the 2016 show. During the competition, the entries are projected onto the second largest administrative building in the world (The Palace of the Parliament in Romania).

Willow - Sweater (Music Video)

This music video was created using projection mapping, a blank studio and a treadmill. The treadmill was used to fake movement (whilst nearly never leaving the spot), whilst the projection moved perfectly to create the illusion of changing scenery and movement. I thought this was a really good example of how cleverly Projection Mapping can be used on a small scale, as well as a larger scale (such as on buildings etc.)

Projection Mapping Central gives a really interesting, yet simple to read history of Projection Mapping. It ranges from Disney's Haunted Mansion in 1969 and Michael Naimark's work in 1980, to where the technology is at in more recent years.

I think this is a very versatile technology, as it has a lot of potential with many different uses. I could see this technology having uses that range from advertising and promotional displays, to artistic and political statements.

In terms of daily household usage, I can see this technology being used in homes worldwide, for a more immersive and portable entertainment viewing platform. Instead of only being able to watch TV/films/videos on TV monitors, I can see this technology one day being used to enable people to project onto their houses or cars etc. quickly and easily, with only a couple of settings needing to be adjusted in order to fit the image to the desired surface.

Workshop 2

Me using the VIVE headset (well, attempting to...)

Virtual Reality (VR) and similar technologies

In this workshop, we were told all about Virtual and Augmented Reality, and shown in detail how they both could be used for purposes such as tourism. Virtual Reality is more about the creation of a virtual world that the users can interact with, one where they find it difficult to distinguish whether it's real or not as it appears so realistic. VR usually requires a headset of some sort, such as the Oculus Rift and VIVE. Augmented reality is where Virtual Reality meets real life, as users are able to interact with virtual contents in the real world. With AR, the users continue to be in touch with the real world, but can interact with virtual objects around them.

I really enjoyed trying out the VR headsets, as I'd never used them before and had no idea what to expect, so I found the actual experience very surreal but fun. When I was using the VIVE headset, I wrote out a message using the controllers, yet when I moved, the writing stuck to the air. Therefore it felt as thought I had to duck to avoid walking through the lines (which obviously weren't actually there). It was really fun, and I wouldn't hesitate to try them out again.

We then went on to look at Aurasma and Leap motion, and had the chance to try out both. Aurasma was really easy to download and use, and was probably the most easily accessible piece of equipment we were shown. Although the options of "animations" on it were slightly limited, it was still a really interesting piece of software and I'll be sure to have a play on it again on my phone now I've downloaded it. Leap motion was also really fun to play with, and it was so fascinating watching the image of your hands move as you moved your actual hands. The technology wasn't as precise as a more advanced piece of equipment probably would be, as it couldn't always detect your hands and therefore became quite difficult near the end.

Like we discussed in the workshop, I can see AR being used for tourism purposes in the future, such as for tours (both scenic and novelty, such as ghost tours). This is because it's an interactive (and potentially informative) way for users to entertain themselves and show themselves around a location, just by using the AR, which is probably more convenient than having literal tour guides trying to talk to groups of 20 people.

The VR, on the other hand, I can see being used as the next big gaming thing, in order to create a more realistic experience for the user. The downsides, however, are that it feels incredibly real when you have the headset on, and therefore there are probably many safety issues surrounding it, as the user could walk around and lose their bearings whilst playing. Additionally, I can also see this sort of technology being used for cinema/film viewing, as it would give the viewer a surround-sound type of experience, but with the film location surrounding them too and therefore making them feel as though they are in the film.

Workshop 3

Unfortunately I was unable to attend this workshop, and therefore I missed out on being able to test out the gadgets myself. I did however research the technology that the workshop focussed on in order to get an understanding on everything.

Microcontrollers

A microcontroller is a small computer which is usually used to sense input from the real world, and then use that data to control devices. I think this is a really clever piece of technology, and I think that the companies that are offering kits so that the user can experiment themselves have a lot of potential, as they can be developed in a variety of ways to perform different tasks, for different purposes.

Arduino

Arduino is a company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures microcontroller kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world. They create boards in both DIY kits and preassembled forms.

I thought that some of the creations shown in this video were really clever, and beyond any ideas I would have imagined using Arduino for. I thought that the marble game and the dog feeder were especially inventive.

Littlebits

Littlebits is a company that makes a variety of build-it-yourself kits and expansion pieces for small electronics that snap together with magnets, in order to build a wide array of things.

The kits come in a few different forms, some which are extremely child friendly. I absolutely loved this concept, as I think it's a great way to get kids involved and interested in building and coding, especially since it merges science with smartphones. This technology is something that anyone would love, and if it wasn't so expensive, I'd look into getting it for myself!

Some of the littleBits projects that I found whilst researching it were so impressive and interesting, and I was thoroughly amazed at what could be made with just a few small bits and pieces snapped together. I'd never previously heard of the company, so I was very surprised at the quality of the things produced by them, and I was extremely surprised that I hadn't heard of them sooner!

I think the possibilities for this technology is endless: if you can make a functioning doorbell with only 5 components, or a fridge temperature check and alert system with 4, then I can only imagine the potential this has.

Created By
Mia Green
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