Week 1 - The Power Of Projection
This week we looked at the power of projection. In the sessions Clive talked about the history, and how projection mapping and other interesting ways of working with projection began. One thing that particularly interested me was the Haunted Mansion at Disney Land.
This attraction, although opened in 1969 used projection in an interesting way -using the Pepper's Ghost method and others, to create atmosphere. At the time the attraction was so terrifying that Janitors often refused to clean the Haunted Mansion, due to the spooky noises and sights that could be seen there after dark.
But enough about Disneyland. Projection can be used in interesting ways - art, entertainment, and of course more functional ways too; seemingly 'expanding' office spaces and creating a nicer and possibly customisable workspace. Projection has been used for a very long time and still continues to be used today. Lady GaGa's tribute to David Bowie is a display of projection mapping - images were projected onto her face, while she sang. The images were all Bowie-related and so created a beautiful tribute, not just remembering his songs, but his art and style as well.
I personally think that projection could be used in many interesting and useful ways; one of which could be in high security prisons. Here's an example of US prisons vs prisons in Norway.
The difference is shocking, with the focus in the US being on punishing the prisoners, rather than assuring that they can return to society after their time in prison, honestly a changed person, for the better. I believe that using projection mapping to make prisoners in maximum security or on death row feel less alone would be incredibly important, as many prisoners in the US feel as though they are treated like animals rather than human beings - if they aren't allowed a computer in their cell, due to security risks or health risks, a small projector that can project onto a wall could be a good investment - it would mean that, at some point in the week, they could have a skype conversation with a loved one, or they could have pictures or landscapes projected onto their walls to soothe them. Also in some cases of solitary confinement, a projection onto their walls, possibly of the outside (as though there were a window) could help the prisoner keep time effectively.
Week 2 - VR AR and Beyond
This week we looked at VR, AR and other things that can be affected by outside influences within the world. One thing that I find particularly interesting and useful is the use of markers in the real world to superimpose other images over the top, with the use of things of phones/tablets. I find that Pokemon Go is particularly interesting in this way - the app doesn't use markers, but the way of putting something into the real world is very interesting, and can lead to some very funny pokemon appearances.
Aside from solely entertainment purposes, AR and VR can have really interesting and brilliant uses, one that I found really interesting was the use of VR in physiotherapy, basically tricking the brain into thinking that it's walking, through walking physiotherapy machines, and a VR helmet, basically making the brain reconnect the neurons that had previously been lost. This kind of application for VR is completely revolutionary and can be life-changing. This kind of application of this brand new technology is beautiful.
I think that a good application for VR technology is teaching skills in an effective way. The PS VR game 'Job Simulator' is obviously a joke, and a game that is supposed to be humorous and funny, not to be taken seriously, but I believe that a skill simulator would be incredibly interesting and good for the wider population - being able to teach a skill without having to purchase any of the necessary equipment for it, or being able to teach multiple skills at once, would be incredibly useful to schools and such - all that is needed is a few VR machines, and the game/software that runs the skill simulation software, and you can teach a whole classroom, to train them the skills necessary for their qualifications without having to pay large sums of money getting all the relevant equipment.
Week 3 - interactivity via microcontrollers
I was ill this week but I've had a look at the snapchat stories of my friends, and the spark page available and I think I understand what this technology is and how it's useful. I particularly find the companies such as Arduino and Little bits really interesting and useful, as it opens up coding and engineering for people who struggle to understand these things. Microcontrollers help make our lives easier through allowing data to just be collected through outside stimuli, meaning that the process of inputting data isn't necessarily always necessary. I can't really document user experience, as I was ill that day and couldn't make it in, but they seem to be really interesting and can increase user interactivity with certain products and every day objects.
One application of microcontrollers I find interesting is in the fitbit, but as this has already been created, I won't talk too much about it; through 32-bit microcontrollers, it can monitor your heart rate, steps, and provide you with help and tips to help you get fitter, even guided breathing for activities such as yoga.
I think that in the future, and we're talking distant distant future here, there will be microcontrollers helping us with things such as waking up in the morning; not just alarms, but tinted windows that change to let the light in slowly, when it's time to wake up, machines that sense when you're done in the shower, and turn on the kettle or coffee machine, so that when you go downstairs at the end of your morning ritual, your coffee is already made and waiting for you, at just the right temperature. I'm talking about an interactive house, one that would combine all three technologies - projecting your timetable onto a section of the mirror; a mirror that shows you your favourite outfits, on you, in an augmented reality kind of way; it tracks your favourites, and when you've made a selection, the clothes are selected. Things like this are often included in some sort of Black-Mirror-esque future where our fates are decided for us and it's all quite dystopian and ruled by technology, but these kind of simplifying details would really help smooth out mornings for a lot of people, and the applications are pretty endless.