Digital Media: Interactions Maria Pullen

Workshop 1: Projection Mapping

Shining a light on our world.

Forget flat white screens to project a boring presentation. Projection mapping turns the everyday projector into a life giver to inanimate objects and even buildings.

And yes that includes Buckingham Palace which has been projection mapped multiple times but a famous example would be the Queen's Diamond Jubilee when the whole palace came alive to the song 'Our House' by Madness. The whole palace seemed to fall apart and built back up. The projection also gave the illusion of looking into the palace to see the royal family dancing inside.

Royally mixing the old with the new. See how it was done...

On much less grand scale during our workshop we projected onto smaller scale things such as wooden models and the ceiling of our classroom.

But how else can this be applied to the real world?

I can imagine this tech being used to help make history come to life. In places such as old manors and ruins, projections could be used inside as well as outside. In contrast to Buckingham Palace being turned into a quirky music video, my idea is to use projection to bring the history into our present world. Similar to the work installation artist Michael Naimark, people of the era could be projected into old rooms of manors to help visitors imagine how the place would be back in the day.

Watch Naimark's projection work below

Workshop 2: VR and AR

Why just have one reality?

Virtual Reality enters you into another world altogether while Augmented Reality is a hybrid of the digital and physical world.

By placing on a VR headset your boring old living can be turned into the endless expanse of space or a cardboard box factory.

At present VR is mainly used in the gaming world because of it's immersive element allowing gamers to have a more intimate relationship with their gaming worlds. And this hugely impacts a user's experience when playing the game as it gives the illusion of you actually being there.

I luckily got to try out the VR game demo for Dinosaur Island 2 during my summer work experience at Spinning Clock.

Me trying out VR for the first time in Spinning Clock a creative agency in Nottingham.

The game included climbing up a steep cliff and if I slipped I wouldn't be smiling! I knew I was safely sat in a chair but not being able to see the ground made me feel quite uneasy. This added an element of fear I wouldn't have felt if the game was in a VR format.

But can VR be more than all fun and games?

For an alternative application of VR would be to use it to benefit interior design and architecture. IKEA has recently came up with a demo which shows the beginnings of this concept.

VR could allow user to walk around their dream home and experiment with different furniture placements and surface materials etc. Going further than that architects could use VR technology to walk around their planned buildings before they have begun building. This would also help clients visualize their buildings to help identify issues before it is set in stone - literally.

Workshop 3: Microcontrollers

Small but mighty.

Think that technology is all big screens and bulky controllers? Think again. The mini computers run the digital world.

During our workshop with these microcontrollers we got to make little contraptions using little pieces of wire and mini coloured blocks that each had a different purpose.

Watch one of our contraptions we made below

As well as making tiny robots we got to play with a well known tiny robot BB-8. This demonstrated how robots can be synced with a tablet and programmed to move at your command.

We also got to see how these microcontrollers are used at present. Who knew robots can now draw better than most humans?

Paul the drawing robot, in just like a human as it uses hand-eye coordination to draw from reference. The hand shaped robot uses the information gathered by the camera facing the subject to draw the portrait.

I got to speak to Chris Hainstock whose daughter got drawn by the computer Paul at Dublin's Science Gallery. And an interesting find was that the computer actually pauses to think before drawing and when it gets too deep in thought a slight nudge of encouragement helps Paul finish its masterpiece.

Small computers, big ideas.

Real world applications for mini computers are plentiful. Personally I think microcontrollers could be used to help disabled and elderly people with everyday chores.

For instance, a remote controlled mini robot similar to the BB-8 we got to use, could be controlled with simple gestures on a touch pad. And that mini robot could help them open doors and fetch objects that are either too far or too high to reach using it's drone flying capability.

I really enjoyed this project and I hope you enjoyed reading my Spark Page.

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