Digital Media: Interactions Tamsin stacey

Workshop 1: Projection Mapping

In our first workshop, we explored projection mapping. This allowed us to take a video projector and project videos and images onto any surface.

Prior to these workshop, I had no experience with projection mapping. It was a new experience and the use of software and projector allows users to create incredible art with ease.

HeavyM

HeavyM is a projection mapping software. Using a computer mouse you can easily draw shapes and animate them in HeavyM which are then projected onto the surface of your choice. These effects that are placed in the program react with sound, this could be the track or the sound of your voice.

Projection Mapping onto the ceiling

My thoughts overall on HeavyM, it is an interesting platform to create projects on. It is very effective when it comes to collaborating visual imagery and the use of sound. However, to a novice the platform seems quite intimidating to learn the tools and how to use them effectively.

Aurasma

Aurasma is an AR application that you can use on your smartphone. It takes a picture of your surroundings and then allows you to select an object or a moving object and place in into the shot. You can then select your completed Aurasma and play it and see the object you chosen through your phone. The video below is one that I created at home, using a circus seal to be my interactive object.

Aurasma was fairly easy to get to grips with when I experimented with in at home. It is user friendly and provides and interesting new way of creating AR content that is easily accessible.

Real World Applications

Projection mapping could be used in the real world for many various projects. An example of this that I would think that projection mapping would be very effective is performance art. This could include theatre or live concerts. I think this would be interesting is because both of these types of live performances is that they require a background or support for stage presence. Linking with live converts, projection mapping could also be used in artist's music videos. This makes a familiar form of entertainment much more interesting and reinvigorates the content. As an audience member this is incredible interesting to get to grips with the potential that projection mapping has.

Workshop 2: AR & VR

This week's workshop involved the use of virtual reality. Virtual reality is a computer simulated 3D world or environment that is interactive. This can be achieved through VR headsets.

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that immerses you in a 3D virtual world. In this workshop we experimented with the headset, interacting with a game that involved drone and flying it in a space. The drone was controlled by using keys W, S, A and D on a keyboard. The headset was used to see the drone and the available space to fly it in, by looking around with the headset on you could look around in-game.

My experience of the Oculus Rift was majorly positive. It was surprisingly easy to get to grips with the controls and looking around the environment. However, the headset was quite heavy and became uncomfortable after a short time, which might be a weakness since users cannot use it for a long period of time.

HTC Vive

In the workshop I also interacted with the HTC Vive, developed by HTC and Valve. It's a 360 degree interactive headset that involves the use of two hand held controllers. Whilst using the Vive I played with the Tilt Brush. By using the two controllers could select the colour of the paint, texture and move through the area to create a painting, whilst using the headset to see what I was making and the other paintings created in the space.

In the picture above, I am using the controllers to paint. The screen on the far left shows what I was seeing in the headset.

After experiencing both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, I prefer the HTC vive to interact with. This is because of being able to stand up and actually walk to move through the environment to reach objects. It was a more enriching experience because of how progressed the games felt on the Vive as they were advanced in the interactions involved due to the controllers. I also felt that the Vive was more user friendly since the controllers provided a familiar way of cooperating with the visuals provided in the headset, which also increased the immersive potential.

Real World Applications

The VR headset's are both incredible in terms of their potential real world applications. A direct possibility would be the use of the Tilt Brush and artists. This provides artists such as painters a new canvas which is dynamic to create art on.

Another use for VR headsets is shopping. This allows users to shop and see what they would be buying without visiting the shop. An example of this is IKEA. By allowing users to create their own rooms and choose furniture from the shop, it creates a fresh custom shopping experience for every single user.

Workshop 3: Microcontrollers

Arduino

In this workshop we experimented with Arduino. Arduino is a platform used for building circuits (referred to as a micro controller). It involves the use of a piece of software in order to load different code onto Arduino. It's a great piece of kit for artists, hobbyists and designers.

Whilst experimenting with Arduino, we used the guide to follow instructions on how to build a circuit that would light up an LED once a current was travelling through the wires. The board itself was very interesting but it was quite difficult to place the wires and resistors in the correct places.

My experience with Arduino was overall positive, although at the beginning of the workshop and experimenting with the equipment was daunting. It was difficult to understand the information booklet provided and required a lot of concentration and teamwork in order to get a completed and working circuit, which may have added to the read once the LED lit up.

Little Bits

In the workshop we also experimented with LittleBits. This is essentially electronic building blocks to create circuits, held together by magnets that simply snap into place. The ease of being able to snap components together allows for creative freedom and invention that is easy to work with.

Experimenting with different components of LittleBits

Using LittleBits was considerably more easy than Arduino, and arguably more user friendly. It would suit a target audience who are at a beginner level and are interested in micro controllers. It was user friendly and just simply involved snapping the pieces together which were held by magnets. This meant I could create working circuits much faster than Arduino because of the simplicity in Little Bits' design.

Real World Applications

LittleBits would be best suited in the classroom. I think it would be a great tool for teachers or children wanting to learn about components and how to create a circuit that will power a fan or create a light. This is because of how user friendly I found the project as a whole to be.

Arduino, on the other hand, I feel is more tailored towards artists and hobbyists with a certain amount of experience. This is because the board itself is quit complex and you require a keen eye in order to play components in the correct place in order for it to work. Furthermore, it could be used by people for benefits such as an extra hand, literally. As seen in the video below, Arduino can be programmed to carry and essentially be a third hand. This would be an invaluable source for someone who had lost one or both of their hands to allow them some normality into their life.

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