Interactions Antoni Karbowiak

Projection

The projection mapping is a technology based on the use of traditional projectors. The difference between the traditional projecting and projection mapping are the non-flat surfaces. This technique gives a sense of interaction and movement. It’s not one of the latest technologies, but it’s still being explored and offered some new innovations. Projection mapping means taking a step away from a basic flat screen projection, applying dynamism and turning 3D objects into interactive displays. There are 3 main aspects about the projection performance: throw ratio, resolution and brightness. Throw ratio relates to how big the projected image will be (based on the distance), resolution, as the name suggests, describes how sharp the image will be. Bright projector will provide a better quality and more vivid colours.

An example of projection mapping:

I think it’s a very interesting form of art, which involves one of my favorite techniques: use of light. With an intelligent use of 3D objects, it provides a wide range of possibilities. In our workshop, we had a chance to test this technology by ourselves. Divided into teams, we were given projectors and the software to experiment and experience the projection techniques. The interesting part of the presentation was the use of grid-shaped ceiling. Small squares were used as the backgrounds for the simple animations screened on them. One of the members of our group stood in the middle of the room. We wanted to “draw” on his t-shirt, using him as a 3D object. It worked quite well and made me more interested about the topic. If I get another chance to use a projector, I will certainly try out a few different ideas.

There are many possible real-world applications of the projection technology. It could be used in a theatre as a support to the actors, or even only based on objects, excluding any people on the stage. I experienced it a few times in the past, but one of the most spectacular situations that happened to me, was a projection organised by World Wide Fund for Nature in Rome. I was walking past the Trevi fountain and witnessed a few different projections placed on the fountain. It was also decorated with a WWF logo – a panda. On our workshop we were also introduced to a stunning car advert, which was a mix of many media techniques. Although, the most impressive parts of it were related to the projection mapping.

Virtual Environments

The second workshop was related to experiencing the virtual environments. The first element that was introduced to us is called augmented reality. The main functionality of AR is based on implementing a virtual reality content into a real-world footage. Explained on an example of a mobile app – it uses a marker included in the real life footage and connects the virtual content to it. The marker is usually a piece of code scanned by the camera. The software places objects around the code. The second part was the virtual reality. The difference is based on a more personal and controlled interaction given to the user. It is us surrounded by the virtual reality rather than an object within a scanned, limited area. A person using the VR headset can interact with the surroundings. The images are being delivered to user’s eyes through two small lenses. The movement is detected by an accelerometer or a camera detection device.

I think that augmented reality and the virtual reality are two completely different experiences. They both have the same goal: adding a digital content to the real life and allow an interaction with it. AR seems to be more affordable than a proper VR experience. The devices such like HTC Vive are still very expensive. AR has a huge potential for a commercial use, as it seems to be a more casual technology. VR requires more time, space and costs. I reckon it has a bigger potential in terms of a real in-depth feeling of a different reality. AR works better used in simple apps and games such as Pokemon Go. In our workshop I had a chance to experience both of them in a few different forms. The greatest experience was provided by the HTC Vive headset. The two sensors set up on the sides resulted in a very solid accuracy of the movement control. We also had a play around with an app, which generated animations on a live footage background. There was one more interesting device, scanning the surface of our hands and reacting to their movement. In a series of mini games, we could pick up objects, throw them around and rotate them.

VR and AR are used in different purposes. So far, VR was mainly adjusted to gaming (such like the PSVR headset). Although, it has a much more exciting future than just games. It could be used to train various skills, serve as a training technology in the army, giving a real-life experience excluding the danger of death and injuries. Medical sector will probably use the VR to perform complicated surgeries without risking the patient’s health. In education, it could be used to train and expand the cognitive abilities of the students. In the next years, VR will become much more than just an entertainment tool. The AR was already tested in a not very successful Google Glass device. Again, the upcoming years will bring innovations and help to refine AR for more advanced use as well. We might be able to watch films screened on walls without using a projector, design and walk around the buildings with a virtual furniture to make decisions on our purchases or simply send text messages through a virtual projected keyboard. The future seems to be very exciting and promising for both technologies.

INTERACTIVITY VIA MICROCONTROLLERS

Microcontrollers are placed in any device that provides an interaction. All technologies of everyday use such like microwaves, remote controllers, cell phones, digital cameras. They are small computers, which have all the elements of any other computer, such like CPU, RAM or a hard disk. They can be connected to normal desktop computers as well and work with them. The main difference is, the microcontroller has a main purpose and isn’t accustomed to many various processes, such like the desktop computer.

I think it’s important to have at least a basic knowledge about the microprocessors, as they run most of the tools that we use in the everyday life. In our workshop, we had a chance to try out one of the Littlebits kits, based on modular electronic elements, attached together by small magnets, they come into an interaction with each other, giving an experience of a basic electronic structure. It’s up to the creator what he comes up with. The structure could end up as an alarm, remotely controlled car or a light. A bigger number of sets and Littlebits particles result1 in more creative options. I think it was an interesting experience. While this kit is a perfect start for the beginners and kids to experiment with this technology, there’s a more advanced version of this electronic set called Arduino. I didn’t have much time to experience it properly, but I learned that it consists of a microcontroller and a piece of software, providing a more complex idea of how the electronics work. It also requires some coding skills to make our device work the way we want it to.

This tool is already being used at every step of our life. As explained earlier, we use microcontrollers all the time, not even thinking about it. The positive trend is introducing them to the kids and educating them about the structure and basic coding. Littlebits are already being introduced to many educational institutions, giving kids an early idea of how the electronics work. As everything is becoming simplified, this could be the future of the microprocessors too. We are getting close to the point where adding more RAM or better tutorials on how to code might not be the solution for innovation. We could be simply given a software, which would understand our commands and write the code for us. That would open the doors of the microprocessor world to anyone, not even experienced in this area.

Credits:

https://static.pexels.com/photos/1944/lights-abstract-curves-long-exposure.jpg http://bi.gazeta.pl/im/42/87/12/z19430466O,Sensorama-PODPIS-fot.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Vivid_Sydney_-_Opera_House_sails_(9002375891).jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/P.a.w.n._P4_laser_Projection_System_-_High_Power_Class_IV_Laser_Module.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/HoloLens_living_room_(16153485657).jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d1/Z80A-HD.jpg/1244px-Z80A-HD.jpg https://c2.staticflickr.com/5/4005/4524766345_a14384bdfa_b.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/LittleBits.jpg

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