Working with a team of people in Clay Shirky’s Designing Conversational Soace class, we recently finished a first pass on omgimg.us. The goal of this site is to cultivate conversations that are built from images alone.
The top image starts the conversation, users can add an image by clicking the comment icon, searching google images with keywords, and then the selection inserts the image into the conversation.
To the right is an example of a cohesive, conceptual conversation. The woman with the veiled face is a response to the top image. That is responded to with an action figure in an all-black suit, then a picture of a black suit. Then, since the person in the black suit was headless we see a headless horseman, and this is followed by Kanye West’s Heartless.
Our team is gearing up to give this another pass. Our goals are to keep it simple, but implement a few small features that will enhance the cultivation of a returning community.
Jump into the conversation. Engage.
Classmate Max Friend is launching a web site soon: FilmBot.com. Movies meets social. Max asked me if I’d put together some toys of the FilmBot character, and that process is in motion.
Along the way I also threw this layered FilmBot together as a test to see if we might rather create a set of these rather than plastic. It was a good experiment but fell short of the aesthetic we’re going for with the figures which will be more like regular vinyl/plastic toys. I thought I’d post a few images to show the experimentation with the layering technique. So, below is a pic of the image after creating layers with the 3D file in Rhino, then the illustrator file used to print with the laser. The prototype is foam core, the head is hollow, the visor is a piece of plexi, and the light source is a single LED.
Building Online Communities
Left to right: Emory Yarnoff, Max Friend, me, Alli Wolf-Mills, Mark Triant, Monica Fajardo-Krishnan, Martin Bravo, Sava Saheli Singh, Noah King, Prof. Kristen Taylor aka KThread, Matt Swenson, Nisma Nadia Zaman, Peter Holzkorn, David Phillips, and Freddy “busted” Truman
The syllabus for the course was featured as part of a series on The Atlantic: How to Build an Online Community
SquareScope is a project that resulted from my own experience with Foursquare, and thinking about how this rapidly developing and complex community could be enhanced. I imagined myself in the role of Community Developer and thought about what sorts of things are missing from the FourSquare experience. Thus, SquareScope brings a new dimension to the social network that is growing every day. This new dimension is an identity building strategy for the places that people check into. Further, SquareScope is a window into the community from the outside, and allows anyone to connect with the experience before deciding to join the community. A better understanding of the places we’re interested in brings a more meaningful element to our geo-based experiences.
SquareScope was created in collaboration with Portland, Oregon based programmer, Tom Offermann, and originated in a class here at ITP called, Building Online Communities, taught by Kristen Taylor, aka KThread. In this class we examined a wealth of communities and discussed a wide spectrum of characteristics and tools that can aid in building and developing communities.
Class: Anecdotal History of Sound & Light
taught by Ben Rubin
The first assignment for Games and Art involves the creation of a game or art piece that involves Rock Paper Scissors. I’ve been thinking about some ideas but to continue the brainstorm I thought I’d go on chatroulette tonight and see if it brought any inspiration. What I found from the people who were willing to participate was a lot of smiling. Here’s a little collage of some of the people who played along.
After a marvelous and meditative summer it’s back to the magical place, ITP.
Off to a good start.
Toy Design Workshop, taught by Danny Rozin, cradled the project that I was most obsessed with this semester at ITP. I’ve been waiting to do a blog post about AugTopia until the end of the term. And, here we are.
Nien Lam and I started talking about doing a project together near the start of the Spring Semester. Along with our common lifelong interest in games and toys, we’d recently gone with a group of classmates to (the overwhelmingly massive ) Toy Fair here in NYC, and we had several discussions about what we wanted to do. The one thing we were surprised by at Toy Fair was how few new toys there seemed to be. At a convention that promises cutting edge ideas and concept toys, the way car shows offer up concept cars, we were both disappointed with the state of the industry. It’s a sweeping generalization, but it was our thought at the time. Around this same time we also saw a few other presentations about the state of toys and games, most inspirational of which was a talk by Will Wright.
We decided to jump into the world of augmented reality. Our goal was to bring the capability of AR into 3 dimensional play space. Our first concepts involved blocks, and the QR Code patterns would result from different combinations during block play. (And, I think there is still a great deal of potential with that direction, especially within a pre-existing universe of blocks, ahem, like for instance, Lego.) But, after designing the original action figure, later to become known as Dr. AugTopia, we decided to move toward concentrating on the figures as the central concept of the toy. This involved 2D concept drawings taken into 3D software, and then prototyping 3D prints of the figures. The original 4 figures were the space face guy, 3D block head, deep sea diver, and the viewmaster head. We decided against the viewmaster head because it just seemed a little too appropriation-ish in relation to the other figures. So, viewmaster head was replaced with arcade head. Once we had the 3D prints, we cured them, poured molds, and then created casts. Each figure has an offset cubic cavity in its chest. Each face of the cube has a different pattern, so when it’s inserted into the chest, a different pattern is formed. (This idea carried over from the original block play idea.) Further, each figure has a permanent part of QR code painted on its chest. This allows for the same cubes to be used with different figures, and each figure maintains its special characteristics as expressed with the AR. Designing the augmented reality components was a collaborative effort, as was the design of the overall look of the figures and the web site. The resulting toy is an action figure that is imbued with magical characteristics that are not only imagined, but are brought to life on the screen.
Our feedback from play testing with kids was positive, and we felt good about the development of the project over the course of the term. The goal is to continue developing AugTopia as there is obviously lots of potential in this burgeoning space called augmented reality. Although it’s been a lot of hours in development to arrive at a nice conclusion, it also feels like just the beginning. We have some big ideas about where to take AugTopia.
Below is a sort of photo essay of the development of AugTopia.
The final 3 pics are from the Spring Show, and are by Leah D’Emilio.
The result of the project is the set of figures and the web site:
This was by far one of the most rewarding projects I have ever worked on. Many thanks from myself to Nien Lam for the great collaborative experience. Also thanks to Danny Rozin for his consistently insightful feedback, as well as our classmates in the Toy Design Workshop for their constructive criticism and inspiring projects developed throughout the term.
For this project, Katherine Keane and I put together a set of glasses with a camera and a filter that only allows IR light through. This camera is pointed directly at the user’s eyeball, and an IR LED lights the eye.
Once the calibration is set at the beginning of the game, the user/player can move the mouse on the screen with their eyes. Here’s a quick sample of the game, as we presented it at the RUSK Children’s Hospital.
Katherine’s blog post.