I know what you’re thinking. From the picture above and the various videos around the blog, it looks like we’re not doing anything but playing in this course. And you’re not technically wrong.

Every week we’re thrown new technologies at us. And after a couple of hours of briefing, we are encouraged to experiment with them freely. After Arduino, Processing and most recently Tangible User Interfaces, this week we have experimented with the Microsoft Kinect.

We have also explored the ideas behind behaviour change and gamification and come up with the first tangible ideas for our first assignment, the “Small Object of Delight” or SOD.

Kinect

Everybody knows Kinect. May it be because of Just Dance or Kinect Sports, if you’ve ever owned an Xbox, there are good chances you have started dancing in front of your TV at some point in your life. The device was not a success as Microsoft had hoped, but it has pulled some decent titles, and even now that is widely unused it refuses to die.

As far as we, as creative technologists, are concerned, the Kinect offers a pretty good platform for experimenting with Processing and a camera with a lot of sensors. Microsoft has made available an SDK (Software Development Kit) for Windows, and Thomas Sanchez Lengeling has created a Processing library to simplify software’s development process.

Of course, we are nowhere near understanding the whole of how a Kinect program might work, but by copying and pasting code from different functioning programs, some bits and pieces are finally coming together.

Down below is a very rudimental and yet successful attempt of a Kinect program we’ve worked on this week. My friend and colleague Nilou is battling a dragon and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat with two huge medieval swords.

 

Behaviour Change and Dark UX

A perhaps too theoretical reflection to go on this blog, but I believe it is worth mentioning here is one about behaviour change and Dark User Experience (UX).

According to BJ Fogg, three elements must converge at the same moment for a behaviour to occur: Motivation, Ability, and a Prompt.

There are many positive applications of this process using new technologies, and many of them are really fascinating.

However, what attracted my attention the most was how technology can be used to purposely alter our behaviour for the worse.

These techniques range from pushing people to buy something they don’t really need to give up important privacy settings, and sometimes even some of their rights.

This might a be a sterile reflection in this context, but I believe it’s paramount for designers and artists to create UX experience that will benefit users and not exploit their weaknesses online.

First Ideas for SOD

Coming back to more practical things, if you’re not familiar with what the SOD is, I would recommend you read my previous post here.

Down below are my four initial ideas for this project. Only one of them will be actually developed (and might change drastically after further research and feedback from my partner Kannika), but for documenting purposes I will include all of them.

Rolling Eclipse Magnets

IMG_20181102_212305You probably can’t tell, given my terrible drawing, but these two flat circles represent two magnetic spheres. The concept behind this object is to reproduce a symbolic eclipse occurring when the two magnets (sun and moon) collide. I’m imagining the point of contact of the ‘sun’ sphere to become brighter while the ‘moon’ one darker when they touch.

The exact way this would function is still obscure to me, but I picture the spheres to be in shiny metal, and of course, LEDs will have to be placed inside and regulated somehow to control brightness levels.

Humming Bracelets Compass

IMG_20181102_212309This is pretty self-explanatory, but it is too functional to be an “Object of Delight” so I believe we’ll have to scrap it.

Glowing Anti-Stress Jellyfish

IMG_20181102_212314This is also exactly what it seems. My idea was to put water inside the ‘head’ of the Jellyfish and make the tentacles wriggle when the head is squeezed.

The hardest part with this one would be to find the right materials for every element of the object. A squeezable material of some sort, water-resistant cases and LED threads would be only some of them.

Wooden Season Glow

IMG_20181102_212317

Inspired by Japanese wooden boxes, this object would be composed of four separate parts that represent a season each. The parts would be coloured and shaped differently but would click together to form a single object.

The technology involved in this one is not really clear to me yet, but I imagine it would have to do with seasons’ traditional sounds and/or colours.

Next week we’ll expand further on these ideas and most likely narrow them down to two or even one. We’ll also start playing with VR, and I’m so looking forward to it!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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