Posted in communication and networking, electronic imaging and displays

MIT Students Invent A Universal Language Made Of GIFs | Co.Design

My grandfather used to write me letters in pictograms, so using a sheep (ewe) when asking “how are you?” This sort of reminds me of that, but way more complicated.

Which GIF better expresses happiness? This one of Ren and Stimpy bouncing up and down, or this one of Lost’s John Locke grinning with an orange slice in his mouth? Does your opinion change if Grumpy Cat is added in? These seemingly trivial questions about how you perceive animated GIFs is the central task of GIFGIF, a project from MIT Media lab that isn’t just a fun web game, but a first step toward building up a universal library of non-verbal communication.

GIFGIF was born out of a series of conversations over the watercooler at MIT between Kevin Hu, a first year master’s student studying data visualization and network analysis, and Travis Rich, a first year PhD student with a background in electric engineering. Although Hu and Rich don’t have the same credentials, they were both fascinated by the power of non-verbal communication.

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Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.