Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, electronic imaging and displays, Illumination, Optics

LATEST: Microsoft presents wearable electronic dress – +Plastic Electronics

An image of the wearable texting frock

Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve (hooray bad puns!):

A smart textile dress has been unveiled by Microsoft Research.

Made almost entirely from black and white rice paper, the Printing Dress comes equipped with a laptop, a projector and four circuit boards, with functional elements including buttons and the hem.

The wearer can type messages on a keyboard laced into the bodice, which are then projected on to the skirt, says the Microsoft News Centre.

The dress won Best Concept, and Best in Show, at the 15th annual International Symposium on Wearable Computers in June.

more via LATEST: Microsoft presents wearable electronic dress – +Plastic Electronics.

Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, education, electronic imaging and displays

Kinect-ing for kids

Ha ha, you knew I had to go for the pun, right?

But seriously, there are a lot of cool games coming out right now for little kids on Kinect. And it’s the perfect kind of game play for them, if you think about it; they don’t have the best dexterity yet, and the LOVE to move.

And of course game companies feel they have to make these games EDUCATIONAL. But actually, games, especially games that incorporate movement, are great ways for learning, for grown-ups and kids alike.

Here are two examples of just such scenarios:

Sesame Street, for example, has developed a game for Kinect that they are dubbing “emotional entertainment” and education, a sort of sensitivity trainer for little kids:

The game uses Kinect’s hands-free controls to teach lessons about “real human themes like shyness, friendship, bravery, sensitivity, empathy,” said Martz, adding that though videogames often capture human emotions, they rarely teach sensitivity. How often are gamers really asked to think about the impact of their actions on other peoples’ lives?

As an example, Martz pointed to Once Upon a Monster’s opening scene, in which players meet a monster named Marco who looks absolutely miserable. It’s his birthday, and nobody’s shown up to celebrate with him. Using Kinect’s camera-based motion controller, players interact with onscreen visual cues and strike poses in response to Marco’s body language in an effort to cheer him up.

“As the game progresses, you do sillier and sillier poses together, until at the end you’ve made a new friend,” Martz said.

Schools are also using Kinect for educational purposes:

Body and Brain Connection, a sort of brain-training game from software giant Namco, takes the education concept to a whole new level with fun games, questions, and a way for you to have fun while learning.

Hopefully teachers and students will hop on the 360 Edutainment train as we roll into a new semester of schooling in August/September. I for one am looking forward to what else MS has to offer us in terms of games that are not only fun and cool, but help you learn something new.

Know of other applications for Kinect and education? Post it in the comments below.

Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, education, engineering

Kodu Cup competition

A screenshot from one of the games developed on Kodu

Microsoft is encouraging technology and design among the youth with competitions like this year’s Kodu Cup:

Calling all US kids! Announcing the Kodu Cup Game Design Competition!! Here is your chance to make a great game using Kodu and submit it for a chance to win some great prizes! You can see all the details at

Described as “A visual programming language made specifically for creating games. Accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone…”

The Kodu language is designed specifically for game development and provides specialized primitives derived from gaming scenarios. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behavior. While not as general-purpose as classical programming languages, Kodu can express advanced game design concepts in a simple, direct, and intuitive manner.

Kids aged 9 – 17 can design their own games and get support online. It could be worth passing on to the young designer/engineer in your life…or you can try it out for yourself 🙂


Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, electronic imaging and displays, music, Optics

Kinect Hack: A dancer in the machine

The new Kinect game console addition to Xbox has been used for a lot of different art works, including this; from JoyStiq:

1n0ut, an artist collective specializing in multimedia performance-based art, has created a Kinect hack both beautiful and inspiring to behold. Titled "Versus," it sees a real-life dancer giving lessons to a digital model. Just imagine: Here’s a future where we can teach our computers how to Dougie.

Continue on to JoyStiq see the video

Posted in communication and networking, electronic imaging and displays, Illumination, Optics

Kinect, infrared filtered camera make amazing art

From CNET:

Who knew that [Kinect] projects such beautiful light?

Until San Francisco Bay Area artist Audrey Penven and some friends started taking pictures of themselves playing Kinect games, no one. But when Penven looked at the images, she realized she was on to something special.

In normal light, you can’t even see the light put out by the Kinect, Microsoft’s new motion control system for the Xbox 360. But with the help of a roommate’s camera, which is modified to shoot infrared, Penven discovered scenes at once ghostly and straight from the cover of a Neal Stephenson novel.

The images that resulted from Penven’s photographic experiment show a cacophony of bright dots that encompass and enfold the people in them. They evince movement and wonder and hint at art. Yet the first time around, the light was little more than Kinect trying to gauge the movements of Penven and her roommates while they played a little Dance Central.

Read more about how she put it all together.