robertogreco + vr   34

▶ Audrey Watters | Gettin' Air with Terry Greene
"Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) is an ed-tech folk hero who writes at Hack Education @hackeducation where, for the past nine years, she has taken the lead in keeping the field on its toes in regards to educational technology's "progress". Her long awaited and much anticipated book, "Teaching Machines", will be out in the new year."
2019  audreywatters  edtech  terrygreene  bfskinner  technology  schools  education  turnitin  history  learning  behaviorism  cognition  cognitivescience  psychology  automation  standardization  khanacademy  howweteach  liberation  relationships  agency  curiosity  inquiry  justice  economics  journalism  criticism  vr  facebook  venturecapital  capitalism  research  fabulism  contrafabulism  siliconvalley  archives  elonmusk  markzuckerberg  gatesfoundation  billgates 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Heterotopias |
"Heterotopias is a project focusing on the spaces and architecture of virtual worlds.

Heterotopias is both a digital zine and website, hosting studies and visual essays that dissect spaces of play, exploration, violence and ideology.

The zine can be bought from the pages listed on your left. Sales of the zine go directly to supporting the project.

For updates follow @heterotopiasZn or sign up to our newsletter.

Creator and Editor Gareth Damian Martin

Associate Editor Chris Priestman"
architecture  design  games  geography  gaming  videogames  chrispriestman  garethdamianmartin  vr  virtualreality  virtualworlds  play  exploration  violence  ideology 
october 2017 by robertogreco
EyeMyth
"Exploring present and future cases of immersive storytelling and new media, EyeMyth brings together pioneering artists, performers and experts at the forefront of these fields. 

EyeMyth’s 2017 edition, Future As Fiction, traversed multiple locations in Mumbai to create, discover and engage with new elements in the digital space. The festival featured an array of exhibitions, workshops and performances that explored various forms of expression through new media."

[via: "Cool to see our comrades in Mumbai doing strange and interesting things in the futures/fiction/festival space: https://eyemyth.unboxfestival.com/ "
https://twitter.com/justinpickard/status/914105328266022912 ]
mumbai  designfiction  speculativefiction  future  futurism  storytelling  newmedia  technology  vr  ar  augmentedreality 
september 2017 by robertogreco
things weren't better then, they just spent less time nostalgic for the past
"Have you seen Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer lately? It popped up when something else I was playing on Youtube ended and I can’t stop thinking about it. Now I want to send it to every VR guy who says something like, “well, actually it took fifty years of film before Citizen Kane..” Well, actually it took four years of MTV before they made this:

[image]

Why isn’t VR as good as music videos were in the 80s? This week people went wild over an AR recreation of A-ha's “Take on me.” It’s a technical achievement but not a creative one. A creative achievement would be to this moment what “Take on me” was in 1984. Something doesn’t need to be technically advanced to capture people’s imaginations as that video did, but I don’t see any entry points in the industry or attempts to nurture that kind of talent. 

VR/AR is ad-tech. Everything built in studios (except for experimental projects from independent artists) is advertising something. That empathy stuff? That's advertising for nonprofits. But mostly VR is advertising itself. While MTV was advertising musicians, the scale and creative freedom meant that it launched careers for people like Michel Gondry, Antoine Fuqua, David Fincher, Spike Jonze, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, etc. A band from a town like Louisville or Tampa could get in touch with a local filmmaker and collaborate on a project and hope that 120 Minutes picks it up. There were entry points like that. And the audience was eager to see something experimental. But a VR audience is primed to have something like a rollercoaster experience, rather than an encounter with the unexpected. The same slimy shapeshifter entrepreneurs that could just as well build martech or chatbots went and colonized the VR space because they have a built in excuse that it took film "fifty years before Orson Wells." Imagine that. A blank check and a deadline in fifty years.

No one wants to get inside some sweaty uncomfortable headset unless they are going to be rewarded with something at least as good as music videos were in 1984. But who is ushering in talent rather than hype? VR is starting as an institutional and commercial monster rather than scaling into institutional power. It’s like if the art market came before art."
joannemcneil  2017  vr  ar  virtualreality  augmentedreality  mtv  musicvideos  art  advertising  michelgondry  spikejonze  antoinefuqua  davidflincher  jonathandayton  valeriefaris  experimentation  unexpected  surprise  creativity  artmarket 
july 2017 by robertogreco
elevr
"Hello, World! We are eleVR [el-uh-V-R], a research team that includes Vi Hart, Andrea Hawksley, M Eifler, Elijah Butterfield, and Evelyn Eastmond.

We study and experiment with immersive media, particularly virtual and augmented reality, as a tool to reveal new ways to understand our world and express ourselves within it.

Our research practice is formatted as a series of experimental projects accompanied by write-ups of findings and analysis on our blog and projects page, all available creative commons and open source.

Our first major theme involved immersive video capture and production, from theoretical VR camera designs to actual camera prototypes, filming hundreds of videos, creating new filming, editing, and post-production techniques, and expanding media theory.

We’re also big into webVR and the future of the immersive web, creating the first spherical video player for webVR back in 2014 (the eleVR player), and constantly experimenting with new webVR interfaces and content techniques.

Another major theme involves using the potential of VR and AR technology for augmented understanding. We’re experimenting with new ways to explore mathematical concepts like four-dimensional symmetry groups, hyperbolic geometry, and derivatives. In addition to the powerful visualizations enabled by 3D explorable spaces, we are looking for places where VR and AR tracking technology can let us use our own body knowledge and real-time feedback to understand things we couldn’t understand before. We’re also looking at the philosophical implications of how new technology will change our understanding of ourselves and our experience of reality.

Our latest theme is creating hybrid spaces that mix the virtual and the real. We mix real and virtual objects, layer real and virtual spaces, and explore real and virtual bodies, to better understand how to expand computational interfaces beyond fingertip-focused to become body-conscious and thicken computational spaces from the flat land of screens to fully three-dimensional environments.

eleVR is a project of the Human Advancement Research Community, a nonprofit group dedicated to inventing and freely sharing ideas and technology that allow all humans to see further and understand more deeply."
3d  vr  sanfrancisco  vihart  andreahawksley  meifler  elijahbutterfield  evelyneastmond  ar  augmentedreality  technology  elevr  virtualreality 
july 2017 by robertogreco
David Byrne | Journal | ELIMINATING THE HUMAN
"My dad was an electrical engineer—I love the engineer's’ way of looking at the world. I myself applied to both art school AND to engineering school (my frustration was that there was little or no cross-pollination. I was told at the time that taking classes in both disciplines would be VERY difficult). I am familiar with and enjoy both the engineer's mindset and the arty mindset (and I’ve heard that now mixing one’s studies is not as hard as it used to be).

The point is not that making a world to accommodate oneself is bad, but that when one has as much power over the rest of the world as the tech sector does, over folks who don’t naturally share its worldview, then there is a risk of a strange imbalance. The tech world is predominantly male—very much so. Testosterone combined with a drive to eliminate as much interaction with real humans as possible—do the math, and there’s the future.

We’ve gotten used to service personnel and staff who have no interest or participation in the businesses where they work. They have no incentive to make the products or the services better. This is a long legacy of the assembly line, standardising, franchising and other practices that increase efficiency and lower costs. It’s a small step then from a worker that doesn’t care to a robot. To consumers, it doesn’t seem like a big loss.

Those who oversee the AI and robots will, not coincidentally, make a lot of money as this trend towards less human interaction continues and accelerates—as many of the products produced above are hugely and addictively convenient. Google, Facebook and other companies are powerful and yes, innovative, but the innovation curiously seems to have had an invisible trajectory. Our imaginations are constrained by who and what we are. We are biased in our drives, which in some ways is good, but maybe some diversity in what influences the world might be reasonable and may be beneficial to all.

To repeat what I wrote above—humans are capricious, erratic, emotional, irrational and biased in what sometimes seem like counterproductive ways. I’d argue that though those might seem like liabilities, many of those attributes actually work in our favor. Many of our emotional responses have evolved over millennia, and they are based on the probability that our responses, often prodded by an emotion, will more likely than not offer the best way to deal with a situation.

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio wrote about a patient he called Elliot, who had damage to his frontal lobe that made him unemotional. In all other respects he was fine—intelligent, healthy—but emotionally he was Spock. Elliot couldn’t make decisions. He’d waffle endlessly over details. Damasio concluded that though we think decision-making is rational and machinelike, it’s our emotions that enable us to actually decide.

With humans being somewhat unpredictable (well, until an algorithm completely removes that illusion), we get the benefit of surprises, happy accidents and unexpected connections and intuitions. Interaction, cooperation and collaboration with others multiplies those opportunities.

We’re a social species—we benefit from passing discoveries on, and we benefit from our tendency to cooperate to achieve what we cannot alone. In his book, Sapiens, Yuval Harari claims this is what allowed us to be so successful. He also claims that this cooperation was often facilitated by a possibility to believe in “fictions” such as nations, money, religions and legal institutions. Machines don’t believe in fictions, or not yet anyway. That’s not to say they won’t surpass us, but if machines are designed to be mainly self-interested, they may hit a roadblock. If less human interaction enables us to forget how to cooperate, then we lose our advantage.

Our random accidents and odd behaviors are fun—they make life enjoyable. I’m wondering what we’re left with when there are fewer and fewer human interactions. Remove humans from the equation and we are less complete as people or as a society. “We” do not exist as isolated individuals—we as individuals are inhabitants of networks, we are relationships. That is how we prosper and thrive."
davidbyrne  2017  automation  ai  business  culture  technology  dehumanization  humanism  humanity  gigeconomy  labor  work  robots  moocs  socialmedia  google  facebook  amazon  yuvalharari  social  productivity  economics  society  vr  ebay  retail  virtualreality 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Iñárritu’s ‘Carne y Arena’ Virtual Reality Simulates a Harrowing Border Trek - The New York Times
[See also:
"Why Alejandro González Iñárritu is the Director Who Finally Got VR Right — Cannes 2017"
http://www.indiewire.com/2017/05/alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu-carne-y-arena-cannes-vr-1201819096/ ]

"After weeks in the desert, dehydrated and afraid, refugees and migrants who are apprehended crossing the United States-Mexico border are regularly locked in what are called las hieleras: the freezers. They are meant to be short-term holding cells — they have no beds — but they also exact a kind of extrajudicial punishment. As revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request in 2015, migrants are trapped there for nearly two days on average. Children are separated from their families; detainees are deprived of food. Sometimes their lips split. Sometimes their skin turns blue.

The cold of the hieleras is the first thing you feel in “Carne y Arena” (“Flesh and Sand”), a groundbreaking hybrid of art exhibition, virtual reality simulation and historical re-enactment by the Mexican film director Alejandro G. Iñárritu on view here ahead of its art-world debut in June at the Prada Foundation in Milan. You enter a cold-storage chamber, spare but for a few industrial benches, and are instructed to remove your shoes and socks. Dusty slippers and sneakers, recovered from the border zone, litter the floor. Barefoot, you exit the cold room and enter a larger one, its floor covered with sand. Attendants equip you with an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, headphones — and a backpack. The darkness gives way, and you find yourself on the border, and in danger.

In the gloaming you can make out an old woman who has broken her ankle, moaning in Spanish for help; a people-smuggler, or coyote, complains in English that they’re slowing down. You can walk through the sand to get close to them, since your headset is equipped with a motion detector. But soon a helicopter appears overhead, its spotlight bearing down on you, and border agents with guns and dogs are ordering you in two languages to put your hands up. With a rifle in your face, you instinctively throw your hands in the air.

Politically urgent and technically accomplished, “Carne y Arena” is the first virtual-reality installation to screen in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, which opened its 70th edition this week. Its debut here in an airplane hangar, far from the glamorous Croisette, is a foretaste of its display in arts institutions. Along with its showing at the Prada Foundation, which produced the work with Legendary Entertainment, it will also travel to two museums on either side of the border that President Trump has promised to divide with a wall. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will host “Carne y Arena” starting in July; the Tlatelolco museum in Mexico City will also feature the VR work this summer.

Museums will most likely provide a better context for this powerful three-room installation than the world of cinema. Mr. Iñárritu’s virtual reality, or VR, project has a sternness and resolve similar to some of his previous movies, notably the survivalist epic “The Revenant” and the California-Mexico strand of “Babel,” which netted a best director prize here in 2006. But “Carne y Arena” is not a film, and it succeeds by acknowledging that virtual reality is a wholly different medium, posing different theoretical and narrative challenges. Editing, essentially, is gone. Framing is gone too. Characters must be positioned in three dimensions, not just two. The medium is almost a hybrid of video game and live theater, and to excel, you have to think like a philosopher as much as a techie. “Carne y Arena” took Mr. Iñárritu four years to figure out — he made the relatively low-tech “Revenant” in the process — but he got there.

In “Carne y Arena,” whose virtual-reality component runs about seven minutes, traditionally photographed landscapes provide the backdrop for digitally rendered performers. Advances in technology — along with the sand beneath your feet — make the experience truly transporting, and as the dust rises from the ground, you quickly forget that the Riviera is right outside. (The outdoor images, detailed and menacing, were shot near the border by Emmanuel Lubezki, known as Chivo, Mr. Iñárritu’s frequent collaborator.)

Some technical limitations of the medium remain in evidence when you get close to the performers: not professional actors, but undocumented immigrants from Mexico or Central America, whose 14 individual stories are evoked in portraits appearing in the show’s final room. So that you can perceive them from every angle, they performed on a sensor-equipped soundstage and have been rendered digitally in three dimensions. Though their clothing and movements are convincing, up close their flesh appears reptilian and their faces generic.

But then crouch down, push your head through one of their bodies. You’ll find yourself in a bloody, throbbing chamber: their beating heart. “Carne y Arena” may draw most of its power from the real lives of immigrants, but it’s a work of fiction, with flights into poetry that set it apart from many documentaries in virtual reality, which has too often been promoted as just an “empathy machine.”

Just as the border guards are screaming at the migrants to kneel in the sand, a puff of smoke appears. The officers vanish, and a strange dream sequence begins.

The coyote is sitting on a truck, reading a book of poetry; the woman with the broken ankle is humming a lullaby at a long table that has materialized in the desert. When you move to the table, its wooden surface starts to deform. A cavity appears, containing a capsizing boat — an evocation of another refugee crisis, this one taking place right off the Croisette in the Mediterranean. Like the surreal moment when you discover you can walk into these migrants’ hearts, this mournful reverie serves to humanize people we still think of mostly in aggregate.

One reason the experience of migration and helplessness feels so potent in “Carne y Arena” is because you experience it alone. In this way, VR is completely different from Imax projections, or from cinema watched through 3-D glasses. Directors and artists have to choreograph narratives in space rather than in frames, and they must also calculate for a constantly shifting point of view. When you wear a virtual-reality headset, you become the lead actor, but you’re also, in a way, the director of photography as well.

So for all the thematic echoes between “Carne y Arena” and earlier films like “Babel” or “The Revenant,” I concluded by my third go-round that one movie above all might have prepared Mr. Iñárritu for the challenge of virtual reality. That film is “Birdman,” which he and Mr. Lubezki presented as a single, two-hour tracking shot. The exacting choreography of “Birdman,” perceived by a camera wandering through a Broadway theater, may have helped Mr. Iñárritu model the spatial relations and you-are-there imagery that VR requires. Classical Hollywood editing no longer serves, and so narrative has to be conveyed in other ways: through setting, sound and physical encounters.

It may seem strange that “Birdman,” Mr. Iñárritu’s black comedy, may be the most relevant antecedent for a work as harrowing as this one. And yet virtual reality, in the long run, is not cinema or video art. It’s a medium that seeks to become a non-medium — a tissue of images and sounds that replicates or even supersedes true life.

These are old ambitions, of course. The technologies for 3-D viewing have been around for centuries, and convex-lensed optical viewers in the 18th century, or depth-simulating goggles in the 19th, have come and gone. Whether virtual reality will really reshape art institutions, or whether it will fade like those earlier zograscopes and stereoscopes, is unknown. What Mr. Iñárritu has proved, with this formidable new work, is that making VR more than a sideshow medium is the job of artists, and that some stories can compel us more deeply when we are dropped into their protagonists’ lives. One of those stories takes place every day along the American border — and in the Mediterranean as well — by people with no greater designs than the pursuit of happiness."
alejandroiñárritu  virtualreality  border  borders  us  mexico  2017  emmanuellubezki  towatch  vr 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Stand At The Edge Of Geologic Time
"Transport yourself to Rocky Mountain National Park, with all its sights and sounds, in this immersive geology lesson."

"SELECT YOUR EXPERIENCE
Use headphones for immersive binaural audio

Listen to Oregon State University professor Eric Kirby describe the geologic history of Rocky Mountain National Park in this guided experience.

VR MODE: To view the virtual reality version of this story, visit this page on your phone using a Google Cardboard viewer."
geology  vr  binaural  video  erickirby  rockymountainnationalpark  2016  classideas  virtualreality  binauralrecording 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Werner Herzog on the future of film school, critical connectivity, and Pokémon Go | The Verge
"EY: Have you seen any changes or shifts in the work and in the submissions over the past seven years?

WH: There are always surprises. All of a sudden there is a film that is not really accomplished, but in the film there is a minute of utterly new unseen stuff that just makes you sit down and take a deep breath. Those are the [filmmakers] I would invite [to Rogue Film School], those who are not following on the trodden path. The MasterClass speaks to you in the same way. Find your own voice, do not just stupidly and blindly follow the so-called rules of storytelling in terms of screenplays, the three-act theory, all these things. Find your voice, find your own identity, don't be afraid just to step into it.

Because today it's fairly easy; you can make a film with a very high caliber camera that's not expensive anymore. You can record sound on your cell phone if you add a good microphone and you can edit your film on your laptop. In other words, you can make a feature film for $10,000 or under. And that's what I keep telling the students or those who watch the MasterClass: don't wait for the system to accept you. You create your own system, create your own [budget] and make your own first feature film or your first own documentary.

EY: More and more that DIY spirit is the dominant attitude of young filmmakers, especially those putting their work directly online. Do you think traditional film school will ever go extinct?

WH: No, unfortunately they are not going to go completely extinct; I wish they would. I wish everybody would come out of nowhere and be self-taught by life itself, by the world itself. No, [film school is] going to stay because there is a general demand for content, let's say, on television. And the film industry has some sort of a permanent demand for content. Let it be like that. I do not want to challenge it. But when you look into my MasterClass you better be out for something else."



"WH: No, you shouldn't watch it [the MasterClass] all at once. That would be completely mad. And be careful with the assignments, because sometimes I would say you do not need to follow them. Create your own assignments, be intelligent. Giving assignments, it reeks of high school and getting homework.

EY: Some people respond to that though, some people like that.

WH: Yes, but I always was reluctant to give any assignments. But it's fine. Let it be as it is. It's part of the format and it's part of the charm of it. When it comes to assignment I'm not the one who should be a high school principal.

EY: Right.

WH: I'd rather jump from Golden Gate Bridge if that happens.

EY: I asked about film school because I graduated from a film program less than a decade ago, and already many of the technical skills I learned are outdated. And it seems the things that remain are very personal lessons that usually don't come from the curriculum itself.

WH: Yeah, certain things you can neither learn in film school nor let's say the MasterClass nor in the Rogue Film School. It's just life, raw life as it is has to give you insight and has to allow you to make the right decisions and ask the right questions and gathering enough courage to do something."



"WH: If you are too much into the internet, yes, because it's a parallel surrogate life. It has nothing to do with the real world or examination of the real world, if you delegate too much to your cell phone and applications."



"WH: You see, I come from a world where you touch things, like a roll of celluloid. But I have to get better accustomed to the virtual world."



EY: Lo and Behold is officially being released in August, but in the meantime you've had the chance to screen it several times. What kinds of reactions have you gotten, especially from people who are perhaps more embedded in the "connected world" than you are?

WH: Well, everybody has been enthusiastic so far and the buzz is enormous. I never expected it, because in the beginning I was to do some YouTube tips on texting and driving. The financiers of the film, NETSCOUT, understood there was something much, much bigger and they supported me with that. The response has been totally unprecedented for me. What is also remarkable I get a lot of emails nowadays [from] 12, 14, 15-year-olds. And that's something really surprising because they speak a different language, the language of their age group. And yet [they are] making some very intelligent remarks."
wernerherzog  masterclass  education  filmmaking  2016  interviews  emilyyoshida  experience  unschooling  deschooling  internet  virtualreality  pokémongo  pokémon  pokemon  making  observation  roguefilmschool  diy  film  documentary  assignments  howweteach  howwelearn  learning  teaching  pokemongo  edg  srg  vr 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Ethan Zuckerman: Solving Other People's Problems With Technology - The Atlantic
"In other words, is it possible to get beyond both a naïve belief that the latest technology will solve social problems—and a reaction that rubbishes any attempt to offer novel technical solutions as inappropriate, insensitive, and misguided? Can we find a synthesis in which technologists look at their work critically and work closely with the people they’re trying to help in order to build sociotechnical systems that address hard problems?

Obviously, I think this is possible — if really, really hard — or I wouldn’t be teaching at an engineering school. But before considering how we overcome a naïve faith in technology, let’s examine Snow’s suggestion. It’s a textbook example of a solution that’s technically sophisticated, simple to understand, and dangerously wrong."



"The problem with the solutionist critique, though, is that it tends to remove technological innovation from the problem-solver’s toolkit. In fact, technological development is often a key component in solving complex social and political problems, and new technologies can sometimes open a previously intractable problem. The rise of inexpensive solar panels may be an opportunity to move nations away from a dependency on fossil fuels and begin lowering atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, much as developments in natural gas extraction and transport technologies have lessened the use of dirtier fuels like coal.

But it’s rare that technology provides a robust solution to a social problem by itself. Successful technological approaches to solving social problems usually require changes in laws and norms, as well as market incentives to make change at scale."



"Of the many wise things my Yale students said during our workshop was a student who wondered if he should be participating at all. “I don’t know anything about prisons, I don’t have family in prison. I don’t know if I understand these problems well enough to solve them, and I don’t know if these problems are mine to solve.”

Talking about the workshop with my friend and colleague Chelsea Barabas, she asked the wonderfully deep question, “Is it ever okay to solve another person’s problem?”

On its surface, the question looks easy to answer. We can’t ask infants to solve problems of infant mortality, and by extension, it seems unwise to let kindergarten students design educational policy or demand that the severely disabled design their own assistive technologies.

But the argument is more complicated when you consider it more closely. It’s difficult if not impossible to design a great assistive technology without working closely, iteratively, and cooperatively with the person who will wear or use it. My colleague Hugh Herr designs cutting-edge prostheses for U.S. veterans who’ve lost legs, and the centerpiece of his lab is a treadmill where amputees test his limbs, giving him and his students feedback about what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to change. Without the active collaboration with the people he’s trying to help, he’s unable to make technological advances.

Disability rights activists have demanded “nothing about us without us,” a slogan that demands that policies should not be developed without the participation of those intended to benefit from those policies.

Design philosophies like participatory design and codesign bring this concept to the world of technology, demanding that technologies designed for a group of people be designed and built, in part, by those people. Codesign challenges many of the assumptions of engineering, requiring people who are used to working in isolation to build broad teams and to understand that those most qualified to offer a technical solution may be least qualified to identify a need or articulate a design problem. This method is hard and frustrating, but it’s also one of the best ways to ensure that you’re solving the right problem, rather than imposing your preferred solution on a situation."



"It is unlikely that anyone is going to invite Shane Snow to redesign a major prison any time soon, so spending more than 3,000 words urging you to reject his solution may be a waste of your time and mine. But the mistakes Snow makes are those that engineers make all the time when they turn their energy and creativity to solving pressing and persistent social problems. Looking closely at how Snow’s solutions fall short offers some hope for building better, fairer, and saner solutions.

The challenge, unfortunately, is not in offering a critique of how solutions go wrong. Excellent versions of that critique exist, from Morozov’s war on solutionism, to Courtney Martin’s brilliant “The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems.” If it’s easy to design inappropriate solutions about problems you don’t fully understand, it’s not much harder to criticize the inadequacy of those solutions.

What’s hard is synthesis — learning to use technology as part of well-designed sociotechnical solutions. These solutions sometimes require profound advances in technology. But they virtually always require people to build complex, multifunctional teams that work with and learn from the people the technology is supposed to benefit.

Three students at the MIT Media Lab taught a course last semester called “Unpacking Impact: Reflecting as We Make.” They point out that the Media Lab prides itself on teaching students how to make anything, and how to turn what you make into a business, but rarely teaches reflection about what we make and what it might mean for society as a whole. My experience with teaching this reflective process to engineers is that it’s both important and potentially paralyzing, that once we understand the incompleteness of technology as a path for solving problems and the ways technological solutions relate to social, market, and legal forces, it can be hard to build anything at all.

I’m going to teach a new course this fall, tentatively titled “Technology and Social Change.” It’s going to include an examination of the four levers of social change Larry Lessig suggests in Code, and which I’ve been exploring as possible paths to civic engagement. The course will include deep methodological dives into codesign, and will examine using anthropology as tool for understanding user needs. It will look at unintended consequences, cases where technology’s best intentions fail, and cases where careful exploration and preparation led to technosocial systems that make users and communities more powerful than they were before.

I’m “calling my shot” here for two reasons. One, by announcing it publicly, I’m less likely to back out of it, and given how hard these problems are, backing out is a real possibility. And two, if you’ve read this far in this post, you’ve likely thought about this issue and have suggestions for what we should read and what exercises we should try in the course of the class — I hope you might be kind enough to share those with me.

In the end, I’m grateful for Shane Snow’s surreal, Black Mirror vision of the future prison both because it’s a helpful jumping-off point for understanding how hard it is to make change well by using technology, and because the U.S. prison system is a broken and dysfunctional system in need of change. But we need to find ways to disrupt better, to challenge knowledgeably, to bring the people they hope to benefit into the process. If you can, please help me figure out how we teach these ideas to the smart, creative people I work with—people who want to change the world, and are afraid of breaking it in the process."
technology  technosolutionism  solutionism  designimperialism  humanitariandesign  problemsolving  2016  ethanzuckerman  design  blackmirror  shanesnow  prisons  socialchange  lawrencelessig  anthropology  medialab  courtneymartin  nutraloaf  soylent  codesign  evgenymorozov  olcp  wikipedia  bias  racism  empathy  suziecagle  mitmedialab  mit  systems  systemsthinking  oculusrift  secondlife  vr  virtualreality  solitaryconfinement  incarceration  change  changemaking  ethnography  chelseabarabas  participatory  participatorydesign 
july 2016 by robertogreco
11 video game trends that will change the future of the industry | Technology | The Guardian
"1. VR with friends rather than alone

2. Physically collaborative games

Virtual reality and its experimental tech contemporaries are exploring new ways to incorporate the body as more than just an anchor to the physical world. As Ghislaine Boddington, creative director of body>data>space, noted in her talk on virtual reality and the “internet of bodies”, the hope for the future is in recognising and augmenting physical bodies in games and play. She offers technologies like programmable gels used with the body in more intimate ways, such as rubbing “gels on to erogenous zones”, allowing partners to “connect together at a distance”.

Boddington also noted the future of physically collaborative and increasingly social spaces in AR, as seen in the very popular Pokémon Go: “Pokémon Go is definitely a collaborative share space. The Pokémon Go site, along with many others, allow the individual to join with the group into the middle, both in a physical and a virtual way.”

Implications of the physical are vast, as Robin Hunicke, co-founder and creative director of Funomena (Woorld, Luna) and previously of thatgamecompany (Journey), noted on the psychological impact of VR brought about by gestural controls, and recognising the capacity of range of movement from players. What does it mean for a player, psychologically, to encourage them to stand tall and strike a powerful pose? What might it mean to force them into a crouched position, to feel small? The necessity of an embodied experience in VR also brings up new questions, such as what the platform offers by way of accessibility.

3. The future of augmented reality

Pokémon Go came to the UK on the third and last day of the conference, and it felt like everyone in Brighton was catching Magikarp and Shellder and Seel and all the other water Pokémon the seaside town had to offer. Had this international hit been available a little earlier, the conference schedule would surely have contained a few more panels about augmented reality. Whether we can expect to see an AR-heavy Develop 2017 will depend on whether Pokémon Go represents the start of a new trend, or if it’s simply a one-off success carried by an already successful brand.

Ismail thinks the latter. When asked what he would do with Pokémon Go, he said that he would sell it, and that it hasn’t proven anything about AR itself. “We’re seeing a lot of discussion right now about whether AR just beat VR, and I think that would be a very wrong statement. Like, Pokémon beat VR, that’s for sure, but I guess Pokémon beat everything at the moment. Pokémon beat Tinder and Twitter, which is a big deal.”

Hunicke might not be looking to make the next Pokémon Go, but she’s still interested in the potential of augmented-reality games that “make the world more silly and joyful, and less logical”. One of Funomena’s upcoming games, Woorld, is described as “a hand-held Alternative Reality experience”, a “whimsical, exploratory application” that lets you place virtual objects against the backdrop of your physical environment. Created in collaboration with Google, with art from Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy), this colourful augmented-reality game and sandbox will be available on devices that include Google’s new AR-enabling platform Tango, like the upcoming Lenovo Phab2 Pro.

4. Incremental console updates …

5. The next step for mobile: TV …

6. Sayonara, Steam: the rise of specialised stores

The number of games on Steam is on the rise, and with it, the number of games that go unplayed or unnoticed. Nearly 37% of all registered Steam games go unplayed , and it’s no secret that many indie games – even good, critically acclaimed games – get lost amid a sea of other green lit games.

In light of this, smaller more specialised distribution services are becoming more important. Itch.io, an “indie game marketplace and DIY game jam host” is already hugely popular in the indie scene, offering pay-what-you-want and minimum-pricing models. Just last year, Itch’s co-founder Leaf Corcoran revealed in a blog post about the site’s finances that they had paid out $393,000 to developers. Since then, the platform has only grown and it’s likely that we’ll see more specialised distributors following Itch’s model.

7. The rise of indie studios …

8. Rejecting crunch

Crunch, ie mandatory (and often unpaid) overtime in the weeks or months leading to a game’s release, has long been an issue for this industry. More than a decade since Erin Hoffman wrote about her husband’s experiences of unpaid overtime when working for EA, in an originally anonymous blog post known at the time as “EA Spouse”, crunch is still commonplace in studios of all sizes, and people are still fighting it.

At this year’s Develop, Machine Studios (Maia) founder Simon Roth gave a talk called “Killing the Indie Crunch Myth: Shipping Games Alive”, which began tweet:
People who support crunch are going against 100+ years of data and science. They are the flat earthers of software development.

9. Design that puts feelings first

The design practice underlying Hunicke’s studio Funomena, and the focus of her keynote, is one she calls “feel engineering”. As Hunicke describes it: “Feel engineering is the process by which you create a game backwards from the feeling you want to create in a person forward towards the mechanics and the dynamics of the game itself.” She notes that while feel engineering isn’t easy, due to its time commitment, high cost, and level of emotional investment asked from development teams, it’s worth it. Hunicke speaks to the positive studio culture of feeling-focused engineering, and its contrast to the toxicity of crunch is evident. “The process of making it is so delightful,” she adds. “It’s so much better than anything I’ve ever done.”

We’ve already seen aspects of feel engineering in the mobile market, with games looking to reverse-engineer social situations people already find fun. Haslam outlines how the design of “co-operative shouting game” Spaceteam was inspired by the social experience of playing a board game with friends, an experience its lead designer Henry Smith already enjoyed.

10. Trying – and failing …

11. Feeling twitchy about YouTube and Twitch"
games  gaming  videogames  future  2016  vr  virtualreality  ar  augmentedreality  youtube  twitch  funomena  kickstarter  crowdfunding  indiegames  design  gamedesign  spaceteam  social  collaboration  braid  worldofgoo  steam  itch.io  mobile  phones  smartphones  pokemongo  keitatakahashi  robinhunicke  thatgamecompany  ghislaineboddington  body>data>space  bodies  play  physical  oculusrift  ramiismail  jordanericaebber  katbrewster  pokémongo  body 
july 2016 by robertogreco
In Praise of the Field Trip - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher
"I wondered--what is this field trip's ultimate purpose? How will the students apply what they have learned? What are their takeaways?

And--because these are the questions we hear most often in national policy discussion--was this content standards-based? Could it be delivered (and measured) more efficiently and effectively? Say, in a video or interactive computer game?

I'm going to go ahead and answer that question: No.

There is no replacement for the field trip. I know buses are expensive, ticket costs are soaring, and taking 30 ,60 or 100 kids on the road--even for a half day--is a monumental, fraught undertaking. But sometimes, you have to get out of Dodge, into the wider world.

Because leaving the desks and playground behind is much more than a treat, or a reward. It is--when done well--exactly what we should be doing with all children: making it possible for them to explore their world, sample new sights and sounds, interact in different ways. It's even common for children to experience local landmarks and institutions for the first time on a field trip.

A field trip is much more than just fitting new objects, buildings or facts into a mental framework, however. It's understanding that someone's mom or dad has volunteered to watch over you for a day, and must be listened to, and respected. It's the anticipation of a new experience. It's managing lunch, directional signs, backpack and a new restroom. It's being on your own in a roomful of precious objects, listening to an expert who isn't your teacher, and isn't on a screen.

Puff pieces on virtual field trips appear frequently in edu-media. These can be great supplementary instructional materials--pre-packaged, targeted to specific learning goals, a virtual glimpse of the Smithsonian for kids who live in rural Montana. But the non-virtual field trip--probably because it's not easy to set up and accomplish, and always subject to the unpredictable-- lingers in students' memory.

I remember clearly going to Deer Park, the "first grade trip" at Orchard View Elementary, and feeding deer from a flat-bottomed ice cream cone. There were brightly painted plywood cottages and a playground, and we ate our sack lunches at picnic tables. Awesome sauce. (This was the 1950s, mind you, when my family got two black-and-white channels on our new TV set.)

Here are some indelible things I learned on that trip: Deer can be friendly, but are not tame. Their most critical sense is smell, and they have a difficult time seeing the color red. Also: some of the room mothers who chaperoned the trip were smokers, lighting up their Pall Malls outside the fence at lunch, while other moms tut-tutted back at the picnic tables. (You might call that social-cue learning...)

Most of the enthusiasm for virtual field trips is prefaced by the assertion that a computer-based experience is cheap--or even free (with the obvious assumption, of course, that you have "free" devices for every child--and those devices all operate perfectly). In a time when students spend so much time being entertained, drilled and emotionally jolted in front of screens, why wouldn't you opt for a first-hand experience, even if the content was more pedestrian--the fire house, the local library or the apple orchard?

The Michigan Historical Center, in Lansing, offers a five-day immersive experience for local classrooms, bringing students to the museum every day for a week. Students are not led past exhibits (or sent on competitive "treasure hunts")--but instead sit down for discussion, sketching items, journal-writing and share-outs around essential questions about how Michigan was settled and shaped. Margaret Holtschlag, who developed the Big History Lesson program, in 1999, understood the value of letting questions bubble up, allowing students time to wonder what an unfamiliar farm implement might do--or what the impact of a wave of immigrants might mean to an industry or region.

So why don't more museums, zoos, galleries and science centers offer week-long, in-depth programs? It's not the money--money can be raised or donated. It's fear about the time away from tested skills and content. Think about that.

I looked around for the obvious teacher(s) at the MIM, thinking to approach and compliment them on their students' behavior and enthusiasm, and to congratulate them on whatever preparation had made the kids so responsive and excited about the musical wonders they were immersed in. But I couldn't tell which of the adults was Teacher. That, in itself, is success.

Go see the MIM, if you're in Phoenix. It's incredible. I hope you get lucky and go on a day when the place is delightfully full of schoolkids."
fieldtrips  curriculum  nancyflanagan  2016  schools  education  howweteach  howwelearn  teaching  experience  social  independence  society  vr  virtualreality  technology  edtech 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Into the Beast – Versions
"“I couldn’t care less about empathy,” said Natalie Jeremijenko. “I don’t see VR as a prosthetic for empathy. I refuse that. I think it’s bullshit.”

Few people have been working at the intersections between art, technology, and animals for as long as Jeremijenko, whose eccentric, restlessly interdisciplinary energy has produced an impressive array of bizarre projects. In 2009, she set up an installation along the East River in which participants could send a text message to a fish and receive a response recording its overall health and wellbeing; at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, a place where many of her ideas have been realized, she built a “Salamander Superhighway” across the road that would tweet whenever salamanders migrated through it, since salamanders, in her view, represent a better potential source of ethical meat than Google’s artificial burger; more recently, she enlisted kids from New York’s PS 153 to use “Feral Robot Dogs”—some of them disturbingly repurposed AIBOs—to sniff out soil contaminants in their local community.

In 2004, Jeremijenko was already thinking about what VR could do to connect humans and animals. But she wasn’t thinking about empathy, which she views as an “atomizing, individuating phenomenon” that should never be instrumentalized. Instead, she asked a counterintuitive question: what might VR be able to do to improve the material lives of animals themselves?

Inspired by the canard digérateur—or “digesting duck”—invented by Jacques de Vaucanson in 1739, Jeremijenko created a fleet of duck and geese robots that could be operated by people wearing VR goggles (with beaks attached). After enlisting local kids from an LA public school, she encouraged them to drive their ersatz waterfowls directly into contact with real-life counterparts. The real ducks and geese never mistook the robots for other real ducks and geese. But the drivers could engage in rudimentary communication with them, learning quickly that a straight neck would be interpreted as aggressive behavior, a craned neck “would allow for a closer approach.” And they would see their interactions firsthand.

“I didn’t build a 3D environment, because we were in one,” she said. “I was actually using a physical avatar in physical space. But it constituted a critique of what it is we do with VR: whether it should be this closed world, fantastical, or whether it should allow us to understand the actual world.”

In one case, the project actually led to environmental change—or at least potential environmental change. After one mecha-goose found a nest full of smashed eggs, she and her team investigated and discovered the root cause: the park authorities had been using petrochemical fertilizers that had compromised the eggs’ structural integrity. They weren’t able to fix the situation, but they did discover a situation that might not have been discovered, precisely because they had been seeing things from a more gooselike POV. The project demonstrated one of Jeremijenko’s central theses in utter clarity: if and when VR and animals come together, the only worthwhile byproduct ought to be actual, material change. Anything else is mere escapism.

For the team behind In the Eyes of the Animal, escapism is the entire point. The project is premised on the idea that a blissful, peacefully psychedelic sensory experience can expand our vision—our moral vision—beyond the scope of the human. “Somehow it creates a cocoon,” Steel said. “It gives you this kind of isolation, in a similar kind of way that you get when you’re walking through the woods and you’ve got no mobile signal. It gives you space to think. It taps into the tranquil state of mind that you can get floating on the surface of water, or sitting on a mountain and looking at the view. That sense of presence.”

Jeremijenko would call bullshit. And in a lot of ways, she has a point, even though In the Eyes of the Animal has the advantage of being much more aesthetically and emotionally arresting than a VR-controlled duck sim in which you look for signs of petrochemical toxicity. Jeremijenko maintains that nothing good will happen from the perspective of environmental health if we let VR transport us to “nature” in the traditional sense: a space pristine, unpolluted, unaffected by our presence. VR could be an agent of real change in what she calls the “environmental commons”—a way of seeing how our animal neighbors actually live, not necessarily through their eyes but at the level of habitat. It could also be a dangerously effective way to ignore that commons: a way to strap on the headset and return to Xanadu while the world silently turns to waste."



"Major new technologies of representation have a tendency to advertise themselves as ways of bringing us into closer contact with “nature”. They also have a tendency to do precisely the opposite. When the aquarium took Britain by storm in the 1850s, it was promoted as a glass box that could bring people into a completely new relationship with the inaccessible ocean depths; it also became a way of framing those depths, making them artificial, subjecting them to editorial control. One of the very first motion pictures was Eadweard Muybridge’s Horse in Motion, which revealed new truths about animal movement; another was Edison’s electrocuted elephant, which proved in the most darkly literal way that technology could destroy animals by making them into spectacles. Nature TV from the David Attenborough 1980s to now has been defined by its gradual, insistent movement toward intimacy: where we once observed them from a reserved distance, we now find ourselves among them, in their lives, in the fray. It has also been adept at hiding its own mediation, at pretending to be a form of closeness when it is really anything but.

We already know what some animal-centric VR experiences are going to look like, and others are pretty easy to imagine. Sir Attenborough himself has already collaborated on VR nature films, insisting that “you actually really are there—inside a rainforest, diving in the ocean or exploring a pyramid, wherever you want to go.” Apps like Ocean Rift unironically use the word “safari” to encapsulate the experience of coming that much closer to exotic creatures. These experiences still place us outside the animal, albeit an inch away. More will come, though, that attempt to place us “inside,” leveraging the power of empathy that seems to be the medium’s unique ethical promise. Much more than Jeremijenko, I’m inclined to think that a piece of software that takes a stab at interspecies empathy could form the basis for material change. I can imagine seeing from the eyes of an orca at SeaWorld. I can imagine feeling a rage that lingers.

At the same time, In the Eyes of the Animal, Jeremijenko’s VR waterfowl, and Theriomorphous Cyborg share one thing in common that should serve as a warning to the creators and consumers of empathy apps in general: all three envision “VR” as a means to “AR,” the self-enclosed app as a means to a more layered, more nuanced understanding of the world—or worlds—in which we live. Perhaps this ought to be the ethical litmus test for empathy apps: what they ask us to do with the experience we’ve had as soon as we take off the headset and return to the world. What they ask us to remember. What they ask us not to forget."
vr  virtualreality  empathy  nataliejeremijenko  via:anne  multispecies  ethics  mattmargini  escapism  pov  jakobvonuexküll  simoneferracina  philipkdick  rickdeckard  nonnydelapeña  border  borders  us  mexico  wilburmercer  richardfeynman  barneysteel 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Magic Leap
"You already own the world’s most amazing computer. You’re using it right now, to think with and blink with and maybe even smile with. It’s your one-of-a-kind mind. And with it, you can do incredible things. Magic things.

Compare that to the technology in your life. You know, those rectangular boxes that you spend the majority of your life staring into? The ones that demand your attention, and keep you distracted from the things that really matter: Friends! Family! Dragons!

With those things in mind, we decided to take a different path and rethink the relationship technology has with people. What we found was when you give the brain and the body what they want, suddenly the shackles are off, the rectangular boxes are tossed, and something magical happens…experiences like none you’ve ever seen.

Whales jump out of gymnasium floors, solar systems can be held in the palm of your hand, and you can share your world in completely new ways.

We’re so excited to show you what we’re building. So while we work to get it exactly right for you, please keep in touch and know that magic is right around the corner."

[via: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:b2bc58181cd9 ]
magicleap  ar  augmentedreality  vr  virtualreality 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Popular versus Brilliant | Designers + Geeks
"Jim Bull is worried about the future of design and thinks you should be too. Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Moving Brands, Jim dissects an industry where design is judged by the number of its likes and shares, where the focus is on efficiency rather than brilliance, and where one or two companies set the design standard for the globe."

[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/155640569 ]

[Tagged “web rococo” because this is the opposite.]

[Not sure why there is no mention of Tibor Kalman and Oliviero Toscani in the Benetton discussion. And there seems to be some tunnel vision here. Sure, the big SV VC backed companies are all looking the same, but they're not the only ones making things on the web. You know, there are many other countries and languages to look to for something other than California Design. Uh, maybe that's more the issue: SV only sees itself and it's not diverse.]

[via: https://twitter.com/soopa/status/700559147247357952 ]
jimbbull  californiadesign  siliconvalley  2016  branding  reverence  generic  popularity  brilliance  apple  uber  medium  california  graphicdesign  webdesign  movingbrands  productdesign  sameness  webrococo  benetton  olivierotoscani  tiborkalman  design  business  california-zation  homogenization  designeducation  art  differentiation  ui  ux  screens  magicleap  ar  augmentedreality  virtualreality  packaging  vr  webdev 
february 2016 by robertogreco
UNCANNY VALLEY (2015) on Vimeo
"In the slums of the future, virtual reality junkies satisfy their violent impulses in online entertainment. An expert player discovers that the line between games and reality is starting to fade away. 3DAR’s latest short film explores the frightening potential of our next technological revolution. Behind the scenes coming soon! Stay connected, but not too much ;)
Artwork and process in 3dar.com"
film  vr  scifi  sciencefiction  virtualreality  2015  games  gaming  videogames  reality  3dar 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Cathedral-in-the-Clouds
"Cathedral-in-the-Clouds is a digital art project. A cathedral in virtual reality forms the home of an ever expanding collection of virtual dioramas intended for contemplation. Many of these dioramas are inspired by religious imagery but the experience does not require faith. The dioramas are individually distributed, for free, via a variety of media."

[See also: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/taleoftales/cathedral-in-the-clouds-contemplation-in-the-digit

"Virtual dioramas to contemplate ancient religious themes in real-time 3D, created by avant-garde indie studio Tale of Tales.

We are Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn. We’re a wife and husband team working out of Ghent, Belgium. We’ve been making videogames together — as Tale of Tales — for the past 12 years. This new project, however, is a little bit different.

Our vocation has always been the arts. And with Cathedral-in-the-Clouds we want to return to some of our original inspirations for working with interactive media — as expressed, for instance, in the Realtime Art Manifesto.

We think of Cathedral-in-the-Clouds as an ever expanding collection of virtual dioramas depicting scenes created for contemplation. The individual pieces will be available in a variety of digital media (downloads, web, apps, video, etc). Or they can be explored together in virtual reality (VR) in the eponymous cathedral. The subject matter for the dioramas is inspired by the medieval art that we find ourselves surrounded by in our home town of Ghent in Flanders.

Despite of being atheists, we can’t help being intensely moved by some of the religious art made during the Gothic and Renaissance period. These experiences can’t convert us to Christianity but they do make us think about universal themes as kindness, self-sacrifice, patience, empathy, love, and so on. We feel they make us better people. These experiences are intense and often accompanied by tears. And they last! They stay with us, become part of us, tremendously improve our lives on this planet.

We're looking to transfer the intense experiences we sometimes have in museums to cyberspace and the comfort of our living rooms.

We love visiting museums and churches in search of these experiences. But it’s not always convenient to do so. And since there’s all this wonderful technology now, it really shouldn’t be necessary anymore. We should all have works of art in our pockets or on our laptops, for when the mood strikes, or when we need a moment of calm and focus. On top of convenience, computer graphics running in realtime are not confined to 2D static images anymore. Now we can create scenes that are three-dimensional and alive (and still fit in your pocket and can be shared generously)!

Each individual diorama in the virtual cathedral consists of a box that houses a life-size virtually sculpted body. Often the body of a saint, or the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ himself. The way that they are depicted always refers to some ancient tale. But don’t worry, we’ll make sure to explain the context of each piece, in case you’re not familiar with this particular part of the story.

The dioramas are alive. Air flows, light shifts, insects scurry around, wind affects clothes, chests move when breathing, and so on. Accompanied by subtle, immersive sound effects. In many scenes an event will slowly unfold, from a beginning to an end. This should help you take the time needed for the contemplative effect. These are not casual experiences! They are a form of meditation that require a certain state of mind that may take some effort or concentration to achieve. But it’s so very much worth it! Such experiences can be life enhancers, sensation multipliers. They open our eyes and help us embrace and enjoy existence as it presents itself. ]
taleoftales  art  arthistory  vr  virtualreality  religion 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Virtual Field Trips and Education (Technology) Inequalities
"Field trips are sometimes dismissed as trivial distractions and unnecessarily deviations from the curriculum, but the enrichment they offer is actually quite important, particularly for low-income students who might not otherwise have the opportunities their wealthier peers do to visit museums and the like."



"Other research has found that field trips have a long-lasting impact on students, most of whom can still (like me) recall significant elements from the outings – who was there, what they saw, what they did – even years later"



"But let's be honest: virtual field trips are not field trips. Oh sure, they might provide educational content. They might, as Google’s newly unveiled “Expeditions” cardboard VR tool promises, boast "360° photo spheres, 3D images and video, ambient sounds -- annotated with details, points of interest and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools." But virtual field trips do not offer physical context; they do not offer social context. Despite invoking the adjective “immersive,” they most definitely are not.

"So when Google says, as it did onstage today at its annual developer/marketing event Google IO, that its new tool will “take your students to places a school can’t,” let’s ask more questions and not simply parrot the tech giant’s PR.
Let’s ask why certain students from certain schools can’t go places -- even local places -- anymore (if, indeed, they ever were able to). Let’s consider how equating viewing 3D movies in the classroom with experiential learning off-campus could give even more schools an excuse to cut back further on funding actual field trips. And, please, let’s not conflate providing students a VR viewer made out of cardboard with actually addressing how education technology exacerbates inequalities."
google  inequality  audreywatters  vr  fieldtrips  virtualreality  googleio  googlexpeditions  experience  memory  2015 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Surrounded by sound: how 3D audio hacks your brain | The Verge
[video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd5i7TlpzCk ]

[Bonus video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gpl99s02Aw ]

"The technique at the heart of binaural audio can be traced back to Clement Ader, a 19th-century French engineer. In 1881, Ader devised the Theatrophone, a telephonic system of transmission to broadcast a Paris Opera show. Pairs of microphones were systematically spaced in front of the stage, covering the breadth from left to right. Signals from the show were then transmitted via telephone receivers to listeners on the other end. With a pair of receivers, one mounted on each ear, listeners could hear the show from their designated suites at the gallery of Palais de l’Industrie.

In 1933, AT&T Bell Laboratories brought binaural audio to the Chicago World’s Fair. The acoustics research department of the company created a mechanical dummy, which it named Oscar, with microphones placed on its cheeks in front its ears. Oscar sat in a glass room capturing sounds while visitors gathered outside used headphones to hear exactly what the dummy heard. The technique revised the experience introduced by Ader, but both inventions offered poor sound quality.

Through World War II and the decades that followed, progress in binaural faced significant obstacles: primitive techniques failed to achieve accurate, high-fidelity recordings. But in 1973, Neumann, a renowned German microphone company, introduced the breakthrough KU-80, a prototype binaural recording device. Neumann’s iteration consisted of a detached dummy head with microphones placed in the eardrums – the position captured cues with more precision than any of its predecessors. Three generations of dummy heads later, the KU-100, introduced in 1992, featured omnidirectional microphones, expertly preserving the spatial cues and the overall quality of sound. It continues to be the go-to dummy head for binaural recordings.

Now, almost a century after the demise of the Theatrophones, investors are starting to revisit 3D audio technology: the prototype of Sony’s VR headset Project Morpheus includes a custom 3D audio binaural solution in its development kit. "3D audio adds to the feeling of presence that we strive so hard to achieve with the visuals in VR," says Richard Marks, senior director of research and development at Sony Computer Entertainment America. "When sound is perceived to come from the same direction as a visual stimulus, the credibility of the virtual experience is greatly increased. While purely visual VR experiences can be made, adding 3D audio greatly magnifies the impact and depth of a VR experience."

3D audio offers a more expansive experience than its visual counterpart. "Unlike with the visuals, 3D audio is not limited to the field of view of the display and can be rendered to give a 'complete 360-degree' experience," says Marks. "One of the biggest challenges for VR design is that the user can look in any direction, and may not even be looking when something momentous occurs. But using a 3D audio cue, it is possible to steer the user’s attention to look in the direction of the sound, similar to techniques that are used in live theater.""



"Back in Manhattan, Choueiri is considering another problem: since the inception of the technology, binaural audio has been reserved for headphone listening. But Choueiri wants to make the technology accessible over external speaker systems for a wider audience. The challenge is that with speakers, a right ear not only hears its respective cues, but also picks up information meant for the left ear. "It messes up the cues, so instead of hearing 3D sound, the brain just locates the speakers," Choueiri said. "It’s like watching 3D movies without the glasses on."

For decades, this confusing crosstalk between speakers has perplexed the audio community. But Choueiri’s BACCH SP, a filter that enables a pair of speakers to retain the aural cues, creates the illusion of 3D audio for the listeners. Jawbone has employed Princeton University’s algorithm over the last two years to create the LiveAudio filter for its wireless bluetooth speaker, Jambox. Loading the mini-speaker with the digital filter optimizes audio to create a three-dimensional experience. While effective, the experience is limited to a sweet spot — the device needs to be centered in relation to the listener. The illusion instantly collapses when the listener moves from the spot. Choueiri says a version of that software, the BACCH-dSP app, coupled with a head-tracking feature, can sustain the illusion irrespective of the listener’s head movements. That app is scheduled to show up in the store for Mac OS soon, bringing 3D audio experiences to laptops.

Slowly but surely, binaural is becoming a linchpin in virtual reality development. Oculus’ most recent prototype, Crescent Bay, unveiled at CES last month, integrates binaural technology with Rift’s head tracking for complete audio-visual immersion. And while Sony’s Project Morpheus hasn’t announced final specifications of the product yet, their emphasis on 3D audio is evident. As Adam Somers of Jaunt put it, "Binaural audio is critical to an immersive experience within the context of VR. We consider audio to be 50 percent of the immersive experience.""

[via: http://tinyletter.com/chrbutler/letters/2-6-neighborhoods-the-anti-algorithm ]
ryanmanning  binaural  audio  2015  history  clementader  soundscapes  sound  virtualreality  oculusrift  edg  srg  glvo  video  pointofview  beck  radiohead  binauralrecording  monalalwani  vr 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Architects I work for just gave the best reactions I've ever seen in person. : oculus
"I work as an intern at an office for a few architects as a draftsman. I make 2D drawings and 3D visualizations. I came with the idea to make one of their project into a VR experience and they liked the idea. They gave me a project to work with, which was a perfect fit for VR (a brand new college in Amsterdam with beautiful inside and outside spaces).

Getting their huge and complex sketch-up model of the project exported to Unity was quite the chore. After days of remodeling and cleaning I finally got the model exported in different parts into Unity. After that I had to adjust some textures tweak a bit with the scale and baked the lightmaps (which gave a beautiful result) and the first test build was done. I called over the architect whom was the main designer of this project to come and take a look.

Some people had already seen me working with the rift and didn't think much of it. got some weird looks and people were just like "just let him play with his glasses". The main architect already postponed to see me 2 times due to not having enough time and finally came with an attitude of "okay just let me see your toy".

I was really wondering what kind of reaction he would give, as people react very different on experiencing it. Some are like "okay cool" or "this is not for me I'm getting dizzy" and of course the people that are blown away and yell how fantastic it is. I of course was hoping on the last reaction, but got something way better.

The architect sat down, I explained the 360 controls and what the camera did. After he put it over his head he tried to look up using the controller, and asked me if that was possible. I told him to just look up with his head, after that it was silent for a good 2 minutes. He carefully walked around, completely silent. Normally this man would talk a lot, constantly and really hard. My colleagues looked up with a weird expression, "I've never seen him quiet".

Then a soft "unbelievable" came out of his mouth. "I didn't expect this", "not at all". in the period of 15 minutes he occasionally broke the silence with;

"How is this already possible", "I get it now, I'm so happy I didn't put more bridges in the main hall", "I can now finally see how important it is that this wall is yellow", "I got to change that, amazing that I can finally see it", "this opens so much to me". And some more reactions like that.

He finally put the Rift off his head, his eyes were in a total state of blown away. He put the Rift away and just sat there, saying nothing. Some colleagues were giggling and I asked how he liked it. It looked like my question was just some noise to him, and he replied, "sorry, it's just so much information that I have to process" after 5 minutes of staring he shook his head and stood up. "I would never expect this", "the building isn't finished, and I've already been there" "as an architect, this is cheating, my god".

After that my colleagues naturally wanted to try it out too, they reacted like most people do their first time. During lunch people talked with each other like normal, the architect who normally was leading the conversation just sat there staring in infinity. The conversation was long on a different subject and he would just blurt out things he could do with the Rift. At the end of the lunch he asked me, "I didn't look at a certain part, can I see it again" and again he was lost in another world for like 10 minutes.

During the rest of the day he would run around the office telling people to come see me, which they all did, and all with amazing and entertaining reactions.

I know this was a long read, and I thank you if you put trough it. I just wanted to share the most interesting reaction I ever got."
technology  oculusrift  2015  architecture  vr  virtualreality 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Global Lives Project - A Video Library of Life ExperiencesGlobal Lives Project
"The Global Lives Project is a video library of life experience, designed to cultivate empathy across cultures. We curate an ever-expanding collection of films that faithfully capture 24 continuous hours in the lives of individuals from around the world. We explore the diversity of human experience through the medium of video, and encourage discussion, reflection, and inquiry about the wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions on this planet. Our goal is to foster empathy and cross-cultural understanding.

Our new web presence is possible thanks to generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and design firm Method. Allowing visitors to engage with and become participants in the Global Lives Project, this advanced web interface is vital to transforming Global Lives’ exhibit design into an interactive video installation. Please stay tuned as we iron out kinks and continue to launch features in the coming months."

[via: https://twitter.com/robinsloan/status/558686720955125760
"This → http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/23/business/media/vice-uses-virtual-reality-to-immerse-viewers-in-news.html … makes me think of the Global Lives Project, which might be amazing as VR: http://globallives.org/ " ]
global  international  documentary  film  globalization  culture  globallives  immersion  video  diversity  empathy  vr  understanding  virtualreality 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Dennō Coil - Wikipedia
"Dennō Coil (電脳コイル Dennō Koiru?, lit. Electric Brain Coil or Computer Coil), Coil—A Circle of Children, is a Japanese science fiction anime television series depicting a near future where semi-immersive augmented reality (AR) technology has just begun to enter the mainstream. The series takes place in the fictional city of Daikoku, a hotbed of AR development with an emerging city-wide virtual infrastructure. It follows a group of children as they use AR glasses to unravel the mysteries of the half real, half Internet city, using a variety of illegal software tools, techniques, and virtual pets to manipulate the digital landscape.

Dennō Coil, in development for over a decade, is the series director debut of Japanese animator Mitsuo Iso. It premiered on NHK Educational TV on May 12, 2007. Due to the animators involved in its production and its unusually high-profile television broadcast time slot, Dennō Coil was highly anticipated."

Plot

In 2026, eleven years after the introduction of internet-connected augmented reality eyeglasses and visors, Yūko Okonogi moves with her family to the city of Daikoku, the technological center of the emerging half-virtual world. Yūko joins her grandmother's "investigation agency" made up of children equipped with virtual tools and metatags. As their research turns up mounting evidence of children who have been whisked away to the mysterious "other side" of reality, they find themselves entangled in a conspiracy to cover up the dangerous true nature and history of the new technology.



Technology

Dennō is the word used in the series to differentiate between virtual and real, e.g. "dennō cat". Literally translating to "electric brain", the title of the show itself, Dennō Coil, refers to the dangerous phenomenon of the separation of one's digital self from the physical body.

The children access the virtual world through Internet-connected visors called dennō eyeglasses. This allows them to see virtual reality superimposed on objective reality. To visually confirm something as virtual, the children often lift their glasses from their eyes. The visors also work in conjunction with futuristic ear monitors placed behind the ear, which allow the wearer to hear sounds from the virtual environment"

[Reminds me of Chupan Chupai: https://vimeo.com/84978203 ]
anime  towatch  via:tealtan  technology  scifi  sciencefiction  2026  augmentedreality  chupanchupai  hobosigns  hobocodes  glyphs  virtualreality  tamagotchi  children  play  dennōcoil  cityasclassroom  thecityishereforyoutouse  smartcity  smartcities  vr  ar 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Cardboard
"Virtual reality has made exciting progress over the past several years. However, developing for VR still requires expensive, specialized hardware. Thinking about how to make VR accessible to more people, a group of VR enthusiasts at Google experimented with using a smartphone to drive VR experiences.

The result is Cardboard, a no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset, and the accompanying open software toolkit that makes writing VR software as simple as building a web or mobile app.

By making it easy and inexpensive to experiment with VR, we hope to encourage developers to build the next generation of immersive digital experiences and make them available to everyone."
cardboard  android  google  diy  virtualreality  vr 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Oculus Rift’s $2 Billion Purchase - TIME
"Palmer Luckey—the name suits him—grew up in Long Beach, Calif., the son of a housewife and a car salesman. He was a natural-born tinkerer. “Self-taught!” is how he describes himself. “Explore the world around you, take things apart, put ’em back together. You can learn a lot if you do nothing but spend your entire life in your garage working on projects or in your room reading on the Internet.” As a teenager one of Luckey’s hobbies was taking apart old video-game consoles and reassembling them inside portable cases. Another one was virtual reality.

It was an odd hobby for a person Luckey’s age because the received wisdom at the time was that VR was a failed technology. Everybody has an idea of what VR is, or what it’s supposed to be: a simulated, three-dimensional, interactive world that surrounds you completely. It’s been a staple of science-fiction classics—-Neuromancer, Snow Crash, Tron, Star Trek, The Matrix—and a core component of our collective pop-cultural vision of the future for decades.

But apart from niche applications like designing cars and surveying oil fields, VR never made it to market. As Luckey puts it, “the idea existed, the will existed, the people existed, the demand existed—and the technology did not.” It baffled engineers, frustrated consumers and ate up billions of dollars of R&D money. Like flying cars and robot butlers, VR is one of those revolutions that went from wow to lame without ever actually materializing in between. Nintendo tried its hand at it in 1995 with the Virtual Boy game console and lost millions. The list of virtual-reality products that launched and then died of neglect is long."
oculusrift  facebook  2014  palmerluckey  autodidacts  unschooling  learning  tinkering  lcproject  openstudioproject  johncarmack  gaming  videogames  vr  virtualreality 
march 2014 by robertogreco
William Gibson On MONDO 2000 & 90s Cyberculture (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #16) | ACCELER8OR
"REGARDING THE ’90S UTOPIANISM: I never though that cyborgs and virtual worlds were particularly utopian, so I’ve never been disappointed. The world is always more interesting than some futurist’s vision. If you think it’s not, you’re not really looking."

"WHO WE ARE: Who we are is largely who we meet. Cities are machines that randomize contact. The Internet is a meta-city, meta-randomizing contact. I now “know” more people than I would ever have imagined possible, because of that. It changes who I am and what I can do."
urban  urbanism  contact  meta-city  life  whoweare  change  payingattention  noticing  reality  cyborgs  utopianthinking  online  web  internet  cities  vr  futurists  futurism  timothyleary  cyberpunk  cyberculture  rusirius  simonelackbauer  mondo2000  williamgibson  scifi  sciencefiction  virtualreality  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Reality *is* Plenty | Serial Consign
"My reading of the talk is that Slavin is extremely curious about augmenting reality—as praxis—and suggesting we (startups, developers and consumers) need to be considerably more thoughtful in our application/exploration of the emerging medium and consider how it might activate other senses – AR should not distill down to "an overlay for all seasons". I think the key takeaway point is in Slavin's suggestion that "reality is augmented when it feels different, not looks different" – which basically echoes Marcel Duchamp's (almost) century-old contempt for the 'retinal bias' of the art market. If AR development (thus far) is lacking imagination, perhaps the problem is that we're very much tethering the medium to our antiquated VR pipe dreams and the web browser metaphor."

[Link rot, so Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20110701191941/http://serialconsign.com/2011/06/reality-plenty ]
augmentedreality  kevinslavin  2011  momoamsterdam  virtualreality  ar  marcelduchamp  gregsmith  mapping  praxis  via:preoccupations  vr  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
50 Posts About Cyborgs [Assembled in one place]
"September 2010 was the 50th Anniversary of the coining of the term 'cyborg'. Over the course of the month, this site was updated 50 times with links to material — most of it new — celebrating 50 years of one of the 20th Century's more enduring concepts.

Now it's gone dark."
cyborgs  technology  future  virtualreality  culture  blogs  50cyborgs  vr  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Moleskine City Blogs - Aram Bartholl, Virtual Vs Physical
"In which form does the network data world manifest itself in our everyday life? What comes back from cyberspace into physical space? How do digital innovations influence our everyday actions?" more: http://graffitiresearchlab.com/?page_id=81
virtualreality  blogs  arambartholl  proximity  privacy  space  data  location  wow  googlemaps  annotation  vr 
june 2008 by robertogreco
CRCA - Center for Research in Computing and the Arts [Organized Research Unit of UCSD]
"mission is to facilitate invention of new art forms that arise out of developments of digital technologies. Current areas of interest include interactive networked multimedia, virtual reality, computer-spatialized audio, and live performance techniques f
art  newmedia  media  computers  computing  ucsd  sandiego  lajolla  education  learning  research  technology  psychology  events  multimedia  virtualreality  vr 
may 2008 by robertogreco
'Mind Gaming' Could Enter Market This Year
"In adapted version of Harry Potter video game, players lift boulders & throw lightning bolts using only their minds. Just as physical movement changed interface of gaming with Wii, the power of the mind may be the next big thing in video games."
biofeedback  interface  games  gaming  future  virtualreality  videogames  interaction  input  technology  brain  control  mind  vr 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Technology Review: Creating a Web of Worlds [Metaplace]
"We think virtual worlds are just a new medium," Koster says. "That means that like other media--like pictures, audio, and video--virtual worlds are eventually going to start being ubiquitous on all sorts of Web pages."
areae  raphkoster  metaplace  virtualreality  games  gaming  mmog  metaverse  webdesign  vr  webdev 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Rossignol » The Greatest Show On Earth #1
"I never want to face another discussion about virtual reality. Let's face it: the screen is a major part of our lives, there's nothing unreal, fake, or virtual about it."
games  reality  screen  thinking  change  virtual  virtualreality  gaming  place  presence  via:blackbeltjones  vr 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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