Friday, December 22, 2006
SensAble Technologies have a line of haptic devices (image 1) that make it possible for users to touch and manipulate virtual objects.
The term "haptic" comes from the Greek word ''haptikos,'' meaning ''able to touch or grasp," and haptic devices provide tactile information to their users in the form of force-feedback.
They are popular devices in surgery simulation. Inhibative costs have meant that more commercial examples of this type of interface tool are not so prevelant, but they are starting to arise in gaming technologies such as stearing wheels with realistic feedback.
Wired recently wrote an article about how these devices are popular among toy designers where the device is used to create a digital clay for virtual sculpting (image 2 -Digital rendering created by Brett Klisch and Michael Luk using Phantom Omni and FreeForm: Courtesy of Xomer Studios).
Read more here.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Not a new idea, but really well done and very fun and beautiful. Created for a Hello Kitty exhibition in Hong Kong, this installation tracks user movements in front of a projected screen and renders an alternative cartoon head onto the head of the person being filmed in real time. The installation was created using ARToolKit Augmented Reality software.
See the video on their site.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Is this the precursor to the Applie iTV?
This device unites your iPod with your TV set, and enables you to visulaise and control your iPod via the screen of your TV set, so you need never get up from the comfort of your sofa! You and also watch the video and pictures on your iPod as well as play internet radio.
Our parents used to tell us not to play with our food, and then someone goes and invents this fun little kitchen gadget, that makes it practically impossible to not play with your food. The five form cutters can be used to make tetris like shapes out of fruit or vegitables so you can create different arrangements on your guests plates. I like their Rubic's cube fruit sculpture best.
The second exhibition to be shown in the recently opened Barcelona gallery/store features works by the gallery creators Vasava. Entitled Chorizo Iberico, a name that is a play on words - meaning literally a type of spanish spicy sausage, but also with a second meaning 'Spanish Criminal'. Playing with the concept of the cliche of typical Spanish cultural reference, it presents a new typical Spanish product - the Spanish gangster.
The prints, also available as a book can be seen in the gallery from December 14th until January 13th.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Reading about the Telsar roadster and you would be lead to believe that it was a traditional luxury sports car. However it has one fundamental difference. It is electric.
With all of the performance issues of other earlier attempts at electric cars answered, such as low top speeds, or having to recharge every half an hour, all of the benefits of the electric car seem to make our future car driving experiences look much more enjoyable. According to the Telsar site there are hundreds of heavy components required to power a standard petrol engine, all of which need regualr maintainance and are prone to failure. By comparison the Telsar engine has only one moving part, the rotor.
The motor is so light a person could carry it. It is this fact that means that the car is capable of beating traditional super cars in the performance stakes, with a 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds.
The battery, which is the cars biggest innovation, demonstrates that the biggest challenge for all electrical cars is being overcome, as it stores enough energy to power the car across 250 miles. A first for any electric car. It is clear that with continued research in this area, advances and breakthroughs will only continue to make electrical cars far more desireable than their fossil fuel equivalents.
I think that it is an intelligent plan of theirs to concentrate on developing high performance electric cars, to push the boundries of the technology and then let this advances eventually work their way down to more accessable cars.
The car also includes some other interesting 'digital' design features, such as being PIN protected, so that only those with the pass key can drive the car, and valet parking mode, that when accessed, permits the car to be driven at only low speeds.
The best aspect of the car, being electric, means that it is more environmentally friendly. The energy used to power the car is generated by efficient power plants that do not burn oil, rather using more environmentally friendly fuels, and the amount of energy used to generate the electricity is a lot less than a traditional car would use to power itself, as the electric car is much more efficient in turning its power source into energy.
The first deliveries are due for late 2007, but these are all sold out. If you want to get your hands on one you will need to wait until 2008!
View more here
I read this quote from Rob Nilsson in an interview with RES magazine, and really like it.
"I sometimes know what I am doing. But do I know what I am doing? I hope not, because then I'd start doing it on purpose, instead of with purpose."
Rob Nilsson is a Sanfrancisco based director of direct action films. Visit his site here .
Monday, December 11, 2006
OK, so you need to deliver the report in 10 minutes, before your boss leaves work. Simply use this tool to create a deliberately corrupted file, that will buy you extra time. In this case it is being promoted as allowing you to play more computer games. A fun viral idea!
Make your own corrupt file here
Lamborghini revealed an special edition of their Murcielago model designed by Versace, designed to coincide with Paris fashion week. Each of the 10 examples come with a modified interior featuring Versace designed patterned fabric and a silver numbered commemorative tag. The car also comes complete with Versace luggage and watch. As if either of the brands are not in themselves the image of over indulgence and extreme luxury, I guess that this partnership will no doubt get themselves talked about that little but more!
Audi's new R8 sports car is due to be launched in the early part of 2007 in Europe. Their site designed to introduce the new car pushes the envelope in emersive web design, featuring vast amounts of integrated interactive video. It is not much more than a very slick brouchure, but it certainly does a great job of presenting the car, making it desireable and is in a class of it's own, when it comes to generating video for the web.
Take a lookhere
(You may need to launch the site from one of the links presented in the page, depending on if you use a pop up blocker.
Diesel launched a Christmas site last week. A Christmas fable pop up book called the 'Tale of the Black Knight and the Calamitous Dragon'. The story is inspired by Diesel's holiday jewellery collection and tells the story of medieval knight, a dragon and a beautiful girl that mysteriously disappears one Christmas eve night. The tale with a dark twisted end can be viewed online or downloaded as an audio book designed to be listened to in from to f the roaring fire during the Christmas holidays. Various items from the collection feature throughout the story, and there is also an overview of the main items from the collection for people looking for Christmas gift ideas. The site was made by Diesel's creative team in collaboration with Hi-Res! of London.
View the site and find out what happens to the girl and the dragon at Diesel's homepage - or directly link here.
Monday, December 04, 2006
It seems that no brand is without it's own customer generated content action these days. Two recent and very similar ideas, but quite different and interesting outcomes are by Penguin Books and Marmite (wikipedia ref: marmite).
Penguin has assembled a series of six classics, each published with a blank cover. The blank cover is made of a special art paper and the idea is that the reader draw or paint their own design on the actual book jacket. Readers designs can then be uploaded to a gallery within the Penguin website. I really like this idea, as book covers are such important design 'canvases', with such limited space and such rich stories that they have to communicate. How do you sum up thousands of words in such a small space? How do you attract a reader to pick up the book and convince them that this is the book they should want to read?
This turns reading a book into something new. Asking people to reflect on the book they have read, and gets them to add their own personal interpretation into the process. Everyone will have such different ideas and interpretations. It makes you wonder is all books should not have their own site where readers could leave their own comments, ideas and opinions about the book.
Penguin have been very important in book jacket design and have created many classic designs. In contrast to the personal nature of this new project, they are also typified by designs that standardised books cover design, such as designs by Jan Tschichold and Romek Marber that helped them become a brand instituion, immediately recognsiable as Penguin books. No doubt, the blank white covers in this series could just render them very visible in the book store and become a strong brand statement, and the challenge of creating the cover is a strong statement in iteself, even if not every reader takes them up on the challenge. The idea will certainly make both Penguin appear, and the reader feel creative.
It is not clear from the site, but one imagines if the best designs may be used to create the covers for these books in the future. View the submitted designs here, the first ones have been created by the staff of Penguin.
The series includes 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', by Oscar Wilde, 'Magic Tales' by The Brothers Grim and 'The Waves?, by Virginia Woolf.
Marmite take a similar approach, but rather than turning their product into the canvas for your art, they propose their product as the 'paint' so to speak. The canvas in this excercise is the piece of warm toast on your breakfast plate, and you use the Marmite to draw out your masterpiece. This is a somewhat more lighthearted scheme, but perhaps will generate more immediately interesting results as the perameters of the resulting 'artworks' are so much more limited.
You can vote for the designs at the specially created site MarmArt, where there is an ongoing daily featured artwork and a top ten as voted for by site visitors.
The resulting 'artworks' should be fun, as it the whole premise of the campaign...and more importantly it is an extremely clever way of reeinforcing the fact that the bottle is a new sqeezy type. I can imagine millions breakfasting British playing with their toast in the morning, and having fun with their marmite. Thing is if you design a masterpiece, will you eat it afterwards?
Check out the Marmite gallery here.
Thanks to Peter for sending me both of these links.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Having posted about french artist Philippe Ramette several months ago, I thought I would have a look around for some more of this inspirational artists work. I found this series 'Exploration rationnelle des fonds sous-marins' released this year that continues to demonstrate his incredable talent for creating shocking, beautiful and extemely clever visual irony. He has a skill for setting up very stark and graphic senarios that reveal the suprising in what appear apparently ordinary situations. The characters appear at ease despite the unnerving reality behind the scene, such as sitting on the seabed while reading a newspaper, taking a stroll, but across the open water of a bay.
More images from the series can be seen here...