TED’s Interactive Sculpture

If you’re not familiar with TED, it’s a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short powerful talks. This year’s conference in Vancouver, featured a large outdoor sculpture which was a collaboration between sculptor Janet Echelman and data artist Aaron Koblin. At night, people were able to interact with the sculpture using their phones to draw lines, webs, water drops, squiggles etc… onto the sculpture.

The data artist Aaron Koblin described the way it works in the article:

“The lighting on the sculpture is actually a giant website,” Koblin says. “It’s one huge Google Chrome window spread across five HD projectors. The content is being rendered in WebGL. It uses Javascript and shaders to render particles and sprites based on user motion, which is transmitted from mobile browser to our rendering browser via websockets. There are a lot of moving pieces here, from the local area network to the server (written in Go), to the sound system (also running in Chrome with Web Audio API) all the way through the LED light control system, which pulls pixel data directly from the browser.”

I highly recommend you read the entire article on the TED blog here & watch the video’s as well

http://blog.ted.com/2014/03/31/unnumbered-sparks-fly-through-the-sky-initiated-by-ted-attendees/

Lego robot controlled by Android will beat anyone at Rubik’s cube

Cubestormer 3 can assemble the cube in 3.253 seconds and is faster than Cubestormer 2. By how much you ask? Over 2 seconds!

At the heart of the robot is a Samsung Galaxy S4 an the actual robot is built using Lego’s Mindstorm actuators. I wonder if Cubestormer 4 can beat that record in the future…

Google Tango can see in 3D

This phone has similar sensors as the Xbox Kinect, which allow it to “see” the world in 3D. The combination of the phone’s sensors (gyroscopes and accelerometers) with the 3D sensor could create some powerful application. It could be great to combine one with the Oculus Rift! Oddly enough, the stacked lens array makes it look similar to the HTC one 2.

Amazon Flow – image recognition purchase app

This app from Amazon allows you to point your phone at a book (at a book store) and order it from the online Amazon store. Say “Bye” to the mom-and-pop shops. Will there be a day when pulling your phone in a store is illegal? Are electronics, drugs stores or wait – any other stores next?

Advertisers “know” who you are using your smartphone’s accelerometer

There is yet another way or yet another hack to track anonymous users on smartphones. A security researcher by the name of Hristo Bojinov has discovered that each accelerometer in a smartphone has a unique fingerprint. There is a more precise tech explanation that you can explore here.

Specialized code running in the smartphone browser can access this unique fingerprint and remember you.

I hope you’re not paranoid…

McDonalds has NFC enabled app for kids

This is a cute execution for those that have NFC chips in their phones and trust their kids with the $600 devices. No iPhone users allowed, at least yet. The demo is missing a crucial step. You must download the app to use it with the table. I also wonder what happens to people who sit at this table and place their phones not suspecting that there are NFC tags embedded… There is a “how it was made” about half way through the video.

Pepsi “Like” Machine

Something cool that TBWA Brussels created for a recent Pepsi Campaign

Instead of paying with money, customers were asked to pay with a simple “Like” of the Pepsi Facebook page. This vending machine only accepts “likes” and drives customers to the Pepsi Facebook page either on their mobile device or on the touch-screen interface.

Like the page, choose your favourite Pepsi product and voila! A free pepsi.

Watch the Like Machine in action here: Pepsi “Like” Machine

How the Internet of Things Changes Everything

Interesting post in the Harvard Business Review on how the internet is evolving.

Also check out this short clip where Stefan Ferber,  Bosch Software Innovations’ evangelist for the Internet of Things explains this topic in visuals.

Tracey Emin in Time Square

Young British Artist + Time Square + Photosharing Art Campaign

Throughout the month of February, fifteen gargantuan billboards will be given over to the video art installation shortly before midnight. Digital art purveyor s[edition] has adapted six messages from one of Emin’s most well-known neon series into moving images, all based on the theme of love, echoing her notoriously tumultuous personal life.

The installation is the latest instalment of a public art initiative titled ‘Midnight Moment‘, organised and supported by the Times Square Advertising Coalition in partnership with Times Square Arts, for which the Square is transformed into a digital art gallery in the evening.

http://blog.seditionart.com/

HTC X8 Windows phone – quick review

Picked up this phone yesterday and had a chance to use it exclusively for over 24 hours, while the iPhone 5 was quietly weeping in my back pocket.

The hardware is well designed and very fast. The camera takes great pictures and the video looked quite vivid as well. The battery life is better then the iPhone 5 (in my experience).

The operating system is slick and will be very easy to use for anyone used to Windows 8. If you are new to the device, the learning curve isn’t steep.

The Office suite works really well on the device. Viewing, styling and editing documents (word, excel) is a breeze. Setting up my 3 email accounts was dead easy (google, work google and outlook.com).

The biggest problem with the phone has nothing to do with the hardware or the operating system. It has to do with the lack of “common” applications for the Windows operating system. I was only able to find about 40% of the apps that I use on the iPhone in the Windows Marketplace. It could be only a matter of time before developers catch up, but for now, the situation is not best.

Pros:

– well designed, light, fast

– excellent screen

– decent battery life

– great camera

– good call quality

– highly compatible with MS Office apps

Cons:

– not able to dial out a number out of the web browser by simply pressing it

– the browser displayed several websites as blank white pages

– the search button is not placed well, so I kept pressing it by mistake

– lack of “common” applications in the marketplace

– very limited google application support (maps, drive etc…), what little exists is rumoured to go away