Sunday, 29 April 2007

Wii spatial sound control

It is amazing what you can achieve with a class of advanced interaction design students, fuelled by 12 pizzas and a couple of toys (Wii Bluetooth remote controllers). In our class, students are designing spatial interaction projects that can take the form of art installation, informative sonification/visualisation or augmented hyper-instrument design (gesture performance interface). We look at a variety of input technologies used with Max/MSP, ranging from iSight webcams for motion/colour/outline/centre tracking with Pelletier's computer vision externals, Gypsy midi suit, La Kitchen Kroonde wireless radio frequency receiver and motion sensors (gyroscopic, accelerometer, binary) and these in turn can be applied to other physical objects or embedded in spaces to radically alter the interaction context. An interesting example designed by a skateboarder is 'the real simon' which uses something similar to our RF or WiFi wireless sensors to transmit the motion data from the skateboard to sound controllers. Some of the more well known examples include the IRCAM and NIME designers' works in which dancers intricately control soundscapes for live music performance. Of course, it is not the technologies that are the goal, though they can influence the design of the interaction. Translating spatial experiences into an abstract or distinctive experience of interaction differentiated from conventional screen-based, mouse-driven intervention is still sometimes challenging for students to fully conquer. It is tempting, for instance, to use a Wii or a coloured glove as a pointer. One of our ambitions is to encourage students to really engage the physical and spatial freedom facilitated by unwired, large scale modes of interaction. Spatial interaction, generative design and digital experiences of engagement distinguishes this design 'problem' from more conventional interfaces and contexts of digital design. Many sources of inspiration and background from which to distinguish work are posted by online communities, including Youtube videos, musical performance, and open source, e.g. Create Digital Music using the Wii as a sound controller.

I have been experimenting with the Wii remote to manipulate attributes of the IRCAM SOGS granular synthesis and loop processing examples, building on Cycling 74 Max examples and Masayuki Akamatsu's Universal Binary objects. It remains difficult to extract mono-dimensional data streams from the Wii because it is extremely sensitive and therfore difficult to tilt it (yaw) or rotate without synchronously affecting other axes. The direction buttons and other controller buttons allow for an extra set of data controllers, e.g. the A and B buttons to load and sustain sounds, arrow buttons to modulate through sample loops.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Pier Seven

Just as the light was fading, I meandered home, exploring back streets of Pyrmont, the wharves, and pier 7 Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour facing Cockle Bay wharves through the old wooden vessel.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

More experiments

Eventually, it did stop raining. On the way home from Kinokuniya bookshop where I picked up the new Lonely Planet Travel Photography Guides on general travel and urban photography by Richard l'Anson, wildlife by Andy Rouse and landscape by Peter Eastway (and Ichibanboshi noodle shop for Karaage lunch), I breezed through the crisp autumnal twilight to McMahon's Point on the North side of Sydney Harbour to catch some longer exposures, just as the light was changing as illustrated in the 3 dusk-to-evening images of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I also spent some considerable time making a dubious panorama with my dodgy Canon stitching software for Mac. The PC software I used before was much more successful and refined - must look into a better alternative. Finally, I stopped at a point inside the harbour, that I admire daily on my run, to glimpse the city skyline through the trees near Berry Island.

[Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from McMahon's Point, aperture priority, between 1 and 7 seconds duration]

[Luna Park, Milson's Point with interesting architecture behind]

[City from near Berry Island]

[Panorama. Sydney Harbour. Click on the image to enlarge]

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Some links

This is one of my favourite photo sets on flickr by a Leica M8 user in Hong Kong: 'Tiny Eyes' Leica set on flickr. Another favourite Leica M8 photographer's photostream is is Maharepa a.k.a. Bernd W. Schüttke. Both Tokyo and Melbourne have Leica galleries. I plan to check out the Ginza one soon, though I am sure I saw the same Henri Cartier-Bresson collection at his house/museum in Paris a couple of years ago. Leica Ginza Salon, Ginza 6-4-1, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. This guy is a [nameless] Swiss musician who has undertaken to post one photograph every day until he dies! [which he has already been doing since 1989] - obsessive compulsive? One pic a Day

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Leica V-Lux experiments

[robot w/ no flash, lizard head 86mm & shak music 88mm, i.e. 420mm equiv. w/ no flash hand-held]

Today (and yesterday) it has poured with rain all day long so I am trapped inside experimenting with my new camera, awaiting a chance to try less familiar subjects! Tomorrow is ANZAC Day (a National Holiday) so perhaps an opportunity will present itself. Here are some preliminary outcomes, without tripod. Much as I envy the M8, it stubbornly remains beyond my reach so I have decided to see what I can do with the humble V-Lux. It is at the other end of the Leica spectrum completely but has an incredible fixed DC Vario-Elmarit zoom lens 7.4–88.8 mm f/2.8–3.7 ASPH. (equivalent to 35–420 millimeters for 35 mm format), 12 x optical zoom in a single surprisingly light-weight, portable unit. It is not a substitute for the colour achievable with the Canon EOS but certainly saves carrying around 2 or 3 heavy lenses, the noisiness of previous Leica/Panasonic digital cameras is said to be reduced in the new software/compression processing, and the Leica lens is razor-sharp / fairly fast f/2.8-3.7 @ 420mm (with image stabilisation). There is quite substantial manual control. So far, I am even delighted with its superior performance over my Digilux 2 (a much more expensive camera)! Despite the tactile pleasure and intellectual satisfaction of the very manual retro-feel/retro-looking Digilux, that invokes a certain patience and constructive approach to composition associated with manual photography, it does produce rather noisy (i.e. grainy appearance) images and colour aberration in low-light situations or high ASA speed equivalent settings. The V-lux goes up to ASA 1600 at full resolution and up to ASA 3200 at reduced resolution to allow for 'extreme-sensitivity mode'. The resolution is up to 10 MP raw or JPEG.

[shoes 44.3mm, room wide-angle, bananas & delete key 7.4mm 35mm equiv f/2.8 macro: looks like my computer needs a bath! The World Changing book and web site are very interesting sources of knowledge about environmental consciousness, sustainability and smart applications of technology]

[photography books with/without flash taken in the B&W colour adjustment mode: warm/cool/sepia also available]

Sonic Yoshi: the exploratory alter-ego

Sonic Yoshi is my creative explorer alter-ego. Today I started this blog-site in response to my shakuhachi blog, professional academic and research web sites and 'infosonic' collaborative research document-management site because I need somewhere to unravel the travel, photographic and other expressive, exploratory elements that don't fall neatly into those other categories.