It’s been pretty quiet here this week. Jan and me had a paper deadline, so I didn’t find the time to blog. I still have a few drafts lying around that I might finish somewhere next week if I find a quiet moment. Time to relax a bit now
I experimented a bit with Jabberwacky today. Jabberwacky is a chatterbot that won the Loebner Prize in 2005 and 2006. It learns from the interactions it has with humans. This sometimes results in funny conversations.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation I had with it:
Me: Hey, don’t be rude, you are the robot, remember?
Bot: You are not a robot?
Me: No. I am a human being.
Bot: You think you’re the center of the world, don’t you?
Me: Well, we humans do indeed.
Bot: What about world domination?
Me: That’s the ultimate goal.
Bot: Does linux mean love?
Me: Linux is the best OS in the world. Bot: Linux is beautiful.
The talk also explained his (seemingly random) blog title: “Pasta&Vinegar”. He states that the hybridization of digital and physical environments is explored both by academic researchers (pasta) and artists and designers (vinegar). In the talk at iMAL he talked about why vinegar is important for pasta
His slides contain lots of interesting and creative ideas, such as blogjects, augmenting animals (e.g. a dog with sensors that controls a WoW character) and a tooth implant that vibrates when you have an incoming call.
If you want to invent something that is to be used 10 years from now, who can you observe? Nicolas states that looking at new media, art and design can give us clues. He also explains that art and design can better convey desire of people for the future, and shows a typical diagram from an IT company that is not appealing to people and too much focused on the technology in the background. He finally refers to the use of technology in art. SIGGRAPH’s Emerging Technologies and Art Gallery are good examples of this and of combining pasta and vinegar.
I just read an article on ZDNet about the ZCam, an infra-red camera that can also track your hands (and is thus pretty similar to Johnny Lee’s technique). The ZCam is developed by the Israeli company 3DV systems. The article on ZDNet explains that the ZCam performs 3D tracking while existing systems like the Playstation’s Eyetoy only tracks in 2D. They also interviewed Bill Gates who apparently was pretty enthusiastic about it
After a bit of googling, I came across a ZCam Beta Program. I submitted a request to join the program, let’s see if I get accepted
Johnny Lee’s back again with his Wiimote interactive whiteboard. Commercial versions of these things are expensive and heavy. His technique doesn’t even need a projector, just a computer, a Wiimote and a simple IR emitting pen. The pen is just a stylus with an infrared LED in the tip.
Johnny Lee is back again indeed I posted about his method to track your fingers using a Wiimote earlier. This time he uses a the Wiimote’s infrared camera to track light pens (pens that emit an infrared light at the tip) on a surface to create an interactive whiteboard. It’s really nice that he can use any surface. You could use a projector in combination with an ordinary projection screen, a wall or a desk. If you don’t have a projector, you could turn any LCD display into a tablet surface.
Since the Wiimote can track up to four different points, these surfaces are also multi-touch. This means you can have multi-touch interaction on any projected image. It would be interesting to combine this with a steerable projector system.
The source code is available. I will definitely keep an eye on his Wii projects page.