Friday, February 7, 2014

Media Culture 2020 - Liepāja film now online!

The report about the Media Culture 2020 second workshop is now finished and published by three participants of the project: Bas ten Berge, Robin Bosman and Tom Polkamp, the Cake Takers team.

Screenshot - also Sinterklaas visited the workshop
The workshop participants liked the work very much, here are some of the comments on the MC2020 Facebook coffee room wall:
  • can't imagine better way to start the day, thank you C:
  • Awwww miss you guys. Excellent work chaps.
  • Wow, this is great! I was so engrossed in watching the video while memories start flooding back in...
  • I loved this!!! Smiled all the way through and now I feel terribly sad that I miss everyone so much!  xx
  • I think you caught the MC2020 idea and the atmosphere and communicate them beautifully. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
  • I have a big smile on my face now  Thanks guys Awesome job!
  • WOOOOW! I love it 
  • Good work guys.
  • Good story, very clear! 
  • Worth waiting 
  • Amazing job guys!! Thank you very much!
  • I miss you all awesome friends and potatoes 
  • Hallo & Welldone Bas ten Berge & Co! It reflects the work done, the atmosphere, the values involved. I have to watch it once more but I thought the narrative structure works pretty well. It's a perfect report for EU evaluators. Merci beaucoup!
  • WELL DONE!!! Oh god I miss you all!
  • YOU - ARE - THE - MC2020 HEROES! 2020 * Thanks!
  • Amazing editing beautiful quality!
  • Great work team. Thank you so much for your time and effort.
  • Finally, here is the proof that we were all together in Latvia.
The Film team in action

You can watch the film here:

Want to see the film about the first workshop in Tampere? Follow this link!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The 7th and last MC2020 demo: Haptic Art


What is Haptic Art?
HapticArt is a brand new urban communication system, that allows to create infinite forms of global realtime visual art by a simple touch, using art as the language of global communication.

How did we come up with the idea of Haptic Art creation?
We were attached to two main ideas - haptic technology and online technologies’ usage to make people go more offline. After many discussions and immersive brainstorming process we decided to make new technology that allows people to communicate in the language everyone understands - art!

The web showing the concept points step-by-step

Finally, the concept:
By using a can of spraypaint, containing Smart Dust, users are able to make an interactive screen on any surface.
The possible applications for this technology are wide - it could be used to present art, playing games, education, social programmes, communication, government issues, etc.
Our project is all about global interaction between different cultures and a rise in the amount of urban art, creativity, grafitti awareness. This is a new tool for urban visual artists which helps to create more interactive artworks and projects, causing less visual and aesthetic damage.
Modern art museums could be interested in having some screens to bring urban art to the gallery, keeping the flow of street art concentrated in one space too.

The working process:
The user uses the can of special spray to paint a surface with Smart Dust. This special technology consists of several tiny chips that produce colors, like pixels. Thus, a screen is created. Onwards, the user has to start up this screen by lining out the screensize, this is done with the touch. All interactions with the screen are done through the haptic technology.
Now the screen is created and started up, so it provides user with the opportunity to add whatever he or she wants to an artwork.
Whenever a user activates a screen and want to add to a artwork, the screen will show the latest (updated) version of the artwork. This artwork is retrieved from cyberspace, it’s like the screen acts as a window into a virtual room containing the art work. The user can than add anything to this artwork and when he is satisfied with his work he can share the artwork. When this happens, the artwork in the virtual room is updated automatically. When another user from anywhere on the planet wants to add anything to the artwork, he also gets linked to this virtual room (like looking through a window). But the artwork now looks in a way the previous user left it. This means that every virtual room can only have one user at any time, because there is only one window. Therefore, there are many different virtual rooms, each with it’s own artwork.

Visualized version of the process:

HapticArt team:Anastacia Kozina - Vincent van der Zwaag - Mārtiņš Eņģelis - Valts Ceplevičs - Luc Janses - Pere Sastre

The feedback statement to the team presented by René Lansink in the feedback discussion, last day plenary:

Project 5 Haptic Art
This project with the tagline ‘Spray it, Play it’ has works with the premise that everyone is an artist. Using a special ‘spray can’ the user can ‘define’ a virtual ‘canvas’ in a public space. On this virtual canvas the user can use a virtual brush and paint menu for creating virtual graffiti by making gestures. The images can be saved, transported to another virtual canvas on a different location or stored on a website were all the works of art are collected.

The concept of the project was visualized clearly in an animated video. The exact material qualities of the ‘spray-medium’ used to display the canvas however remained a bit of a mystery…as well as the devices necessary to ‘see’ the virtual graffiti. Also the more or less ‘subversive’ nature of graffiti art was basically ‘neutralized’ by using this technology.

Challenging however remains the idea to define a ‘virtual window’ in a ‘real space’ by other means than using a physical display.

Summary of comments by other lecturers
Was the design process democratic? Maybe is needed some thinking about the group work. Some members of the group think the product is not the most interesting to develop. We could see the process of your group on the presentation.

The visualization was the best part of it.

It wasn't clear if you decided to work in one thing, it became vague. Too much talking instead of a demo presentation. It looks you need to make a lot of decisions in your project. Simple facts were needed, it wasn't clear to understand. The music didn't fit in the video. Can this compete with augmented reality? Because it does the same but has lots of limitations, it is still something physical. Who is the audience for this is not clear yet, as does not really fit with ideology of street artists. The presentation was weird because of several people standing in front but almost only one person is talking.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Evaluation of the second edition of MC2020

Reflecting on mediaCulture’s  second edition we’ve come to think that this is a true example of intercultural, multidisciplinary, blended learning experience in high education. Two main aspects can be pointed out: on one hand, that having students with different skills, coming from different countries and cultures interacting with each other enlarges the possibilities of creativity, collaboration and quality work; and on the other, the fact that the intensity of the programme in such a short period of time works like a big challenge for students incentive.

From the first edition of MediaCulture2020 we’ve learned that the input in the form of lectures concerning inspiration, research and indepth information about the theme and topics, should be concentrated in the beginning of the actual workshop week. The variety in working methods within these lectures is important, hence the diversity of structures. Not only did they involve listening (one way direction) but also hands-on assignments were implemented. In relation to the first edition the topics of the lectures were more relevant, as were the connected assignments.  The work  - both in lectures, workshops & team work - addressed the following skills and methods:
  • Conceptualising an idea with a design and project planning method. 
  • Using techniques of programming scenarios and digital interactions (Flowchart). 
  • Using narrative techniques for organizing contents and for video prototyping. 
  • Using communication techniques to create a brand. 
  • Using creativity techniques. 
  • Managing roles in teamwork. 
  • Working in multidisciplinary international teams. 
  • Online information search and market analysis. 
  • Business planning & Benchmarking. 
  • Using social networks and ICT tools for collaborative work. 
  • Pitching for public audiences. 
  • Planning and time management.

Most students have a strong content and narrative driven focus, studying to be filmmakers and visual-media-designers. We would therefore like to strengthen our focus on these expertises in future editions. In this year’s edition visualising concepts and making pitch presentations were focus points in setting up the program, and looking at the outcomes of MediaCulture2020 they worked out quite well. The interaction between groups created a lively and inspiring atmosphere. Students learned a lot in a few days by sharing knowledge and skills in a peer to peer situation.  Some of the lectures stimulated them in peer assessments.

Working in international groups is  sometimes difficult but helps to learn about collaborative work; working with different people gives inspiration of how to work in the future in international projects. Almost all groups succeeded in that, supporting the idea all in the group for a few days , coming together to one final goal that was described on their 10 commandments. Their research was good and seemed helpful.

The pitches and the videos were adequate & professional and demonstrated the importance of communicating properly. All the presentations were clear; all visualizations were well done. The demo-video was really good and useful for the audience to understand the concepts, and that lead to a lively discussion after every presentation. The way the program was set up and the content of the lectures strongly helped in this aspect. Due to the excellent build up in lectures, students shifted their focus to the narrative part of their concepts, they made flow-charts for both their concept as well as for the pitch presentations of their concepts, all of which resulted in clear and strong pitches.

In coming editions we would therefore rather concentrate on further development of the intercultural concept thinking and on a stronger relation of conceptual achievements in combination with the creation of business plans. A stronger relation with the professional world can be sought. We suggest a next edition's slogan: Solve a future problem in real life with a design and then set yourself a deadline. Maybe it’s better for each team to have a problem to work on instead of a given subject.

Lenno Verhoog and Rosa Pons

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Presentation of New Ways of Preserving Heritage - Particle

Our assignment in Liepaja was to work on the concept of “New ways of preserving heritage”. We started out by reflecting on the proposal made in the previous edition of MC2020 that included the use of augmented reality to make heritage sites more interesting and appealing.
However, during our discussions we arrived at the conclusion that there are more cons than pros to the project since it would require huge amounts of new content to be created and wouldn't necessarily solve anything.
Therefore we decided to look for new ways of preserving heritage and were struck by the idea that heritage is not only architecture or art but actually anything that is man made and that we leave behind for the future generations.
That's how we began thinking about our environment - first of all, if we don't protect our environment, there will be no heritage for our future generations to enjoy. According to a report made by the European Commission, atmospheric pollution is one of the main reasons responsible for the disappearance of movable and immovable heritage.
But isn't pollution our heritage as well? It's definitely not something that we should strive to preserve but it's still a result of our actions and it's our legacy and responsibility towards the future generations.

The environmental issues can only be solved if everyone of us takes action, therefore our goal was to come up with a project that would raise awareness of the environmental issues that we're facing.
Our concept - Particle - is an interactive 3d projection, an art installation that can be both enjoyable and informative. It would visualise our relationship with the various invisible elements that surround us, such as the chemical contents of the air we breathe. Since it's a projection, the user isn't required to have any sort of gadgets with him / her, the user can simply step in the projected box and interact with the particles, get important information on how the elements affect us and our environment, what is the percentage of that element in the air, is it excessive, etc.
Team: Jungsoo Moon, Zanda Puče, Ojärs Saulitis, Odrija Heinrihsone, Jiaqi Huang
With the help of this installation we could reveal how we're affected by our environment as well as how the environment is affected by us. We hope that experiencing our installation would lead people to reconsider the importance of environment issues. It would change the way we are used to see natural environment and how we treat it.


The feedback statement to the team presented by René Lansink in the feedback discussion, last day plenary:

Project 3 Particle
This project focused on using augmented reality to visualize ‘cultural heritage’ in the  environment. The project group as a start used a great deal of their time to discuss and redefine their concept of ‘heritage’. Being an evidence or trace of the past, the concept of heritage can refer to ‘hidden’ artifacts in our natural environment. Traces from the past we normally cannot see, but which can be made visible by the use of new technology…. The end of this conceptual exercise was to focus on environmental pollution (air, water, soil), hence the project title ‘Particle’.

In a very clear and visually convincing worked out user scenario the use of augmented reality to visualize ‘invisible’ pollution in a urban and more natural environment was worked out. The object of the application was to raise awareness of the status of the ‘heritage’ i.e. ‘pollution’ in the environment.

The very strong aspect of this project was that they focused on a specific real life problem (pollution) using the right technological concept, i.e. augmented reality & holographic projection to make things visible you normally cannot see!

Summary of comments by other lecturers
Totally new concept. They had to think about the initial idea again to redefine the concept of heritage, that made very clear the whole design. The concept is very strong. It's global but you made it local and it llok really stron, visualizations were very clear and helped to understand the concept. The research on data gave them the idea of visualizing data. Clarity, focus and good taste for design also having the future partners clear was good. The bad thing was the length of the presentation. It's the project that EU would like most.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Project demo: Life Sense

1. Topic: Non-narrativity is the new storytelling
“A virtual wall, where everyone can add writing, pictures, videos, art and other content in public space.”
We started from this basic topic, and developed augmented reality. We thought that a virtual wall could not work without augmented reality. Therefore, we decided that contact lenses would be good devices instead of a virtual wall.

2. Concept

  • Life Sense is a guide for life.
  • It’s an innovative, life-enhancing application that works tirelessly towards making you faster, smarter and more efficient by using Smart Data; which we will explain in a few moments.
  • Life Sense knows what matters to you and uses on screen prompts to display what options are most beneficial for you at any moment in life: from restaurant reviews, to how many hours of energy you have left before you need to rest, sleep or consume a refreshment.

3. Smart Data

  • As you could see, Life Sense analyses the world around you.
  • It works by utilizing a three tiered analysis system called Smart Data.
  • Smart Data incorporates information gathered from three primary sources: your body, you memory and the Cloud.
  • The application analyses your body to make you aware of any medical and health problems that might be occurring. For example: If your body is becoming dehydrated, the app will notify you and suggest to drink a 500ml glass of water to reduce the risk of obtaining a headache.
  • Life Sense records your memories and uses them to understand your personality. For example: The application will know what your favorite genre of music is and who your favorite artists are. Life Sense would then be able to notify you when your favorite band is releasing a new album - and maybe even play you a preview.
  • The app is constantly connected to the Cloud - Creating records of where you are and what you’re doing. This could be a huge asset in times of disaster and severe weather. For example: If you were near the coast and an Earthquake were to occur, a warning could be sent out to the application, instantly warning people of an impending tsunami - potentially saving lives.
  • The more you use it, the more it learns and the better it becomes at guiding you through life.

4. Target Users

  • The target audiences that could use Life Sense varies widely, depending on the functions that each demographic will utilize.
  • Working professionals who need to find the most efficient and time effective ways of living to save time and increase productivity as the app can aid them by suggesting the most appropriate times to have breaks and also suggest the fastest method of carrying out work tasks.
  • Elderly people who are trying to recall their memories and monitor any health problems that are afflicting them will be able to know instantly what is wrong and what medication/medial attention to ask for.
  • Children and students who are wanting to improve their education could use this application as the app could monitor their memory and understand which modules they know best; in mathematics for example. And decide which modules they need to revise. The application could ask test questions and help the child/student revise when the app knows they’re on a bus, walking between locations or simply sat watching television.

5.   Links

6. Team members
Byungjun Kim, Yonatan Wolowelsky, Meritxell Audebert Sanchez, Ashley Wilks, Ares Juclà, Annija Gancōne, Alexander Whitcombe, Rita Kamola

The feedback statement to the team presented by René Lansink in the feedback discussion, last day plenary:

Project 7 LifeSense
The project life sense focused an application future application that will serve as a personal guide or assistant trough your life. The application monitors all kind of data from the user (bio-metrical, memory, cloud), analysis it’s behaviour and assists the users in all kinds of ways. This was visualized in an animated video that served as a user scenario.

The exact technological features of the application or system was not really the object of this presentation was not really the object of this presentation. The real object was to raise a discussion on the desirability of such a ‘Little Brother’. After the presentation a discussion on this subject actually developed, so as such the project met it’s objectives.

As such the project focused on a actual dilemma considering privacy, ownership, and data mining versus comfort, safety, health and other practicalities. By making the advantages in the user scenario rather ridiculous they made their point and triggered the discussion afterwards.

Summary of comments by other lecturers

The group performed a very good presentation with short sentences and few words. 
The device description was not clear enough for the audience: we suggest it could be eye lenses instead of leaving the design opened to any form. 
Maybe it will be more useful to stay in only one use of the device. 
For a next step the concept can be improved by narrowing the target public and by pushing the limits of the technology, as there is no need to be so practical when raising the question of how the technology can be used. The lecturers agreed that the group could work on a kind of more bizarre uses of the augmented reality.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Project demo presentation: Feelink (goa team)

Team members: Rolands Tiss, Marta Vinaixa, Edwin Haverkamp, Marc Vila

We started with the topic “connecting cultures”. By looking for ways to communicate in a universal way we found 1 universal language: communication through inner feelings. With this premise we wanted to create a social solution to solve the lack of communication between people with communication problems. So we came up with Feelink and found out that persons with medical conditions could benefit the most from our project. So we did research about possible sensors and converters to detect inner feelings and ways to generate inner feelings.

The possible physical Feelink product could be a sticker, the sensor and converter. It could have different designs and because it's a sticker it could be placed on different parts of the body, depending on the patient needs (closer to the heart, on the neck, etc..)

Have a look at the 1 minute video for a brief explanation of the project and how it could be used with Alzheimers patients:

Links to important Feelink documents:

Concept evolution
Feelink - commandments
Flowchart and the problems -> solutions and considerations we encountered
Link to the Feelink video:
Learning and networking
European dimension
Future of the project:

The feedback statement to the team presented by René Lansink in the feedback discussion, last day plenary:

Project 6  GOA
In this project biometric data were used to detect the emotional condition of a person (a) which were then sent to another person (b) and translated by a wearable device called ‘FEELINK’ into auditive or tactile stimuli. So, person (b) is able to ‘feel’ the emotional condition of person (a).

The compact was illustrated by a very well chosen animated example of a grandmother suffering from ‘Alzheimer disease’. The application of FEELINK was also suggested for a whole range of other medical conditions. To prevent addiction a maximum time of 3 seconds ‘mood change’ was suggested. To overall presentation was clear, compact, to the point and finished with a nice cliffhanger: ‘Can’t wait to feel you’.

The whole concept of ‘feeling’ another person is interesting and stimulates the fantasy. As it is a rather personal and intimate use of technology other uses in the private domain might be considered in further development.

Summary of comments by other lecturers

It was a short, complex, very good pitch, with a fine structure, even with a terrible ending, and showed a nice animation prepared in only two days time! That was amazing for the audience.
Maybe some more examples would have been useful to understand the transmission of feelings. 
For a next step, the Alzheimer use of the product should be developed instead of trying to reach all mental diseases. It is an important project for society, and there is still a lot to think about. 
The lecturers agreed that the logo doesn't match the concept: it looks erotic. 
They are a team of four people that divided from a group of ten that was a smart decision due to the difficulties in reconciling the different opinions on the main subject they chose to work on: the feelings.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

KUPLA - get to know what you see

Team members: Chrystal Giam, Yee Feng, Alba Tudó Domingo, Aivis Gailītis, Rachel Hagreen, Emilia Kwiatkowska, Clara Calvet Oliver, Ineke Brinksma, Anna Garriga i Valverde

KUPLA aims to create a system that allows you to access information about everything you see by using simple gestures and innovative projection technology with wearable devices which has sensors. It will be the perfect product for a busy individual who wants to increase knowledge and productivity whilst continuing with their busy day-to-day life.

The content (data/information) is retrieved from the Internet via open data (Wikipedia style) and you can also bookmark info that you wish to review later into the system.

We designed this product because we wanted to make knowledge more accessible at anywhere and anytime. KUPLA is meant to make life easier and more complete with all the information you can get around you. Its simple design interface makes learning easier and more efficient as well.

 Here are just some among many functions that we envision KUPLA to have:

  • Real time translation. The ability to translate any language in any situation.
  • Site Navigation / GPS: Maps and directions projected as you get to your desired location quickly and efficiently.
  • Education e.g. learning history of the buildings in more efficient way by visualization and interesting storytelling.
  • Object information e.g. description, ingredients/materials, price, place to get it
  • Human e.g. type of outfit, physical attributes, etc.
  • Entertainment e.g. watching films/ TV, information of the actors, setting location, etc.
  • Bookmarking. Possibility to continue expanding the knowledge at a later time.

During MC2020 students were learning not only from the teachers but also from each other. While working on our concept we could count on help from all teachers which were giving us tips. It was really helpful especially during the time when we had to divide work between each other. The thing is that “never is too late” to implement better solutions.    

Networking is about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. To succeed you must continually connect with new people, cultivate emerging relationships and leverage your network. To MC2020 we met a lot of people from different countries and cultures. We got to know our skills and work attitude what can bring profit in the future or really good friendships. One day all of us will be working in different places but we will still remember about each other.

Our team have improved the concept from the first edition into a wider area because it was a limited idea in the beginning and there are already products developed (LinkedTV, Second Screen). During brainstorming sessions we went through a lot of stages. While thinking about getting content vs. creating content to get information we mainly focused at education learning tool projected into a room. After having a lot of discussions we finally focused on “get to know what you see” slogan used in our project and since then we wanted to create a product which will be always next to you when you need it. In the way this concept is extension of Google glasses or simpler Google search engine but we wanted to try to remove the aspect of using devices like smartphone. We did not focus on specific thing/aspect/area because we wanted to get information about everything as much as possible. Movements which are used to “open” KUPLA are short and they do not have to be repeat many times. We think that it wouldn’t be a problem in the future if this became a trend or norm. Nowadays most of the people are tapping and swiping on smartphones and other devices.

Our team members had a little bit knowledge here and there (in general) in different skills, so it was a little difficult to set roles for everyone in the team. But through our two-week experience of working together, we learnt that task list and workflow timeline are essential to keep us on our feet. We pulled it together as a team and delivered a memorable presentation.

photo by Rosa Pons

The feedback statement to the team presented by René Lansink in the feedback discussion, last day plenary.

The KUPLA project focused on using gestures to interact with a virtual visual interface. The idea is to connect or link ‘virtual’ information onto ‘physical’ objects. In a movie several user scenarios were visualized. For instance, extra information over food, location specific events, navigational data etc. could be retrieved by using specific gestures. It was also possible for users to ad information to ‘real world’ objects using a kind of Wiki-like application.
The project group did not want to focus too much on the technological details of the ‘system’, but elaborate more on the possible use and interaction with this  so called ‘location based augmented reality system’. ‘Get to know what you see’, a simple design interface and the use of real time information where the key ingredients of this project.
The use of gestorial information for interaction is of course a promising area of technological development. Especially in a context in which other means of interaction are impossible (danger, handicap, language or cultural  barriers). As a next step such a specific, carefully chosen context, could be worked out in greater scale.

Feedback from other teachers

The video was very good and clear, resulting into a very strong point of the presentation to understand how to interact with the virtual world.
The presentation had another strong point: it was sympathetic.
The examples could have been thought more far away, to challenge a more fictional experience, it was more of an interface, to focus in one situation would have been better. 
It's a big group of eight members: it was difficult for them to organize the roles because of the similar skills they have. When they finally settled down the roles they were much more efficient and comfortable. They lacked of a coordinator, but the suggestions of teachers were helpful to reshape the group dynamics.