•January 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

What is ubiquitous computing?

The word “Ubiquitous” comes from the Latin word “ubique” meaning everywhere. Ubiquitous computing then loosely means everywhere computing. This form of computing is generally seen as third wave computing and the next step after personal computing. Arguably these are steps that are already being taken with certain pieces of technology. As indicated within this article, ubiquitous computing (UC) is essentially the opposite of virtual reality.

UC concerns the naturalisation of computing within all areas of our lives rather than one single object we interface with for a particular purpose. For example, in Minority Report, the protagonist is recognised and advertised to by computers in its imagined version of the future.

An obvious example to me would be Star Trek, it also sets up a nice counter-point. The holodeck within Star Trek is the opposite of what you would lable ubiquitous computing, however outside of the holodeck, the computing is wholly ubiquitous. The computer tracks every member of the crew via comm badges, its surroundings, it has emergency automatic protocols, they write on it and use it for food. You could argue that this is still not ubiquitous because it is still obviously a computer interface, but isn’t that potentially just for effect? If you had a computer that advanced with voice recognition, would you have big ridiculous flashing panels and be calling it computer all of the time?

So what examples could you have, according to Mark Weiser the third wave of computing should compliment our every day lives, the ways it could are limitless. Microwave meals that tell the microwave how long to cook for, using sensors to find out when it is fully done eliminating a microwave interface. Not just text updates from your phone but automatic song downloading, like a mobile automatic version of stumble upon, only it could react to places. You go to the mountains hiking, the phone could recognise your location and send you information regarding it. Take a photo while you are hiking and it automatically sends it back to your house, instantly displaying it on the electronic picture frames that are in proximity of a family or even particular family member.

Anything and everything can be integrated with computing technology and disappear if you think about it, from simplicity to fantastical ideas. Is it a step we should take though, or is it already inevitable?


A Little More Input

•January 13, 2009 • 1 Comment

Continuing my obsession with input devices, a new device coming out peaked my interest. It’s called the Emotiv Headset.

The headset is special because it uses signals from your brain to manipulate the game environment. Essential you use your mind to play games.

I think I had better get saving. Not so impressive however is their fairly lame flash website. Once mastered I believe that this is the first really clear next step in interactivity and virtual reality. To be able to manipulate a game space without ever having to use a controller is a huge step forward. With the rise of 3D happening (again?), hopefully for real this time and the rise of immersive controllers such as the Novint Falcon, maybe an approximation of virtual reality isn’t too far away.

Some Flash Techniques

•January 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Over the Christmas period I have been looking at some Flash techniques to implement into my piece. With such a short time to go now I want to keep it as simple as possible whilst looking as good as possible.

One technique I am very keen on putting some time in on is linked below.

Although this doesn’t add a whole lot of interactivity per se, I think it will really give my starfield (galaxy..field) scene a much bigger graphical punch. Whether it is possible to implement it is another question, this weekend i’m putting one of the days aside to just practice all the flash techniques I can that I want to add in.

Another interesting one is this blurring effect:

It looks a little complicated and I think I may be able to fake it but this will be perfect for the final horror sequence with the possible big reveal of my antagonist.

My final two for now, though i’ve looked at far more , is specifically for use within the puzzle sequences. I think I could do some nifty things with some graphics using this collision detection to make the puzzles a little more interesting.

I’m feeling guilty about not having worked so much over Christmas so these will be dependent on if I now have enough time.

Christmas Lull

•January 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Okay, I’m going to be straight up and admit it. I broke all my fingers over Christmas and therefore couldn’t type… okay… my dog ate the blog? …FINE. I was lazy…

Unfortunately in my laziness my mindset has disappeared and i’m struggling to get it back so I figure I will struggle on here. I haven’t been completely useless having got much further on my screenplay but I think my workbook is crying out for some attention too, anyway a few posts are coming this way detailing the work i’ve lloked at over Christmas.

It’s good to be back.

An Interactive Example

•January 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

As shown in my presentation, here is a link to the BBC CDX program.

This is an interesting example and strongly alludes to the kind mix of video and scene exploration that i’m going for. The balance is slightly different which has advantages and disadvantages. As this is a BBC History program, it leans towards education with a lot of information on the romans.

I like the piece because it exudes an almost stifling atmosphere without actually having to leave the room you’re trapped in.

Thinking Space

•December 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I love Digital Art, almost as much as I hate Modern Art. Photo manipulation is something that I strive to better myself at and I hope this will be reflected within my work. Another thing I love is space, photos, science-fiction and combining digital art with space holds something special. At this point I would like to point you in the direction of Greg Martin.

I stumbled across his work back in 6th form during those long and deathly boring I.C.T lessons (Microsoft Access ewwww). Back then he focused purely on digital art and space using Adobe Photoshop, he also has a few neat tutorials if anyone is interested. Here are a few examples of my favourite pieces.

Maelstrom II

Maelstrom II (click for actual size)

 I love this piece, this directly inspires an idea for one of my scenes that I am attempting to implement. Ultimately I would like to go CGI with it but I will stick to still image for this project ;).

Deepness Dawn (click for actual size)

Deepness Dawn (click for actual size)

Another one of my favourites (told you I like space), it also happens to be in my favourite colour. I’ve tried especially hard for this piece of work not to overuse the colour blue…it happens…a lot.

Lately he has been leaning towards photography and manipulation which I personally don’t feel is as great as his early work, check it out for yourselves.

I love space because of the serenity it brings me. When we get stuck into our own little ruts and wrapped up in our lives for whatever reasons, when things just aren’t going well, space provides limitless posibilities. In space, there are more stars than grains of sand on every beach on Earth, the possibilities are boundless, imagining them brings me a sense of calm. The unknown is a great vehicle for telling stories, pictures like those above tell stories without saying a word.

For other great inspiration try for some beautiful work and ease of contact with the artists. Currently i’m trying to pin somebody down to give me a little help with the imaging for my video, we’ll see how that pans out.

Immersion Through Input

•November 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Computer games as immersive pieces of software have an obvious limitation, the hardware in which they are displayed on.

Some lackluster attempts at breaking out of the TV have come along. Systems such as the much maligned Nintendo Virtual Boy or the z800, have failed for various reasons such as cost or comfort. …Or health warnings.

Virtual Boyz800


These limitations have forced game developers to develop immersion elsewhere. This is when software and hardware (outside of visual hardware) come together. The video game peripheral (an external add on device) breaks out of the framed virtual reality of the screen into your hand. 

Peripherals are not a new fad, they have existed since the emergence of the home console. The Nintendo Zapper was released with the original NES and Famicon, and was a “Light-Gun” peripheral. Other peripherals such as Joysticks with throttle and steering wheels with foot pedals have been prevalent for a great number of years in terms of video game history.

This is also the basis of the arcade machine. Motorbikes you sit on, racing games with bucket seats and harnesses with surround sound all around you. House of the Dead 3 provided pump action shotguns as part of the game.

Although these advances do not build an immersive world, it works in making the interaction with the given world more immersive.