14. 03. 2007  12:46 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Will we "learn" again from Las Vegas (in Google Earth)?

The title of this post is of course a bit of a joke, but it is especially a wink to the famous book by Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown, Learning from Las Vegas published in 1972.
As I was following with distance some GE blogs, I noticed a few weeks ago a certain quantity of posts announcing new "buildings" with good realistic qualities in "Las Vegas". This sounds like a comment on the real city!
As Las Vegas is mostly already the transposition of existing buildings or monuments into an entertainment city, an "island" in the middle of the "desert", as it is a "faked reality made real", a conditioned space, it has already a lot in common with a "2nd world": the duplication of an existing situation with all the problems we can see in Las Vegas. It hardly generates more than an amusement park for grown up...
So to say and by extension, we could tell that Google Earth is becoming a kind of global Las Vegas (even if it is still not an entertainment park at the moment we write these lines)) but that Las Vegas into Google Earth has the hidden potential to become something much more conceptual, intriguing and complicated: a Las Vegas located both as an island into the desert and into "Global Las Vegas"... An "überpop" city.

It looks now pretty clear to everyone that Google is building a "geo-mapped - search everything from anywhere" system (even locations in books will be mapped) with references potentially working in all directions: from digital to real, real to digital, fiction to real, digital to fiction, real to real, digital to digital, etc.
With Sketchup as a free modeling tool and therefore the possibility for everyone to create new Google Earth layers or objects (as well as any geo web content), Google just need to turn GE into a multi-user / 2nd Life like universe to get a kind of ultimate 2nd world like project and connect everything: get geo-referenced data on you future cellphone, hybridize digital and real life, play with your avatars on the GE layer you want or you just have created, fake your real home, etc.
Those GE images gives a good idea of the complex mediated and layered world we could possibly live in the next decades. This could become the "second learning from Las Vegas": an hybrid fake, highly layered and mediated space, that if it gets combined with powerful visual AR mobile devices/softwares, such as the Nokia MARA one, could produce an instant real-soft city/earth.
You just miss now the concrete building of some Google Earth icons into real Las Vegas, of a Casino-hotel based on a successful ego-shooter game and the mish-mash mapping of everything into everything to get the look of the potential future city. A city where you won't be able to tell what was first, second or third, what is physical or digital, real of fake, etc.
We can now discuss if this is good or bad (I mean, do you really like to eat a deep-dish pizza on the Piazza San Marco in Las Vegas!!?), but the process looks to be on its way...

Posted by patrick keller at 12:46

14. 03. 2007  10:38 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Technology Review 10: Augmented Reality

Nokia research is still working around its MARA (Marker-less Augmented Reality) project. Mostly for location based services.
The MIT magazine Technology Review speaks about it as one of the "significant emerging technologies" in its annual 10 emerging technologies report. Read the article about it here.

Posted by patrick keller at 10:38

03. 03. 2007  15:26 | 04_Workshop_4 , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

fabric | ch

fabric | ch, a swiss based "architecture & research" studio who's works link world wide networks and local space, materiality and immateriality, ... (and that is therefore specialized in the creation of experimental spaces and architectures in close connections to emerging technologies, information and communication technologies in particular) has joined the project since its start back in June 2005 and worked around it up to now.
Their work was mainly to develop spatial propositions, produce a spatial tracking software for Workshop_4 and will work on the extensions of the AR Toolkit software, linking it with some of their open source spatial softwares (Rhizoreality.mu) as well as with the development done by the EPFL.
fabric | ch is composed of two EPFL's architects (Christophe Guignard & Patrick Keller), a telecommunication engineer (Stéphane Carion) and a computer scientist (Dr. Christian Babski).
Their works have been presented or exhibited mainly in Europe and Americas (Siggraph, ISEA, File Rio & Sao Paulo, Centre Culturel Suisse - Paris, PixelAche, ART | Basel, DIS Boston, Architectural Association - London, Festival Lyon Lumières, MAMCO, EPFL, ICA - London, etc.)

Posted by patrick keller at 15:26

03. 03. 2007  15:10 | 04_Workshop_4 , 09_EPFL , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

EPFL - SWIS - Swarm-Intelligent Systems Group

The Swarm-Intelligent Systems Group of the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Prof. Alcherio Martinoli and Post-doctorate assistant Julien Nembrini have joined the Variable environment/ project and worked around Workshop#4 between June and December 2006.
Prof. Martinoli's laboratory belongs to the School of Computer and Communication Sciences, Institute of Communication Systems of the EPFL.

SWIS laboratory is a member of the Mobile Information & Communication Systems, a National Center of Competences in Research.

The area of interest of the laboratory is in swarm-intelligent collective robotics.
Within the context of this collaboration, we will work with the E-PUCK (see img below) platform. The goal is to develope a human - swarm bots collaboration with a minimal spatial & lighting function for the bots.

Posted by patrick keller at 15:10

03. 03. 2007  14:25 | 04_Workshop_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Rolling microfunctions / A scenario

Variable environment's Workshop by fabric | ch and SWIS-EPFL.
Design brief & AD by fabric | ch
Object design by Laurent Soldini & Julien Ayer
What would happen if you were living, inviting your friend(s) and working into one single room? In a space that would therefore nearly naturally evolve between very private functions and public ones, where the shape of space wouldn’t change but where functions slowly migrate from one into another without the “user(s)” really even noticing it (the status of space would be movement).
“Rolling micro-functions” is an attempt to illustrate and develop working propositions around this prospective theme at a micro-space scale (a long table): our scenario for the workshop is one room equipped with a long table and several chairs (it could ideally be something looking like the Bouroullec’s Joyn table from Vitra or even a hybrid bed-table –see link 1 or link 2–, had it been further developed) where those evolving functions would occur (working, eating, relaxing and even sleeping).
In this room, a tracking system that give information about user(s) activities/configurations will be necessary as well as a set of robotic micro-functions that can reconfigure themselves according to those captured user(s)’ information, so as maybe other information or invisible layers as well (networked information, digital world, stock quotes, dynamic data, electromagnetic fields, live data from air and biological tracking or from weather stations, news, etc.)
While today most of our architectural spaces are structured aggregation of mono-functional separate rooms, usually partitioned (a room for sleeping, a room for cooking, a room for watching TV or eating, a room for bathing, etc.), which is a functional approach inherited from the modern period (that consumes a lot of space and that btw also contributes to energy consumption problems), this project tries to suggest a different and speculative approach with the densification (urban room?), multiplication and variation of functions within one space and therefore its evolutionary and continuous nature over time (from private to public and return, etc.).
Note1: this workshop took place during several months between July and November 2006. As it implied software developments as well as design proposals, it was necessary to take more time than for some of the other workshops (we wanted with this project to reach “working demo” level as well as “fiction demo”), even if it was not full-time work.
As one part of the necessary technology pre-exists to the workshop (E-Puck robots for education) and has some clear constraints (size, shape and topology, movement, computing capacities, type of sensors, etc.), the attitude here is rather to illustrate certain principles at small scale about our understanding of contemporary space (continuous, layered, variable rather than binary, partitioned and fixed) and to propose speculative artifacts for it. We also limited the information sent to the robots to local, user and camera based tracking.
We’ll therefore work with micro-spaces and micro-functions here that are not so convincing as a potential future product (who would pay 600$ for a rolling ashtray?). But this was not really the purpose in this context, we wanted rather to experiment around (micro-)architectural agent/behaviors and the results could/should be extrapolated to bigger scales.
Note2: the project implies the development of a software (“tracking of spatial configuration”) to pass the information about spatial usage to the “E-Puck” robots. The development of this architectural software (webcam based) has been undertaken by fabric | ch.
The robots are also tracked by another camera and its software that is under development at the EPFL.
Finally, a set of rules (behaviors) for the positioning of the robots according to user(s) configurations is also necessary. It acts as a kind of grouping language for the robots. The overall system resembles therefore something in between a kind of “dot-matrix printer for micro-functions” and an "autonomous system" (swarm-intelligent). The idea is not that the robots “brings you an ashtray when you need one”, which would be uninteresting, but rather that they illustrate through functional propositions and configurations their understanding of what is going on in the room.

Posted by patrick keller at 14:25

03. 03. 2007  14:23 | 04_Workshop_4 , 12_Curated_posts

E-Puck technology

The E-Puck is an existing technology developed at the EPFL for education purposes. It has limited built-in sensors, displacement and communication capacities. It can be extended like a sandwich can have more layers... In our case, for our working demo and algorithm development, we will build a "lighting" robot only.
Has you can see on the image below, lots of epucks have been built already so to be able to implement "intelligent" & swarm robotic behaviors.
Link to E-Puck resources online.

epuck_03_s.jpg epuck_02_s.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 14:23

03. 03. 2007  14:18 | 04_Workshop_4 , 12_Curated_posts


This set of images (quickly googled, flickred, ...) might look a little bit unfocused to act as a "source of inspiration" for this particular Rolling microfunctions project. But I can give short explanations...
First image is of course an historic one, a reference that we already mentioned in the context of Variable_environment/: the Walking city utopia of the English experimental architecture studio Archigram. It's in fact rather a small tribute or a wink to their work than a reference as we are working at a totally different scale... (but this is not without reasons). "Sushi on the go" was also an idea we had in mind while working on this project: this way of eating where all the sushis pass in front of your eyes and you pick one when you need or like one. We had a similar idea for the functions, functions like sushis...
Then their are 4 images about dot-matrix fonts (one on paper --FF dot matrix regular by Cornel Windlin & Stephan Muller, 1995-- the other on led screen) and old dot-matrix printers: our small rolling robots could act as simple dot-matrix functional patterns and aggregate themselves under certain rules, like dot-matrix fonts and printers based on a grid system as well.
Finally, ants, curling and snooker have something to do with the behavior and kinetics aspect of the robots: ants for the redundancy of the system to achieve a goal (but this has more to do with the scientific research of Prof. Alcherio Martinoli's SWIS/EPFL laboratory) and curling or snooker for their movements. In particular their relation to dot-matrix systems and the way a configuration can quickly change into another.

walking_city.jpg sushi_on_the_go.jpg
dotmatrix_printer.gif dot_matrix_printer2.jpg
ant_party.jpg curling_2.jpg
curling_1.jpg snook2.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 14:18

03. 03. 2007  14:07 | 04_Workshop_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop#4 result: VTSC (Visual Tracking of Spatial Configuration)

Visual Tracking of Spatial Configuration Software was developed by Christian Babski from fabric | ch for Workshop#4. It is a server/client based tracking software where you can add any number of tracking camera and computers (4 camera per computer).
The principle is that you can draw any number of "zones" in any camera view and that these zones can then be occupied (by a user, an object, etc.) or not (on/off status). Combining 2 camera that look at the same part of space from different points of view (top and side for example) let you know if this part of space is occupied of course, but also if a person is standing or sitting in the zone for example. The server centralises the on/off status of the different camera's zones, match it to a configuration file (i.e. this zone + this zone "on" equal "a user is sitting on this chair") and passes this information to other applications (in our case the robots, tanks to bluetooth communication).
You can follow the development of the architectural software in this blog:
_ VTSC - Tech. Review
_ Exemple d'utilisation du Tracking Vidéo (VTSC)
_ Video Tracking System of Spatial Configurations
_ VTSC System - Testing
_ VTSC in use

Below, a couple of VTSC's screenshots. Camera views are from the four ceiling camera. Zone in red = "off", green = "on"...


Posted by patrick keller at 14:07

03. 03. 2007  13:30 | 04_Workshop_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop#4 result: Robots behaviors with lighting function

A couple of images of the working demo "in action", with led lighting robots. A video will be added here as soon as...


The developer's team within the "crash tests" set: Christian Babski supervising the robots, Julien Nembrini, Babski again, all and then Clément Hongler (student assistant). Finally, the lighting E-Pucks waiting to go on set.

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RFIMG_0215_s.jpg RFIMG_0212_s.jpg

Rolling session under camera's eyes...

RFIMG_0219_s.jpg RFIMG_0221_s.jpg
RFIMG_0211_s.jpg RFIMG_0230_s.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 13:30

03. 03. 2007  12:35 | 04_Workshop_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop#4 results: Microfunctions robots

How all the evolving micro-functions for table would finally look like on the E-Pucks (no material indication yet). We developed this rolling & modular approach under our AD with two object designers, ECAL's Ra&D assistants: Laurent Soldini and Julien Ayer.
Colors are to show the different modular parts of the "Rolling microfunctions" and all of the related objects possibilities. Then four different functional aggregations among many possible (a candlestick, a plate, an "eating sushi and a "reading" configurations).

03_EPuckRendu_Chandelier_s.jpg 04_EPuckRendu_Plateau_s.jpg
05_EPuckRendu_Bureau_s.jpg 06_EPuckRendu_Sushis_s.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 12:35

01. 03. 2007  11:53 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Variable_environment: prototypes photo shoot process

We have produced a set of prototypes for the artifacts we were working on for some time now. Things like the "AR-ready patterns & objects", the "Webcamera - mirrors (& light)", the "Rolling micro-functions (for Sohos)", etc. Objects that can use or interact with softwares like XjARToolkit or VTSC (and others --skype, etc.--).
We are now in the process of shooting pictures of them. The overall set of pictures will describe a sort of (little bit visually) annoying space, made of artifacts that look traditional on first sight (wallpapers, mirrors, table, etc.) but that have a discrete second or third function. A marker based room which functions can potentially evolve over time, be (inter-)/re/active and/or endlessly customizable, evolve from a private atmosphere to a more public one. A space where also most of its content remains invisible to the human eye but can be seen through (cellphone, handheld, fixed) camera. It could be a "one room somewhere -including a film set-- where somebody live and work".
Here are some "making of" pictures of the photo shoot to give a first impression. We expect to finalize the variable_environment research project (phase 1) for the end of the month. Hopefully...

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4_MMFC4196_s.jpg 11_DSCN4213_s.jpg
5_MMFC4192_s.jpg 6_MMFC4190_s.jpg
7_MMFC4184_s.jpg 8_MMFC4186_s.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 11:53

28. 02. 2007  14:35 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Mashing books' content with Google Earth & Geodata

Google announced a couple of weeks ago that they wanted to map book's locations into Google Earth. As explained by David Petrou, a software engineer, on Inside Google Book Search blog.

Posted by patrick keller at 14:35

28. 02. 2007  12:02 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Jared Diamond

While I'm speaking about Philippe Rahm's works, I take the opportunity to mention a writer and book he was speaking about during the workshop he led for Variable_environment/ at ECAL/Ra&D last June 2006.

jared_diamond_ggs.jpg jared_diamond_chscfs.jpg
Jared Diamond, an American evolutionary biologist who wrote books about the evolution (Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997)) and collapse (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005)) of great civilizations under a climatic point of view. He claims that "ecological factors account for the development of civilizations and technologies" or examines "what caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin and considers what contemporary society can learn from their fates".

Posted by patrick keller at 12:02

27. 02. 2007  17:13 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Pixelnotes by Duncan Wilson

pixelnotes_02_small.jpg pixelnotes_04_small.jpg
A project that has already been published several times in magazines. But well, yes, this is another way to produce a "variable environment" wallpaper, an "analog" way...
Read more on Duncan Wilson's website.

Take a look also to the PSP personal environments / furnitures he did in collaboration with other students at the RCA.

Posted by patrick keller at 17:13

27. 02. 2007  16:36 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Electrifying the alphabet (back to the 60ies)

Volume 62 of the english graphic design magazine Eye countains an essay written by Sarah Owens about *Electrifying the alphabet*. This is history now and it brings us back into the 60ies, but it is interesting to read an article about a time when typographers were dealing with such experimental design questions as to make a typeface become readable by a machine or by both a machine and a human... --Thimoty Epps did a trial in this direction back in 1969, see eye_51_s.jpg below--). We all know now how useful this has revealed to be!
So this was the time of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition --i.e. E13B, commissioned by the American Bankers, that was used and still is on cheques) technologies. But also such types as the OCR-A in 1966 or then OCR-B designed by Adrien Frutiger in 1969.
Even if not at the same level at all, I can see a thematic continuity between all those efforts of the 60ies and what we've tried to do during this project, with pattern designs & objects dedicated to be recognised by (web)camera, computers and softwares (XjARToolkit).

Finally, Sarah Owens ends her essay that way:
Symbols of a new modernity
Electronic alphabets were very much a product of their time, heralding a new age of electronically controlled communication, symbols of a new modernity. As results of both technological innovation and successful collaborations between engineers and design fields, they inspired and helped to advance typography into a new age: contemporary screen typefaces would be unimaginable without them. Perhaps it is now time for contemporary experimental typography to make a similar, lasting contribution."

eye51_03_s.jpg eye51_04_s.jpg
eye51_05_s.jpg eye51_06_s.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 16:36

20. 02. 2007  14:10 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Powder RFID

Christian Babski just sent me this link to the french gizmodo weblog: rfids that are small enough to look like powder... and be dissolved everyware...
Read more about it on MIT Technology Review.

Posted by patrick keller at 14:10

13. 02. 2007  11:35 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts


Christophe Guignard sent me last november (...) this link to an online retranscription of a discussion between Adam Greenfield and Christina Ray. They talk about "Ubiquitous Computing", more precisely about the book "Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing".
As a theme, "ubiquitous computing" is in close relationship with the situation we tried to point out as a starting point of this project back in spring 2005. We then focused on what could be designed within/for such an environment, trying to unfold its hidden potential and eventualy (probably) ending up with problematic objects or environments (webcamera/mirrors and tracking softwares for your home or visual environments and products for camera and softwares), or objects that ask questions, some could be ethical.
Within their discussion, Adam Greenfield precisely rises some questions about "morality" and responsability for the ones who will produce designs for these "unbiquitous environments".
The discussion starts like this:

"Interview with Adam Greenfield
by Christina Ray

I recently met up with Adam Greenfield, author of Everyware: The
Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing, to discuss the book's ideas over
coffee. Everyware was published in 2006 and draws upon Adam's
background as a user experience consultant and critical futurist to
describe the subtle yet persistent diffusion of computing technology
into the landscape. Against the espresso machine hum, the cafe's iPod
shuffling through indie rock tunes, and the register jingle, we
talked about speed and convenience as the seductions that drive our
increasingly mediated reality. And we pondered the cultural,
ecological, and ethical costs of living with everyware and where we
go from here . (...)"

and you can read the rest of their chat HERE.
Since last november, another interview of Adam Greenfield about his book by Régine Debatty and Nicolas Nova was also published on WMMNA and on Pasta & Vinegar.
On this same blog, there was yesterday a post about ubiquitous computing (review of talks given during Lift07 conference).

Posted by patrick keller at 11:35

22. 01. 2007  17:27 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Webcam mirrors uses

Following Aude's post, I would like to underline the fact that any webcam application could potentially be used in conjunction with these objects (such as skype, or to post the image "memory" of the mirror on the internet --i.e blog, flickr--, to use the variable_environment's softwares like tracking of spatial configurations, augmented reality, etc.).

It still has to be decided if a webcam mirror can do everything (possibly support "any" program like a "any webcam") or not (the mirror has a specific function). Additional computed visual function of the lamp will possibly be used for tracking only (remote control kind of function). In any case, if a computer is needed, this will be the "computer bedside/low table".

Posted by patrick keller at 17:27

22. 01. 2007  17:08 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Webcam Objects (models)

Webcam objects, as they are designed for this project, have a strong, simple and slightly unusual identity.
The following images are taken from the work-in-progress, before producing real scale / real material objects.

Model of the webcam lamp (still made out of cardboard on this picture) fixed to the ceiling.
The cylindre is 40cm of diameter and 40cm hight.
It integrates 5 halogen's lights and a webcam (central hole).

Colapsible Table Mirror works with a laptop.

Furniture Computer (computer "bedside/low" table)

Posted by aude at 17:08

10. 01. 2007  16:01 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Cradle to cradle

During Workshop#5 (Language of Pattern) led by Rachel Wingfield, she mentioned this book as a big reference about sustainable design for her work & Loop.pH's approach.
I just give the link to the book written by William McDonough & Michael Braungart here.

Posted by patrick keller at 16:01

10. 01. 2007  15:24 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Personal technology

MIT's Technology Review reports about Personal technology (to relate with Variable_environment's quick images about Personal environment) and its potential evolution. With topics that interests us such as "Annotating the earth" (Google Earth type of things, to relate with "AR Ready" simple objects based on AR signs/patterns), A New Platform for Social Computing: Cell Phones or The Evolution of Wireless.

Posted by patrick keller at 15:24

10. 01. 2007  10:44 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Resurgence/revival of the avatar or the "2nd lifes/worlds" kind of questions

In an article published in MAKE Magazine volume 07 ("News from the future" section by Tim O'Reilly), you'll find an interesting short essay about first, second and possibly third life and about yet another mishmash situation (our own body in this case).
There is also an interview of Tor Lindstrand on Archinect about Architecture's Second Life and a recent post about Google earth + sketchup by Nicolas Nova on Pasta & Vinegar.
That's a revival! Possibly the first one in the digital era since the arcade/pixel games nostalgia. What about avatars wearing late 90'ies like clothes in 2nd life!?
I'm personnaly not a big fan of those kind of "duplicated reality" approaches for 2nd worlds where you should rather face Moore's law than the gravity one. But it's funny to consider that such projects, which were buzz but not working at all 10 years ago (think about the 2nd world of Canal+ where we produced a "digital museum" back in 1999), are now complete buzz again.
It looks like there is definitely a before and an after Google earth, MySpace, 2ndLife, etc. and that the conditions to see a more massive presence of so called "virtual worlds" (and then possibly deeper hybridization between 1st & 2nd) are now joined together (partly because of technical issues but also essentially because those environments are now part of the daily social network).

Posted by patrick keller at 10:44

22. 12. 2006  10:30 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Metropolitan world atlas

Metropolitan world atlas by 010 Publishers presents collected data about major cities on earth. All main data are displayed through graphics, so as the variation of those main cities over time, in particluar the increase of exchanges between them (communication, transportation by car, plane, boat, etc.). It is definitely a good source to speak about a global urban network and about the mobility or communication within it.

l_cities001_s.jpg l_cities002_s.jpg
l_cities003_s.jpg l_cities004_s.jpg
l_cities006_s.jpg l_cities007_s.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 10:30

12. 12. 2006  15:47 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Avatars consume as much electricity as Brazilians

A del.icio.us link to Rough Type found on Regine's w-m-m-n-a blog. Yet another "mish-mash" (hybrid) situation... (see our mish-mash posts and workshop within the frame of this project).
December 05, 2006
Tony Walsh has, as others do, some doubts about whether Second Life is sustainable as a business. But he also poses another question that I hadn't come across before: "Is Second Life sustainable ecologically?"
He quotes Philip Rosedale, the head of Linden Lab, the company behind the virtual world: "We're running at full power all the time, so we consume an enormous amount of electrical power in co-location facilities [where they house their 4,000 server computers] ... We're running out of power for the square feet of rack space that we've got machines in. We can't for example use [blade] servers right now because they would simply require more electricity than you could get for the floor space they occupy." MORE.

Posted by patrick keller at 15:47

11. 12. 2006  18:20 | 04_Workshop_5 , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

Loop.pH - Rachel Wingfield

Loop.ph's Rachel Wingfield has joined the *variable environment* research project in november (27.11 - 01.12.06) for a week of workshop about reactive patterns and ornementation.
Rachel Wingfield is also currently a research fellow at Central St-Martins in London. She's graduated from the Royal College of Art with a MPhil in Textile and her interests (as well as the ones of Mathias Gmachl, co-founder of Loop.pH) goes into biomimetics, patterns and smart patterns as well as sustainable products or built environments.

Posted by patrick keller at 18:20

11. 12. 2006  18:09 | 04_Workshop_5 , 12_Curated_posts

Works & Projects presentation by Rachel Wingfield

Works & Projects presentation
ecal 27th Nov 2006 - 70min (flash8 video)

Posted by |BRAM| at 18:09

11. 12. 2006  17:15 | 04_Workshop_5 , 12_Curated_posts

"Language of Pattern" a workshop by Rachel Wingfield

Ar&D, 2nd and 3rd year MID students Workshop with Rachel Wingfield
Monday 27th November to Friday 1st December 2006

Brief workshop presentation by Rachel Wingfield
ecal 27th Nov 2006 - 40min (flash8 video)

The aim of this one-week project is for you to explore and challenge your interpretation of pattern in the environment. It is an opportunity to consider the natural environment and design scenarios that synchronise technology with temporal patterns within nature. The workshop will question the deeper meanings of decoration and ornamentation as well as highlight the importance of a craft discipline.


Nature is a vast source of ideas to learn, understand and be inspired by, rather than a source of materials to be extracted, converted then discarded. A new design agenda can be realised through developing environmental wisdom, cooperating with nature rather than working towards its extermination.
We can experience the cycles and signs of our natural environment on every sensory level from the change in humidity and atmospheric pressure to the fragrance and vision of flowering plants. As urban, built landscapes consume a natural ecology it becomes increasingly difficult to read these signs. Looking at Nature in this way it can be seen as the prime example of an ambient display.
Ambient displays or devices can be understood within the context of computation with ubiquitous and pervasive computing, and is based on the ability of the brain to perceive information and pattern at an apparently low cognitive level. An example being the project by Loop.pH called Buried Light where wallpaper is used as a patterned interface that visually communicates domestic energy consumption.

Textiles & technology
The proliferation of textiles has historically played a significant role in the development of technology and today the relationship between the two is ever more important. Miniaturisation of technology allows wireless communication devices, microprocessors and sensors to be embedded into everyday textiles and familiar objects.
Through a wide range of emergent technologies, the process of ‘making’ in the creative field is becoming increasingly virtual and mechanized with the limitations of computation often overlooked. No computed simulation works identically to physical materials. Textiles are deeply rooted in a craft discipline where extensive ‘hands on’ training and knowledge of materials are often passed down through generations. Technology and computation should be viewed as simply another set of materials to be skillfully manipulated in a similar way to the more familiar textiles, yarns and filaments.
An integral part of the textile discipline is pattern both structurally and in the context of ornamentation and decoration. It is also a principle deeply embedded in the natural world. The human brain is finely attuned to recognising pattern and is built upon the notion of familiarity and evolution. The universe can be understood as a shared and interconnected pattern.

Part 1.
To prepare for initial meeting on Monday afternoon (27 Nov)
1. Bring a collection of images (minimum 6) that demonstrates the proliferation and ubiquity of textiles.
2. Start thinking about natural phenomena and how patterns can be perceived and understood in cycles of time. Research and identify a minimum of two different and specific natural cycles based on Biology and an area of science called phenology – a study of the times of recurring natural phenomena. A broad example being the response of living organisms to seasonal and climatic changes in their environment, such as the migration patterns of birds and floral blooms in spring.
Part 2.
Design a scenario for a time based ambient display based on a chosen natural cycle using textiles and surfaces as the interface. The textile should express and work in synergy with the environment. It could be an architectural intervention, an object, or a collection of interconnected textiles within a chosen context. Your environment could be domestic, public or natural – this is very much up to you. Consider how decoration and ornamentation is currently used in the built
environment, as this could be a starting point to expand upon. Pattern should be used as the principle tool to recognise and apply interconnectedness with environmental wisdom.
Create a narrative through the use of sketches, models, animation or film that informs the audience as to how a textile/object could reconcile humans with the natural environment. Question how technology and man made interventions can be used to extend this relationship. This should be presented to the group on Friday the 1st December.
By the end of the workshop you should have the beginnings of a design proposal and a developed research question that you may wish to explore further. Consider the following quote by the German artist Hans Haacke as inspiration for your scenario development. He is referring to his chosen material of living plant matter.

make something which experiences, reacts to its environment, changes, is non-stable...
... make something indeterminate, which always looks different, the shape of which cannot be predicted precisely...
... make something which cannot 'perform' without the assistance of its environment...
... make something which reacts to light and temperature changes, is subject to air currents and whose function depends on the forces of gravity...
... make something which the 'viewer' handles, with which he plays and thus animates...
... make something which lives in time and makes the 'viewer' experience time...
... articulate something natural...
Hans Haacke, Cologne, 1965

Download the brief pdf file

Posted by |BRAM| at 17:15

11. 12. 2006  16:32 | 04_Workshop_5 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop's result: Lunatic Room

Project by Eric Morzier & Camille Scherrer
Video Presentation (11min flash8)

The Lunatic Room is a magic bedroom influenced by the moon cycles.
Curtains, wallpapers and bed textiles are used as displays.
The main goal of this project was to let the nature's strengths come deep inside our environment and make us more aware of mother nature...

material references


The moon cycle lasts 29 days (new moon is the first day, full moon on the 15th day, etc.) and as we all know, the moon affects the nature (tides, earth tides, etc.) and according to different mythologies, superstitious sayings, and almanacs, each day of the moon has some particular effects on different things around us and on our behaviour and body.
As the bedroom is the place where we spend the most of our night time, we decided to explore different possibilities of making the room protective and informative about what’s going on under the moon rays.

Then we have chosen to work with curtains, tapestries and bed covers as a display:
• Curtains are more or less a shield against moon rays.
• The bed cover is acting as a radiograph which displays the weak bodies.
• Wallpapers are working as an almanac showing all the superstitions and mythologies.

We took three cases as examples:
• 3rd day (new moon): According to almanacs, it’s a harmful day for humans, death is around but it’s a good day to start a new business. It’s also a bad day for eyes, teeth and blood circulation in hands. Good for plants and sowing.
• 15th day: The full moon is purifying blood and people are turning mad. It’s good to cut your hairs under the moon rays. The cry of the owl means the anguish of sick people. Be careful of the wolves in the woods.
• 27th day (last quart): Favourable to the stomach, it’s a good day for baby conception. Animals are ready to be hunted, go hunting and fishing. Let you hairs grow but exposing yourself under moon rays may turn you ugly. It’s often a lucky day.

We can easily adapt this room to other phenomena like atmospheric pressure, seasons, migrations, etc.

Animation_1 (flash8)

Animation_2 (flash8)

the almanach

Posted by |BRAM| at 16:32

11. 12. 2006  16:10 | 04_Workshop_5 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop's result: Thermawall

Project by Vincent Jacquier, Guilhem Moreau & Aude Genton
Video Presentation (12min flash8)

We were at first interested by the thermic loss phenomenon in the context of domestic spaces, thermic over-consummation and isolation problematics.
Our plan therefore was to use a thermo chromic (ink disappearing at a customisable threshold temperature) for its self sustainable characteristics.
The idea was to display through the apparition of different level of complexity in patterned wallpaper the thermic loss/consummation in your domestic environment.
Our research was an exploration of complexity trough patterns, spatial modification with optic-art and sense of communication through the design of patterns.



Ink layers
The optimum temperature for a domestic home has been scientifically defined around 18°C, a warm domestic interior is therefor define under 25°C and an excessive temperature treshold above 30°C.

How it works (flash8)

Posted by |BRAM| at 16:10

09. 12. 2006  17:15 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_4 , 12_Curated_posts

VTSC in use

The Visual Tracking of Spatial Configuration software that fabric | ch has developed in the context of this project is being used actually in the frame of workshop #4 (the software and necessary hardware are installed at SWIS - EPFL Laboratory of Prof. A. Martinoli and Postdoc assistant J. Nembrini). We haven't spoken so much about this project yet, this will come later when we'll publish the results in the *workshop_4* section. But we are working around evolving microfunctions for a potential (very) long conference/dinner table that would be placed in a SOHO (Small Office / Home Office) or a similar small domestic space where function evolve over time (but as you can see bellow, the table is much smaller for the tests and the microfunction will be limited to lighting).
Also, we see here in this test the use of several webcamera to track the space (a bit redondant here but we are using 8 webcamera), of course, in a real and future domestic context, those webcameras would be our (web)camera objects!
vtsc_0001.jpg vtsc_0002.jpg
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vtsc_0006.jpg vtsc_0007.jpg
vtsc_0008.jpg vtsc_0009.jpg
vtsc_0010.jpg vtsc_0011.jpg
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vtsc_0014.jpg vtsc_0015.jpg
vtsc_0017.jpg vtsc_0018.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 17:15

09. 12. 2006  16:17 | 12_Curated_posts

A linear walkthrough the diary of the research project

In this *Curated posts* section of the blog, your are finding a linear and curated walkthrough all the content that has been posted on the blog for this first phase (sketches phase) of the transversal ra&d project *Variable_environment/* (transversalities between design - architecture - sciences).
We have only selected the posts that revealed to have an influence on the end results. This will give you the impression that the project was kind of very linear, which was of course not the case... You can consult all the other menu of the blog to have a full view of the diary, ideas and tests.

Posted by patrick keller at 16:17

24. 11. 2006   9:48 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 03_Sketches_&_Projects_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Smart mobs & camera

Tiré du blog *Smart mobs*, quelques lignes sur les caméras de surveillance dans l'espace public:

This USA Today article says that in "U.K. public places, smarter closed-circuit TV cameras have been given the ability to listen for disturbances and also keep an eye on citizens.The system has already been put into use in the Netherlands to listen for people speaking in aggressive tones, to try to counter violent attacks in Dutch streets, prisons and railways.
The aggression detector has been fitted to CCTV cameras on the streets of Groningen and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In the U.K., London police also are considering installing the system, said Derek van der Vorst, the director of Sound Intelligence, the company that created the technology.The system works by putting microphones in CCTV cameras to continually analyze the sound in the surrounding area. If aggressive tones are picked up, an alarm signal is automatically sent to the police, who can zoom in the camera to the location of the suspect sound and investigate the situation".
'Big Brother' cameras listen for fights

Posted by patrick keller at 9:48

20. 11. 2006  17:07 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Hyperlinking reality

Christophe Guignard sent me this link about a research project lead by Nokia where their goal is to "hyperlink" real environment and super-impose digital information over real-world. Very applied approach where the phone, one more time, is the target and where visual markers are not there.
Read the article on Technology Review.
Researchers at Nokia are also developing a proprietary technology for their phones called MARA software (for Mobile Augmented Reality Applications).

Posted by patrick keller at 17:07

21. 09. 2006  18:10 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Small Office / Home Office (SOHO) in China

In MARK Magazine no2 (last summer), there is an article explaining that the construction of 'SOHO' housing is booming in China.
'SOHO', for 'Small Office / Home Office' is, has Femke Bijlsma is explaining in Mark "(...) a Japanese term with english roots. More explicitely, sohos are either the homes of people with internet-based work or small internet-related workstations at shared office. A phenomenon of the early '90s, the soho came into its own in 2002 when, for the first time, a housing project in Japan was developed specifically with the Soho in mind. (...) Suppressed for decades, the spirit of enterprise is rampant in a country teeming with entrepreneurs and start-up companies. Sohos in central Beijing are in great demand. The lower floors of these skyscrapers are occupied primarily by eateries, cafés, boutiques and travel agencies, while hair salons, massage parlours and all sorts of small offices fill the higher levels. Late into the evening, these buildings are hotbeds of feverish activity (...)."
soho_00_xs.jpg soho_02_xs.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 18:10

04. 09. 2006  10:48 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 07_Diverse , 12_Curated_posts

Sustainable design & consumption

I've read in the last "Doors of Perception Report" by John Tackara a annoucement about SCORE conference. SCORE will be a new network of institutions that deal with sustainable design and sustainable consumption questions. It is supported by the European Community.
We mentioned early in this ra&d project that one of the main related question with the "mobility", "mobile" or "variable environment" context was the question of energy consumption. As this question is not our main focus during this project but as we also clearly recognized it as an important issue, we will therefore follow the work of SCORE with interests.
Mobility, agro-food, and energy use contribute 70% of the life cycle impacts of household consumption. But just telling people to go green is futile. Multiple actors need to work together at a system level for sustainable consumption and production to be realized. Welcome, then, SCORE! (Sustainable Consumption Research Exchanges) - an EU-funded network (28 institutions, and a few hundred professionals) an interchange for cases of radical sustainable consumption. SCORE!'s launch conference is 23 to 25 November in Wuppertal, Germany.
(J. Thackara in Doors of Perception Report, September 2006)

Posted by patrick keller at 10:48

20. 07. 2006  16:51 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Wireless wonder chip

Regarding the problematic of "tagging real space" with digital and dynamic content (see our previous post related to visual markers for handheld camera), the hardware solution is also on its way.
Read it on MIT Technology review.

Posted by patrick keller at 16:51

20. 07. 2006  12:09 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

(web)Cameras objects

Aude Genton (project's assistant for object design) just sent me some documents/plans about the (web)cam objects. This is a shift in the object's language for the (web)cameras. They don't look technological anymore and have a second "domestic" function. They can be hanged on walls or ceilings easily and bring "computer vision" into homes or offices. They can also become blogjects, skype phone-cameras as well as "AR" or "Spatial configurations" trackers. They are challenging objects as we know that bringing tracking cameras into our own home ask some major questions.
In the actual state, we have 3 mirrors (for walls, tables and hands) where one of them is a computer as well and 1 light (ceiling).

Posted by patrick keller at 12:09

19. 07. 2006  15:43 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

"AR Ready" simple objects based on AR signs/patterns

ar_papier-peint_s.jpg ar_t-shirt_s.jpg ar_cahier_s.jpg
ar_tampon_s.jpg ar_stickers_s.jpg ar_postit_s.jpg
Based upon the AR signs & patterns being developed by Tatiana Rihs (project's assistant for graphic design), we will be able to revamp lots of oldtech or paper based products adding to them AR, media, dynamic/networked content & interaction functionalities. They will become "AR ready" products.
We will use our XjARToolkit software for such extended rich media functionalities.
First samples by Tatiana includes wallpapers, t-shirts, papetries, post-its, ink plugs, stickers, posters, badges, fabric, etc.

Posted by patrick keller at 15:43

19. 07. 2006  15:20 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Some illustrated applications

appli-ar_tvshirt.jpg appli-ar_tvshirt_01.jpg
Bram Dauw (project assistant for Media & Interaction Design) is working on potential applications for the "AR" technology and possibly for the "Video Tracking of Spatial Configuration" as well. They imply the use of the "AR" signs and patterns or "AR-ready" products as well as the analysis and tracking of spatial configurations. Applications like an "I Love TV" t-shirt that would lit your TV up when you enter its field of vision or, depending on days, an "I Hate TV" that would on the contrary shut it down. By extension, you could imagine any interaction between a shirt or a sign in space, its location being tracked by the camera and a contextual triggered event. Or "AR" memory stickers that would let you cover your suitcase all over, helping you stick AR media memory items to it. Same with badges on clothes or even a strange t-shirt that would let you blur your image in front of monitoring camera! Or post-it applications, or wallpapers ones, or etc.

Posted by patrick keller at 15:20

19. 07. 2006  10:08 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_4 , 12_Curated_posts

Exemple d'utilisation du Tracking Vidéo (VTSC)

Cet exemple est basé sur l'usage d'une table "architecturale" multi-usages de type Joyn (design: R. & E. Bourroulec, éditeur Vitra) de 540x180. Les différentes dimensions des tables de types Joyn nous serviront pour la suite du projet. Il ne s'agit en effet pas de développer des tables dans le cadre de cette collaboration avec le laboratoire SWIS (collaboration dans le cadre du Workshop_04), mais bien essentiellement une "collaboration" entre des robots de petites tailles (e-puck) et des utilisateurs dans un contexte de micro-spatialité.
Les robots e-puck de l'EPFL pourraient évoluer à l'intérieur d'une zone délimitée par une ligne noire posée sur la table (parallélépipède rouge sur l'image). La ligne noire doit pour l'instant être présente pour sécuriser l’évolution des robots. Ces derniers dépendent d’un tracking vidéo dédié pour contrôler leurs mouvements sur la table. En cas de panne de ce système, les robots pourraient tout simplement tomber de la table en continuant un mouvement qui n’a pas été invalidé par le système de tracking vidéo dédié. Ces robots sont actuellement partiellement autonomes, mais toutes les recherches sont dirigées pour qu’ils deviennent totalement autonomes (ne plus dépendre d’un système de tracking vidéo externe).

Un ensemble de caméras (webcam USB) permettent de contrôler un ensemble de volumes autour de la table mais également sur la table : une chaise est elle occupée, un intervenant a-t-il posé ses coudes sur la table, ou bien juste une main etc… Suivant les volumes occupés ou non cela suggère aux robots certaines activités : ils se déplacent, s’organisent afin de former une configuration de groupe dans le but de « servir » au mieux les intervenants.
Les volumes contrôlés par les webcams sont « naturels » en ce sens que leur occupation spatiale découle d’une activité humaine des plus classiques. L’apprentissage du fonctionnement de l’ensemble par l’intervenant est nul et peut reposer uniquement sur l’intuition et la perception de l’espace par ce dernier.

Posted by fabric | ch at 10:08

06. 07. 2006  16:13 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_4 , 12_Curated_posts

VTSC - Tech. Review

Video tracking systems are usually set up for object motion tracking or change detection. These systems are assumed to be able to run in real-time, e.g. analyzing a live video stream and giving the expected result straight forward without time delay.
The obvious main purpose of such systems are usually linked to video surveillance (persons, vehicles) or even object guidance (missiles).


A large set of academic (http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/676131.html) and commercial references exists exploiting a well known set of distinct methods. Usually the best is the algorythm, the worst is its CPU print.
Commercial solution usually proposes very good solution while using dedicated hardware, making possible to have high performance algorythm running in real-time.

In the framework of this project, a set of pre-defined constraints must be taken in account:

-> The tracking system must interact with an existing robot control system developped at the EPFL
-> Low cost hardware may be used for cameras and computers (video streams analysis)
-> Several tracked area activations, issued from several distinct cameras, may be combined to make one decision validated or not
-> The number of cameras must be maximized (in order to obtain a maximum of tracked configurations) where the needed set of computers to perform video analysis must be minimized

This set of constraints excludes the use of any commercial solutions that may have an important costs as well as may imply problems to adapt itself to the describe experiment scope.

It disqualified as well open-source or freely available video analysis systems because of their lack of functionalities: none of the tested projects were able to deal with several cameras connected to the same host computer for example.
Some of them imply the use of a particular type of camera, compatible with some specific drivers only (WDM for JMyron).

By developing a highly networked system based on commonly used technology (Microsoft DirectShow) we will be able to use any windows compatible webcam without any particular limitation. It implies as well to be able to access to several camera video streams through USB from the same host computer.
The network layer will ensure that all video analysis data can be centralized to a dedicated application in charge of validating a given decision (ex: 3 persons are sitting around the table true-false?) as well as making available this information to the robot's controller application (EPFL), still through network.

The video analysis itself can be freely based on methods described in the numerous research papers found in the literature, making possible to choose from one method or another according to the kind of CPU print we can allow for the application.

New video tracking methods may even be included later, making possible to have a set of networked video tracking applications running a different video analysis algorithm each.

Posted by fabric | ch at 16:13

28. 06. 2006  15:34 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Webcam Objects


Premières propositions d'objets intégrant des composants éléctroniques.
Le premier est un miroir mural faisant office de borne airport.
Le second est un miroir à poser sur une table connecté à un ordinateur.
Ces deux objets reprennent la typologie de miroires traditionnels, normalement low tech.
Les cables éléctriques et autres voyants lumineux indiquent la présence de technologie.
Le choix du miroir fait référence au narcissisme de l'utilisateur ainsi qu'au jeu de regard:
"Je me regarde être vu".

Posted by aude at 15:34

19. 06. 2006  17:09 | 04_Workshop_3 , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

Philippe Rahm, Architect

The architect Philippe Rahm has joined the *Variable environment/* Ra&D project for a week of work with the assistants.
Mr Rahm's architectural works and space experimentations deal often with invisible or physiological aspects of space. Distortions and displacements are at work in its architecture revealing new spatial conditions.
Several books have been published about his work, among them Physiological architecture by Birkhäuser editions and Distortions by HSX editions in partnership with FRAC Lorraine and Centre Culturel Suisse.

Philippe Rahm is also a teacher for architecture at the Architectural Association, London and at the Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio.

Posted by patrick keller at 17:09

19. 06. 2006  11:35 | 04_Workshop_3 , 12_Curated_posts

"Variable environment: function follows climate" ar&d workshop

Works & Projects Presentation
ecal 12.06.2006 (1h20, video flash8)

Variable environment : function follows climate
Research project by ECAL & EPFL supported by University of Applied Sciences, Western Switzerland, Workshop juin 2006, Philipppe Rahm
Texte de Philippe Rahm (PDF file)

Une archéologie de l’habitat
Il existe une archéologie de la typologie architecturale. C’est un champ jonché d’anciens programmes, de chambres dont on a perdu l’usage : ruines d’activités aujourd’hui révolues, de modes de vie passés, d’organisations architecturales désuètes, de fonctions caducs. Il en reste les noms, lesquels ne nous disent plus grand chose. Ce sont des désignations de pièces ou de types de maisons que l’on n’arrive plus ni à décrire ni à classer ni à en comprendre l’usage : bourne, chauffoir, burons, vivoir, caouhade, voûte, zadrouga, rafraîchoir, communautés taisibles, ramonétages, currals, etc. Autant de lieux que l’on ne sait plus habiter aujourd’hui et que l’on ne pourrait plus non plus concevoir. Lorsque Le Bernin présenta ses plans du Louvre, le ministre Colbert s’inquiéta de savoir où le roi dormirait. Le Bernin lui répondit que ce type de questions n’intéressait pas les architectes mais seulement les intendants. Les architectes de la cour ne s’occupaient pas de la distribution des pièces. Assister au lever ou au coucher du roi était alors un acte public.(Lucius Burckhardt, « Schweizer Möbel und Intérieurs im 20. Jahrhundert » , Birkhäuser – Verlag, Basel ). La conception et l’organisation spatiales de l’habitat et de la ville ont ainsi fortement varié à travers l’histoire et la géographie. Elles décrivent des modes de vie et des comportements sociaux qui suivent ou engendrent des types de plans et d’espaces architecturales qui peuvent aujourd’hui sembler incongrus. Ainsi, dans de nombreux villages de France, on trouvait autrefois une pièce que l’on appelait « la voûte », à la fois séjour, étable et fumier dans laquelle on pratiquait la veillée en hiver pour profiter de la chaleur animal et de celle dégagée par la fermentation. Dans les îles Aléoutiennes, les habitants se regroupaient jusqu’à trois cents durant l’hiver, dans une sorte de grande maison communautaire où ils partageaient un même foyer tandis que l’été, ils reformaient des cellules familiales sous tentes. (Pierre Deffontaines, « L’homme et sa maison », Gallimard, Paris,1972). Et l’on pourrait multiplier les exemples de ces programmes hybrides ou totalement inconcevables aujourd’hui comme le Tué jurassien, salle qui est tout à la fois cheminée, séjour et boucherie puisqu’on y conservait dans la fumée jusqu’à 3 boeufs entiers. Ou encore en France, ces rez-de-chaussée mi-enterrés extrêmement humides que l’on occupait pour tisser le lin afin que les fils ne soient pas trop secs pour ne pas se casser.

Ce qui nous intéresse ici n’est pas tant l’évocation d’autres modes de vie que la manière dont un problème ou une solution spatiale typiquement architecturale (lutter contre le froid, subir l’humidité, etc.) ont pu provoquer l’émergence de modes de vie nouveaux et imprévues. Ainsi le moucharabieh, dont la densité d’ouverture est liée à la fois à une volonté d’abaisser l’intensité de la lumière naturelle et à un mode de rafraîchissement par accélération de la vitesse de l’air par densification de la filtration du claustra, provoque cette relation ambiguë entre l’intérieur et l’extérieur et tout le jeu social qui en résulte. Bien évidemment, l’histoire n’est pas linéaire et le jeu social du moucharabieh s’est certainement superposé rapidement à son rôle thermique, l’un et l’autre pouvant aussi avoir été conçus en même temps, à la manière de l’histoire de l’oeuf et la poule. Il n’empêche que notre intérêt est de renverser la fonction et le climat, d’émettre l’hypothèse d’une architecture dont la fonctionnalité émergerait « comme par hasard » de problèmes ou de réponses climatiques. Ce qui nous intéresse est ici est la capacité de l’architecture de ne pas être fonctionnelle mais d’être ouverte, interprétable, libre, c’est-à-dire de ne pas répondre à une fonction préétablie, mais plutôt de suggérer, de rendre possible, à travers ses réponses aux problèmes climatiques ou techniques,l’émergence, presque malgré elle, d’une fonction. La programmation architecturale s’accorderait alors aux théories de l’évolution, celles de Lamarck d’abord puis de Jacques Monod ou de François Jacob en particulier, lesquels stipulent le rôle du hasard dans l’apparition et l’évolution des formes de vie. Rien de prédéterminé, rien d’immobile, mais une série de transformations contingentes, qui vont transformer les modes d’habitation et les comportements sociaux. Ici en effet, certaines fonctions, certains programmes, certains usages sociaux apparaissent par hasard ou par nécessité dans la gestion des formes climatiques de l’architecture. Et rien n’est définitivement fixé. Ce qui nous intéresse est bien ici de rendre l’espace construit plus libre, de le sortir de sa détermination fonctionnelle univoque pour le rendre interprétable.

La programmation monofonctionnelle des pièces dans lesquelles nous habitons aujourd’hui trouve son origine au début du XIXe siècle, avec l’invention du corridor dans la maison bourgeoise. Chaque pièce prend alors une fonction spécifique : chambre d’enfant, bibliothèque,boudoir. D’autres pièces sont inventées au XXe siècle comme la fameuse cuisine de Francfort, de dimensions minimums, créé en 1927. Nous habitons finalement dans un paysage intérieur plutôt récent et dont certaines fonctions commencent à régresser comme la salle à manger par exemple, laquelle tend à disparaître en tant qu’espace indépendant. Il existe donc une sorte d’évolution de la typologie architecturale à travers l’histoire, avec ses genres disparus, ses espaces en voie d’extinction, ses programmes émergents. Nous situons notre travail à ce dernier niveau, dans la volonté de faire émerger de nouvelles typologies d’habitat en fonction de la modification des modes de climatisation du bâtiment liés au développement durable. Mais notre ambition n’est pas d’inventer de nouvelle fonction de pièces, mais plutôt de libérer l’espace de la fonction ou plus exactement de laisser libre l’interprétation fonctionnelle de l’espace.

Posted by |BRAM| at 11:35

19. 06. 2006  11:30 | 04_Workshop_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Une architecture interprétable

Notre propos pour le workshop « Variable environment » est de tester une architecture qui ferait apparaître des fonctions comme « un jeu de dés », selon une équation où la concordance de paramètres climatiques (Température T, intensité lumineuse lux et humidité relative HR) généreraient un possible usage de l’espace : T x lux x HR = forme et fonction. La variation de l’environnement climatique produira alors également une variation programmatique. La méthode qui est ici proposée renverse effectivement le procédé moderne du « Form follows function » lequel appelle à dessiner l’architecture selon un programme prédéterminé.
Ce procédé moderne s’est aujourd’hui accéléré au point de confier aujourd’hui en France la conception et la rédaction du programme non plus aux architectes mais à des programmistes, le rôle de l’architecte se réduisant à celui de mettre en forme et d’appliquer un programme préétabli et dont il ne peut plus être ni critique ni auteur. Parce que le programme est préétabli en amont, l’architecture devient une crispation du moment moderne et empêche l’évolution des typologies architecturales en fonction des transformations contemporaines des sociétés. L’architecture doit permettre l’évolution des modes d’habitation dans ce même rapport d’influence du climat sur les sociétés que décrit Jared Diamond où les variations de milieu transforment le cours de l’histoire des peuples.

Le workshop est une étude des possibilités qu’ont les variations climatiques de l’espace de suggérer librement différentes fonctions et usages de l’espace. Les réponses qui sont données ici ne sont en aucun cas univoque. Ce sont des possibles, ces sont des interprétations, et bien évidemment pas les seules réponses. Nous nous inspirons alors de l’histoire de l’habitat où les données climatiques ont généré des fonctions, à l’instar des pièces peu lumineuses orientées vers le Nord et l’Ouest dans lesquels les tisserands de soie lyonnais travaillaient afin que le soleil ne ternisse pas les teintes des soieries. Où encore cette pièce au nord de la maison limousine, humide et froide, sorte de réfrigérateur archaïque que l’on appelait la laiterie et dans laquelle on conservait le beurre et le lait. Nous nous appuyons aussi sur les préconisations ergonomiques lesquelles conseillent des niveaux d’éclairement ou de température ambiante en fonction de l’activité et de l’habillement ; un travail manuel précis exigeant une intensité lumineuse plus forte par exemple, ou une activité physique lourde appelle à une température de l’espace plus faible. Nous faisons référence également aux préconisations thermiques définies dans l’optique d’une réduction des dépenses énergétiques dans le cadre du développement durable. Quant au taux d’humidité relative, il suggère des lieux, comme la cave.

Nous travaillerons sur 3 paramètres climatiques, celui de la température, celui de l’intensité lumineuse, celui du taux d’humidité relative qui seront comme les trois termes d’une équation qui donneront dans leurs conjugaisons un plus grand nombre encore de possibilités. Ainsi les variations de température définiront les variations de l’habillement, entre le nu à 28°C, la tenue légère à 23°C et la tenue d’extérieur à 16°C. Elles définiront le sujet. Les variations d’intensité lumineuse définiront des activités possibles du sujet dans l’espace. Elles seront le verbe qui conjuguera le sujet. Quant au taux d’humidité, il suggérera un lieu comme complément. Ainsi, les trois termes formeront des combinaisons et inventeront certaines actions de certains sujets dans certains lieux, de façon aléatoires, comme invention possible d’usage d’un lieu.

Posted by |BRAM| at 11:30

19. 06. 2006  11:24 | 04_Workshop_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Représentation de l’espace

La représentation de l’espace ou se déroule est aussi passée par plusieurs étapes graphiques.
Elle devait montrer plusieurs informations :
- l’humidité, représentée par des petits points
- la chaleur, représentée par la couleur (rouge, vert, bleu)
- la luminosité, représenté par un éclaircissement ou un assombrissement de la couleur
- les personnages, habillé ou non, et en mouvement
- les objets mobiliers

Le problème dans les premières versions, c'est que l'on a trop d'informations, l'image est trop petite etc. Du coup on ne distigue plus ce qu'il se passe.

De plus, il ne fallait pas cloisonner l’espace en une sorte de cage. Nous avons donc éliminé les arrêtes du cube pour garder quelque chose de moins fermé.
Animations des différentes versions en vidéo flash8 ici

Posted by |BRAM| at 11:24

19. 06. 2006  11:24 | 04_Workshop_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Results & Conclusions with Philippe Rahm


project's workshop presentation and thematic resume by Philippe Rahm (25min, vidéo flash8)


The architectural application *form & function follow climate* (30min vidéo flash8)

Final conclusion by Philippe Rahm (4min vidéo flash8)

Posted by |BRAM| at 11:24

01. 06. 2006  21:55 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

"AR" T-shirt (exemple)


Posted by tatiana at 21:55

01. 06. 2006  21:45 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Habit télécommande

Bram proposait un T-shirt télécommande. Je trouverai pas mal que les signes soient integrés à un motif plus régulier, de façon à ce qu'on n'ait pas d'emblée l'impression qu'ils remplissent une fonction particulière.


Posted by tatiana at 21:45

01. 06. 2006   0:39 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts



Download swf file 01 / Download swf file 02 / Download swf file 03

Posted by |BRAM| at 0:39

01. 06. 2006   0:31 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts


L’idée générale de cette application est de fournir un maximum d’informations sur la personne, ceci grâce à un badge posé sur le vêtement qui fait office de signe de reconnaissance mais aussi de mémoire.
Dans cette mémoire sont stockées toutes les données nécessaires et qui peuvent être téléchargées par un système bluetooth/wifi sur le téléphone de l’utilisateur.
C’est donc un système qui permet de connaître un individu en la regardant avec son propre téléphone.
Dès que l’on vise le signe de la personne, un menu s’affiche avec différentes options. Une info globale, un texte plus précis, images, sons, vidéo etc. Toutes ces informations sont directement téléchargeables depuis le badge mémoire/signe.

Ici il s’agit d’une action unique, mais toujours en relation avec l’identité d’une personne.
Le signe permet simplement de « cacher » son identité à travers le téléphone.
C’est plus pour signaler que l’on ne désire pas donner d’information sur nous plutôt que de vraiment se rendre inconnu/invisible.

In relation to this application, check out the "on-off" AR video test.

Ici je reprends l’idée de la télécommande. Dans ce cas précis, le t-shirt sert à commander la télévision avec des actions simples comme passer à la chaîne suivante ou précédente, éteindre et allumer.

In relation to this application, check out the "on-off" AR video test.

Le post-it servirait lui à laisser une forme de message, mais autre ou en plus de l’écrit.
Selon la forme du message (texte, vidéo, son, image) que l’on veut faire, on dessine le signe sur le post-it, on enregistre notre message dans une source de stockage (une boîte post-it) et le message serai disponible pour la personne concernée. En fonction du signe, le téléphone saura si le document à lire est une vidéo, une image ou autre chose.

Posted by |BRAM| at 0:31

20. 05. 2006  14:49 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

XjARToolkit - Version 1.0

The official first version of Xj3D was released. Some adaptations of our previous work were needed in order to allow the mix between Xj3D version 1.0 and jARToolkit (in the same way it was previously made with Xj3D version M10).
In comparison with the previous version of XjARToolkit, by taking benefit of Xj3D version 1.0 libraries, all objects are now correctly mapped, including mpeg movies. This is a direct benefit of chosing a 'still alive' open technology like Xj3D in comparison with openVRML. Please, refer to previous post for a direct comparison.

XjARToolkit 1.0 will be the basis for end-user examples in order to implement interaction & behaviors tree



Posted by christian_babski at 14:49

15. 05. 2006  16:40 | 04_Workshop_2 , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

Ben Hooker - Dataclimates - Royal College of Art, London

Ben Hooker will join the project for a workshop beginning of May.
Ben has collaborated with Tony Dunne and Fiona Raby on several research projects for the Royal College of Art (i.e. see the FLIRT or the PRESENCE projects). He is the founder of Dataclimates, an agency that has interests in research, architecture, contemporary space and interaction.

Ben Hooker was also a teacher at the Royal College of Art, Interaction Design (MA) and at Central St-Martins College of Art & Design, Graphic Design (BA), until 2005.

Posted by patrick keller at 16:40

15. 05. 2006  15:25 | 04_Workshop_2 , 12_Curated_posts

"Designing for mishmash" workshop

Ar&D and 3rd year MID students Workshop with Ben Hooker
Monday 8th to Friday 12th May 2006

Works & Projects presentation
ecal 08.05.2006 (1h00 vidéo flash8)

Works & Projects at the Royal College of Art
ecal 10.05.2006 (1h00 vidéo flash8)

New information and communications technologies and the services they
enable often evoke feelings of escape from the messy, constrained, physical, world we inhabit. For example, advertisers of 'virtual' Internet-based products frequently show images of people undertaking unambiguous tasks, blissfully disconnected from any distractive physical environment, or, if they are portrayed in a real context it is a simplistic one – writing an email in an office, phoning a friend from a car, shopping on the Internet while at home. These aspirational characters seem have everything under control and they can do everything they need to from their desktop, laptop or mobile phone.
Obviously – and thankfully – this is only part of the picture of the
Information age. Information and communication technologies cannot
diminish the importance of the physical world – but they can and do cause it to fragment and shift around a bit. For example, consider the Internet-based bookseller Amazon. We perhaps think of Amazon as a 'virtual' bookstore, but on the outskirts of London, in a massive new distribution depot there is intense physical activity as the depot processes orders in response to people buying books on the website. There are many other examples of similar situations. It's clear that the day-to-day physical places we inhabit are becoming *more* complicated, not less, because of all the building work in cyberspace.
This project is not just about the link between Internet spaces and physical spaces. The aim of the workshop is to uncover and explore the design potential of new situations that are occurring as the result of information and communication technologies being woven ever more intricately into our day-to-day lives.
Part 1
Collect examples of 'mishmash' situations involving technology which
contrast to the bland, homogeneous scenarios fed to us by advertisers.
These can be real situations that you have researched or observed directly or can be entirely speculative, so long as they are grounded in fact. They can be localised or large-scale, e.g. What *really* happens when you try to do 3-4 things together like phoning and computing and buying and walking?
Part 2
Design an 'interface' prototype inspired by your chosen situation. This 'interface' could be anything which provides a new level of access to the situation you have uncovered. It could be a spatial or architectural intervention, a device, an object or piece of software which provides a very specific service.
The idea is not to build a working object, but to present an intellectually challenging design proposal by using a combination of a basic prototype or prop (using card, film, animation, sketches...) together with a narrative which enlightens the audience about how the object would be used and what new situations could be created as a consequence of its use. Use your design proposal to take social and political risks. Push the limits of peoples' imaginations. Your proposal can be as fantastical as you desire so long as you can explain how it could work and how it's usage could 'fit' into the
reality of life today.
Download the brief (PDF)

Posted by aude at 15:25

15. 05. 2006  15:21 | 04_Workshop_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop's result: Ebay x–change point

Project by Tatiana Rihs & Aude Genton
Video presentation (30min flash8)

Ebay offers displays to meet and exchange what you sell on internet, there are 7 points placed in stations only in Switzerland.

This project is a range of concrete displays to exchange virtual or concrete objects. A bench to share advices, with an edge to confess secrets… and all together it makes a kind of market that needs low tech security.
Image 1.jpg
Image 2.jpg
Image 6.jpg
Image 10.jpg
Image 16.jpg
Image 17.jpg

At the end of the week we also thought of other kind of relation between virtual and concrete life, as a cemetery for virtual caracters, a prison for virtual crimes and machines to pass objects from one world to the other.
Image 14.jpg
Image 8.jpg
Image 9.jpg
Image 15.jpg

Posted by aude at 15:21

15. 05. 2006  15:15 | 04_Workshop_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop's result: Virtual Presence

Project by Simeon Raymond
Video Presentation (14min flash8)

This is a research about different possibilities of light. The intensity, the colours, the different light emitting materials and cycles of natural light.
A plastic research about light projections and the way they reveal spaces and edges was made. The animation of those projections suggest a presence like a fish aquarium or light projection of a TV screen. In a simple way, Simeon tried to bind virtual space as Google earth to a physical space. The way to trigger a light animation is not a precise action as a click but a more poetic action as moving the cursor near a friend’s house in Google earth.

Video flash8

Posted by aude at 15:15

15. 05. 2006  14:11 | 04_Workshop_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Results: a temporary conclusion by Ben Hooker

Ben Hooker did a short web page to resume the work of the overall week and try to put all projects in perspective.
Check it out HERE.

Posted by patrick keller at 14:11

03. 05. 2006  11:08 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts , 14_Reblogs_Publications_Expos

Contribution to opensource: jARToolkit

During the development of the common platform for demonstration purposes, Christian Babski (fabric|ch) encountered a bug in the opensource code of jARToolkit. Marcelo Fernandez and David Marimon (Signal Processing Institute - EPFL) have successfully solved this bug and reported it to the SourceForge community.

Posted by david.marimon at 11:08

03. 05. 2006  11:08 | 09_EPFL , 12_Curated_posts

Fusion of marker-based tracking and particle-filter based camera tracking

We have developed a novel a video-based tracker that combines a marker-based tracker and a particle filter-based camera tracker. The framework relies on their complementary performance. We propose a fusion where the overall estimate is selected among the individual estimates. More precisely, the marker-based tracker is selected when the reference is available whereas the particle filter-based camera tracker is selected otherwise.

Some snapshots of the performance of the fusion tracker in front of:
Marker partially out of the field of view
Video input with little illumination
Video input with saturated illumination

David Marimon
Signal Processing Institute

Posted by david.marimon at 11:08

13. 04. 2006  23:05 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

bloc de feuilles / signalétique AR

Quelques exemples de feuilles quadrillées

Posted by tatiana at 23:05

17. 03. 2006  15:21 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_3 , 07_Diverse , 12_Curated_posts

La Suisse, Portrait urbain

A recent publication (La Suisse, Portrait urbain, with contributions by Roger Diener, Jacques Herzog, Marcel Meili, Pierre de Meuron, Christian Schmid) by the ETH Studio Basel, Institute for Contemporary City, treats about the evolution of switzerland and its different regions.
New maps of switzerland are drawn that include wide regions. In particular "Metropolitan regions" that show on a map the concept of regional, urban & peri-urban physical mobility... defining new trans-national territories.
basel_archi_3.jpg basel_archi_4.jpg

It can be compared to a recent publication by Avenir Suisse, Le feu au Lac, that treats about the same question but centered around Geneva and Lausanne.
An older publication of Avenir Suisse, Urbanscape Switzerland, treated as well about kind of the same questions but with a different and more fictional angle. The book includes pictures by Joël Tettamanti and a prospective project by MVRDV.

Posted by patrick keller at 15:21

09. 03. 2006   9:07 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts

TEST 02 Pattern Tatiana

J’ai repris ici une des patterns les plus intéressantes de Tatiana au niveau des possibilitées qu’elle offre.
C’est une forme qui permet d’avoir plusieurs niveaux de reconnaissances et ceci sous la forme d’une profondeur tridimensionnelle.
Au fur et à mesure que je zoom dans la pattern, de nouvelles zones sont reconnaissables, ce qui nous permet d’avoir une réel profondeur dans un dessin en fausse 3D. Une piste qui a déjà été expérimentée précédemment sous une forme différente:
ici et ici
Test de reconnaissance des niveaux Download Video (wma)

Essai en Mixed Reality Download Video (wma)

Posted by |BRAM| at 9:07

03. 03. 2006  14:58 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts

TEST 01 Pattern Tatiana

Je montre ici quelques tests avec les patterns de Tatiana
pour se rendre compte de ce qui fonctionne et de ce qui ne fonctionne pas.


Avec un cube simple, on constate que les 3 cotés peuvent être potentiellement analysés comme un signe (chaque face possédant 4 côtés). Etonnement, ce sont les faces de côté (2 dernières images) que le logiciel distingue le plus clairement.


Avec une mosaïque de cubes (photos de gauche), chaque face noire est un signe potentiel. Si la camera est assez éloignée du premier cube en forme de carré, le logiciel va réinterpréter la forme globale en une masse noire, un carré avec un trou, car elle ne verra plus les traits fin blancs.
Ce qui ne sera pas le cas pour l’objet de la photo de droite car il y a un équilibre entre le noir et le blanc. Ce dernier fonctionne relativement bien avec le logiciel.


Ici, l’exemple concernant la modification de l’interprétation du signe est flagrante.
Si la forme est loin de la camera, le logiciel va la prendre comme un signe global, de près, on remarque que la détection se fait sur une partie spécifique du pattern (un segment, un côté).


Dans ce cas précis, les patterns les plus reconnus sont cette ligne de carrés aux côtés noirs très épais. Que la camera soit loin ou près, le logiciel reste braqué sur cette ligne de patterns.


Ici, dans cette mosaïque de cubes, le logiciel reconnaît plus ou moins chaque signe sans réelle maîtrise de la part de l’utilisateur (Download Video). Les cubes constitués de lignes sont certainement les moins stables au niveau de l'identification (comme on peut le voir dans les vidéos) mais dès que l’on s’approche de celles-ci, la reconnaissance se fixe à l’intérieur du carré.
cube_spirale2.jpegcube.jpeg Video 1 (wma) / Video 2 (wma)


Avec ce type de formes, le logiciel réagit plutôt bien et de manière intéressante. Dès que l’on s’approche à "l’intérieur" de la forme avec la camera, le programme prend chaque étape comme un signe et de manière linéaire. On commence avec une grande forme, puis la forme d’après pour enfin terminer avec le petit carré "du fond".


Dans un contexte où les formes ont plus de 4 côtés, le logiciel ne les prend pas en compte, ce qui peut être utile si l’on veut que ce dernier ne reconnaisse pas certains patterns.


Ici, les patterns ont un trait beaucoup trop fin pour que le programme reconnaisse quelque chose.

Posted by |BRAM| at 14:58

01. 03. 2006   9:20 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_3 , 12_Curated_posts

NORM - The Things

Petit rappel relatif au dernier livre de recherches des graphistes NORM (The Things). En particulier du sign generator.
L'univers des signes qui est développé pour la réalité mixte pourrait assez naturellement évoluer vers une application permettant d'en générer une infinité, tout en conservant la logique inhérente à une famille de signes.
norm_1_s.jpg norm_2_s.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 9:20

27. 02. 2006  22:28 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Arbres des signes



Posted by tatiana at 22:28

16. 02. 2006  18:26 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_3 , 12_Curated_posts

Book - Tape

As we thought about using tapes as one potential application for the graphical universe developed by Tatiana (signs for Augmented Reality), this book is a good reference (Tape: An excursion through the world of adhesive tape, Die Gestalten Verlag publishers) about lots of different experiments and projects based on tape.
From objects to environments.
tape_book_01.jpg tape_book_02.jpg
tape_book_03.jpg tape_book_04.jpg
tape_book_05.jpg tape_book_06.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 18:26

16. 02. 2006  10:35 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_3 , 07_Diverse , 12_Curated_posts

phone - shopping

Une petite info relative à une autre forme de "réalité mixte" en devenir: du contenu "live" lié à des objets et consultable n'importe où grâce à l'utilisation du code-barre de l'objet en tant que signe ou signalétique et de l'écran de téléphone portable (voir également les sema-codes dans nos Project links & Ressources).
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Toshiba mobile-phone software will offer online reviews of products by using bar codes.

By Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) -- Checking out the Internet buzz about a DVD, book or candy while on the go will become as easy as taking a snapshot of the bar code on the product.
Toshiba Corp., a Japanese electronics company that makes DVD players, laptops and nuclear power plants, has developed mobile-phone technology that searches for product reviews on up to 100 Web journals, or blogs, in 10 seconds.
Just use the phone's digital camera to snap a photo of the bar code of a product you're thinking about buying.
The technology can decipher if the blog chatter is positive or negative and tallies the count to show if a product is getting rave reviews or being trashed by consumers. That's useful if you're in a store about to buy an item.
Some of the more frequently visited blogs will also show up on the screen.
The bar-code information is sent wirelessly to a Toshiba server, which gathers data on blogs from the Internet and analyzes them, and then sends a reply back to the cell phone.
Toshiba expects to have information on thousands of products covering just about anything you might buy at a store -- from toys to electronic gadgets to food.
Toshiba plans to test the software at Japanese stores next month and hopes to offer it as a service on cell phones before April 2007, although details aren't decided.
Blog searches and bar codes that link to Web pages are already available on personal computers and portable devices, but Toshiba officials say their technology is convenient for shopping because it's for cell phones and carries out real-time blog searches from bar-codes.

Posted by patrick keller at 10:35

16. 02. 2006   1:54 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts

Mixed Reality Test 02

Download Video (wma file)

Posted by |BRAM| at 1:54

14. 02. 2006  14:21 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Disappearing architecture & Jeppe Hein

Deux livres qui traitent de la question de la "dématérialisation" des environnements architecturaux:
"Disappearing Architecture, From Real to Virtual to Quantum" est un livre édité par Princeton Architectural Press en 2005 sous la direction de Peter Weibel (ZKM) et de Georg Flachbart. Il traite de la superposition du réel avec le virtuel à travers la présentation de différentes recherches.

Le projet réalisé par l'artiste Jeppe Hein à Beaubourg en 2005 illustre bien ce propos. Labyrinthe totalement invisible, il s'agissait là d'un espace stimulé (on percevait les murs du labyrinthe grâce à un réseau de capteurs de position et aux vibrations que ceux-ci transmettaient à la tête par le biai d'un casque et seulement lorsque l'on "traversait" un mur -invisible...-). Véritable "environnement variable", le labyrinthe changeait chaque jour de configuraion.
Une édition de l'Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, retrace la genèse du projet.

Posted by patrick keller at 14:21

13. 02. 2006  14:47 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Annotating AR Stickers / Signalétique 'ready-made'

stickerbox_00.jpg stickerbox_01.jpg

Simple black square (black frame) stickers at different sizes that you can stick anyware. What is framed creates the specific and unique AR sign.
They can go on a book to "rich media" annotate it or illustrate it, they can go on a personal map for the same reason, or on a table, chair in a bar or at its doorstep, etc. Content would be here created by any end-user that would like annotate environment or objects, probably with its cellphone. The application would work that way.

stickerbox_02.jpg stickerbox_03.jpg
stickerbox_04.jpg stickerbox_05.jpg

Posted by patrick keller at 14:47

11. 02. 2006  18:00 | 00_References_&_Start , 12_Curated_posts

Yesterday (1960ies) / Today (2006)

From industry, planes, cars and motorways to services, mobile media, mobile (micro)-spaces, interactions, jet-lag, ...
From Architecture's "high-tech" & mobility utopias to a "mish-mash" (hybridization) of (technological) objects, micro-architectures, situations, networks and interfaces.
Those two comparative images (yesterday/today, see below) serve us since the start of the project as a kind of general background for our transversal ra&d project (transversalities between architecture, design, sciences). They resume some of our main concerns:
___They both speak about "mobility". Two kind of "mobilities": 1__ mobile environment in term of distance. It moves and its context of use is changing (img 1: a walking city & a "mobile personal environment") or 2__ mobile environment in term of time. Its configuration, shape or function varies along time, but its location is fixed (img 2: an instant city and a flock of blimps).
We can therefore speak about "Variable environments" in these two cases (variable in distance/context and/or in configuration/size over time).
___They both compare architectural utopias of the 60ies (Archigram's projects "A walking city" and "Instant city") to their kind of contemporary counterpart. The "mobility" utopia seem to have emerged, changed its scale and looks now as a transversal design problem (who's in charge of the design within those environment?). Everybody can notice that it obviously didn't emerged as it was envisoned and that it was also clearly not planned...
The two images comment about crossovers between disciplines as well (what belonged to a design domain seems to belong to another one today --i.e. space vs micro-spaces or urbanity vs micro-urbanity, spatial interfaces, interactive objects, graphics in space, interactive ornementation, urban screens, etc.--). They call for renewed collaborations between designers and between designers and engineers, so to face contemporary stakes.

The first image below is a composition between a famous collage from Archigram (top: "A walking city"), and actual snapshots of what compose some part of our daily mobile media and objects environment. What contributes at a small space scale to our personal mobility (bottom: "Personal mobile environment, documentation", fabric | ch).

The second image is a composition between another Archigram's project (top: "Instant City") and an image of a swarm of intelligent blimps (bottom: "The Flying Flock", IAS LAb, University of West England)

Of course, those two images and the "variable environment/" or the "mobility" problematic (see post below) serve us as a general thematic frame for our transversal ra&d project, even if our first ideas were literally to work within those two contexts (personal mobile environment & flying micro-architectural environment or flying architectural agents).
But the research project reveals itself to evolve a bit differently due to several intrinsic reasons, in particular to the interaction between the partners. Through the ongoing process our area of work has therefore mainly evolved into "mobile media" and "mobile (micro-)environments".

The team around the project is a transversal design and "test-tube" group: designers from écal (interaction, objects, products & graphics designers), architects, scientists from EPFL. Professionals (workshops) and/or teachers from other universities will be also invited at different moments during the project. Have a look at the network of partners involved.

Regarding scientific collaborations, we've chosen to collaborate with laboratories that are working at a research level on technologies that could have an impact upon mobility, mobile media or "variable environments" in a close future:
___First scientific collaboration is about "Augmented reality", therefore in connection with the first image ("mobile personal environment", mobile media). See the presentation of our partner (EPFL-STI) HERE.
___Second scientific collaboration is about swarm-intelligent & collective robotics (small mobile robots), therefore in connection with the second image. See the presentation of our partner (EPFL-SWIS) HERE.

Posted by patrick keller at 18:00

11. 02. 2006  17:30 | 00_References_&_Start , 12_Curated_posts

Mobility? Mashup experience?

Mobile media, mobile (micro)-spaces, interactions.
It is interesting to compare images from the early 60ies and 70ies to actual situations (see up). The "mobile city" was envisioned at that time as an architectural, utopian (and global) question that took into account that period's "new" techniques (car, trans-ocean flights, car-house/camping, motorways, etc.) These utopias proclaimed and promoted the fact that our way of leaving would change, would become less and less rooted to a specific area, less and less static along time. At that time, this was a prospective vision.
But nowadays, "mobility" has become effective. So effective that the word is used for anything, from architecture to transport, from working habits to tourism, from technologies and media to social behaviors, etc. It has become effective thanks in part to those "good old techniques" (car, planes, etc.) and probably in a larger part thanks to "technologies" that were not existing in the 60ies: mobile media, mobile communication, mobile computing, networks. We can now work or entertain ourselves at any time, nearly anywhere in a kind of mashup experience where we mix the physical and the digital, the localized and the networked, the here and the there, etc.
This has an energetic cost of course and we are aware of it, it should be taken into account as a kind of sustainable design approach, but this is not the aim of our specific research project, we will therefore mostly follow other's research works on this subject.
During this interval (60ies to years 2000), the question of mobility, that was envisoned has an architectural one, has moved to a transversal design and science question, where we don't really know anymore whose in charge of what. This should be mapped.
We've move from an "architectural utopia" to a "mish-mash" of (technological) objects, spaces and interfaces without really looking at the overall situation. It happened like an emerging phenomenon, mostly driven by technological and economical forces.
We've changed the scale of the products, their rythm of evolution so that nowadays the experience of "mobility" happens also with small or medium size environments (on the corner of a table with a laptop, on the cellphone in the street, while travelling with your small luggage, etc.). It usually has effects at a global scale though...

Posted by patrick keller at 17:30

01. 02. 2006  23:35 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts

Mixed Reality Test 02

Ici quelques tests à partir des patterns de Tatiana.
Video analyse signes (wma file)
Comme on peut le voir ici, le logiciel détecte plus ou moins n’importe quel forme noire avec 4 côtés.

Video modèles 3D (wma file)
En incluant de vrais modèles 3D aux signes en pseudo 3D, il se passe un phénomène intéressent. Le vrai cube va se coller sur le dessin du pattern. Si ce dernier est en perspective, le cube va s’adopter à la perspective réelle de ce dessin.
Autrement dit, un objet 3D peut parfaitement s’ajuster sur des dessins en pseudo 3d et crée un tout autre espace.
Le clignotement des objets en vrai 3d est du au fait que le logiciel perçois un très grand nombre de signe potentiellement utilisable et par conséquent passe d’un signe à un autre.

Posted by |BRAM| at 23:35

24. 01. 2006  13:03 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts

Mixed Reality Test 01

Je mène ici plusieurs tests avec le logiciel "Mixed Reality" notamment pour voir quelles sont les réactions du programme dans certaines situations et en particulier pour ce qui concerne la reconnaissance des patterns.

Signes dessinés
Dans cet exemple j'ai réalisé quelques essais avec des signes dessinés à la main (idée déjà évoquée depuis quelque temps parmi les pistes à explorer).
Dans la vidéo (wma file) on peut voir que la caméra reconnaît un signe de base (carré bleu) et reconnaît l’autre signe après intervention dessinée (carré orange).
Comme on peut le voir, la détection fonctionne relativement bien tant que l’on dessine un signe distinct et clair des autres patterns et que la surface est uniforme et sans ombres.

Signes sur écran
Ici, j’ai directement effectué l’analyse des signes à travers un écran au lieu de la traditionelle forme imprimée. J’ai donc dessiné quelques formes sous Illustrator et posé la Webcam en face de l’écran afin de voir quel serait la réaction du logiciel face au rafraîchissement d’un moniteur.
Le résultat est intéressant dans la mesure ou il se produit un effet de clignotement de plus en plus prononcé au fur et à mesure que les signes se multiplient.
Voir Video (wma file)

Toujours dans l’idée de multiplication des signes, on peut obtenir des résultats très intéressant graphiquement parlant. En intervenant directement sur certains aspects à l’écran, je peux contrôler certains paramètres d’analyse du programme. Je bouge par exemple une forme blanche qui cache les signes, je peux l’agrandir, la rétrécir ou la déplacer et créer une sorte d’animation interactive.
Voir Video (wma file)

Dans une idée plus applicable à ce genre de configuration j’ai pensé à un système de sélection sur le principe de cacher un signe pour faire apparaître la sélection voulue.
Voir Video (wma file)

Posted by |BRAM| at 13:03

12. 01. 2006  18:24 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Relation between AR signs and XjARToolkit interaction tree

Tatiana's work about AR signs have two purposes:
__to develope the visual universe & potential (low-end) products that lie behind the AR software logic.
__to try to give an idea of the level of interaction that might be connected to the sign (complexity of the sign could reveal its position in the XjARToolkit interaction tree)
A sketch by Tatiana gives a first idea of this "interaction tree" & "signs" relation trial:


Posted by patrick keller at 18:24

12. 01. 2006  17:24 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Signalétique AR/Caméras: nouveaux patterns

motif2.jpg motif1.jpg

Posted by tatiana at 17:24

12. 01. 2006  17:15 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Signalétique AR/Caméras: nouvelles formes

forme1.jpg forme2.jpg

forme3.jpg forme4.jpg

forme5.jpg forme6.jpg


Posted by tatiana at 17:15

16. 12. 2005  18:23 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Memorandum suit

the_Suitdetail2.jpg the_Suitdetail.jpg
We mentioned the memory book or an 'AR' hidden memory device that you would carry with you once on travel at the very beginning of the project (see the post about Memento). This is a memory suit with lots of phone numbers and so on. I believe this 'memory' application could come back at the end on t-shirts, fabrics, badge or stickers on luggages.

Posted by patrick keller at 18:23

16. 12. 2005  17:14 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts


Quelques tests d'une fonction simple avec le logiciel de réalité augmentée et l'utilisation de signes sur des surfaces souples comme les vêtements et la peau.


Toujours dans l'idée de faire du corps, du vêtement ou de l’objet une "télécommande".

Posted by |BRAM| at 17:14

16. 12. 2005  16:46 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_2 , 12_Curated_posts


il me semble que si l'on choisit de suivre la piste des signes avec la main faisant office de marques, il pourrait être marrant d'utiliser le motif "main" dans le cadre d'un pattern par exemple ou d'un t-shirt par exemple. L'utilisateur n'a, du coup, même plus besoin de faire le signe lui-même.



Posted by tatiana at 16:46

14. 12. 2005  17:56 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Erwin Hauer - Continua


Continua, Architectural walls and screens, par Erwin Hauer. Un livre aperçu dans la librairie de l'Architectural Association de Londres lors de mon passage dans cette école la semaine passée.
Le livre traite également de textures ou patterns volumiques, liés à des environnements spatiaux.
dans le contexte du travail développé par Tatiana (motifs et patterns destinés à être reconnus par une caméra --vision, AR--, puis donc à situer cette caméra dans l'espace), il s'agit d'un intéressant développement de la notion de motif (patterns, textures) dans la troisième dimension en profitant de travailler beaucoup sur des questions de lumière, de forme et de contre-forme.

Posted by patrick keller at 17:56

16. 11. 2005  18:48 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_2 , 12_Curated_posts


Une idée de pattern irrégulier à partir d'un seul motif dont on pourrait peut-être s'inspirer.


Posted by tatiana at 18:48

16. 11. 2005  17:58 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_2 , 12_Curated_posts

Handbook of regular pattern

Quelques images tirées d'un livre intitulé HANDBOOK OF REGULAR PATTERN de Peter S Stevens, MIT Press, 1982. L'auteur commence par expliquer les règles de base de la symétrie et montre ensuite pourquoi il n'existe que 17 façons vraiment différentes de faire un pattern avec un même motif. L'ouvrage est richement illustré. j'ai repris ici surtout des exemples avec des carrés (vu que c'est ce qui nous intéresse), mais il y en a pleins d'autres.






Posted by tatiana at 17:58

28. 09. 2005  17:38 | 09_EPFL , 12_Curated_posts

Diploma Project: Robust Feature Point Extraction and Tracking for Augmented Reality

On Tuesday 20th September, Bruno Palacios (Erasmus student coming from UPC-Barcelona) presented his diploma project entitled Robust Feature Point Extraction and Tracking for Augmented Reality supervised by David Marimon and Prof.T.Ebrahimi. This work enhances the already developed AR system using more robust tracking techniques.

Abstract of the report________

For augmented reality applications, accurate estimation of the camera pose is required. An existing video-based markerless tracking system, developed at the ITS, presents several weaknesses towards this goal. In order to improve the video tracker, several feature point extraction and tracking techniques are compared in this project. The techniques with best performance in the framework of augmented reality are applied to the present system in order to prove system’s enhancement.
A new implementation for feature point extraction, based on Harris detector, has been chosen. It provides better performance than Lindeberg-based former implementation. Tracking implementation has been modified in three ways. Track continuation capabilities have been added to the system with satisfactory results. Moreover, the search region used for feature matching has been modified taking advantage from pose estimation feedback. The two former modifications working together succeed in improving system’s performance. Two alternatives to photometric test, based on Gaussian derivatives and Gabor descriptors, have been implemented showing that they are not suitable for real-time augmented reality. Several improvements are proposed as a future work.


Scene augmented with a virtual red square in front of a real monitor (click on image for bigger resolution).

Posted by david.marimon at 17:38

09. 09. 2005  16:16 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_1 , 12_Curated_posts

XjARToolkit - How should it work (end user example)

Step 1: any user can create a content (mostly small pictures, vidéo, text or sound file created with its cellphone or computer)
Step 2-3: he send/upload/send his file to a networked database while at the same time associating it to a visual sign (through a picture of the sign or through a code of it)
Step 3: the signs themselves can have different status, being used alone or creating a pattern.
Step 4: any user could access to any of the AR content through the camera observation of the signs. Access would ideally be possible through cellephones, pda, laptops, portable game stations, origami-like computers, etc. (only possible through laptops today which doesn't make so much sense)

We must also stress the point that the visual signs for the camera can be used alone, in groups (to create new and bigger signs) or as patterns. This can lead to the creation of visual simple products that could surround the AR application and be "AR-Ready" products bringing all the network, media & interaction possibilities to traditional static supports.
These products could be paper, post-it, wallpaper, stamps, books, t-shirts or fabrics for clothes, badges, stickers, etc.

Posted by patrick keller at 16:16

09. 09. 2005  11:59 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

FRAME Magazine, May/June 2005.

Two diploma works that were published in the May/June 44th number of FRAME. First one by Clay McLaurin from Rhode Island School of Design deals with fabrics & mix of (old & decorative) patterns. Second one are wallpapers by Lene Toni Kjeld from Kolding Designschool.
They both interests me for the mix they are made of. In particular the wallpapers for their potential to create several sub-spaces & period of time within a single space, without really building anything.

Posted by patrick keller at 11:59

08. 09. 2005   9:35 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_1 , 12_Curated_posts

ARToolkit + openVRML Software Redesign = XjARToolkit

Within this project and our collaboration with EPFL's Signal Processing Institute, we are working with an open source Augmented Reality software named ARToolkit combined with openVRML. The STI laboratory is developing a signal processing project (camera vision) within the frame of this open source AR project so to improve its performances and give a context to their vision development.
We target that the use of the software within the frame of this project will be mainly on mobile devices (cellphones, portable game stations, pda, tiny laptops, origami-like computers, etc.) even if it is not possible nowadays.

As interaction designers, we emit some reserves about several aspects in the design of this open source combined software (rendering and behaviors):
__it is based on an outdated VRML open source 3d engine (openVRML, not updated anymore) which dramatically limits how you can interact with the 3d and how it is rendered.
__you can only play with static information (static 3d in this case) and you are in a way either too far away of it on a small screen (the 3d object is too small, no details) or too close (you see a fragment of the object).
__the marker (AR sign) should always be fully viewed.
__it has no interaction capacity and is clearly limited to visualization. It therefore doesn't take into account the potential of interaction with the *camera signs* (the software knows where the camera is when it looks at a "camera sign") or even with the added 3d.
Sketch of ARToolkit & openVRML's interaction tree (red part) on top of XjARToolkit (see below) planed interaction tree:


We propose to add some features and to provide a redesigned version of this combined software that will be labeled XjARToolkit (see the scenario to redesign the open software):
__we will work with Xj3D as a 3D engine (open source as well). This is a more actual open source real-time 3d format. This 3d engine covers VRML as well as X3D and it has already much more functionalities implemented than openVRML. This will open the capabilities of 3d interaction. Xj3D is also still in development and is targeting to have a player for cellphones as well in the future.
Xj3D is java based.
__As Xj3D is java based, we will connect it to jARToolkit which is a java binding of ARToolkit.
__We will integrate the work of David Marimon (EPFL, Signal Processing Institute) to have a better stability of the 3d integration and a better vision tracking treatment. This will enable us to have interaction with the relative position/orientation of the camera compared to the tracker/sign.
__We will extend the toolkit with another open source software (Rhizoreality) so to connect it to network potential (dynamic content, multi-user, etc.) and to open interaction possibilities with other devices or objects (like television, lights, remote controls, etc.)
Note that we don't target a specific AR application, rather an array of applications some of which being new ways of using such software (no AR in fact, just interaction with camera and their relative positions in relation to AR signs, opening up the fuctions to a kind of spatial interface software). In this sense, the new extended toolkit should allow to produce plentyful of different contents and behaviors in a playful way. In some cases, the content should be created by any end-user (like an sms or mms application) while in other, it could become professional and task specific applications.
XjARToolkit should become a framework for that.

Sketch of XjARToolkit's (as a Rhizoreality.mu client) extended interaction & behaviors tree:


Note that this "Interaction tree" should have in the end a relation with the "Tree of AR signs".

Posted by patrick keller at 9:35

07. 09. 2005  16:46 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Summer sketches & possible scenarios for october 05 - june 06

Tatiana, Adrien et Bram (les assistants de l'Ecal pour le projet) avaient lancé l'idée de travailler avec le corps et ses différentes postures comme signes potentiels lors du premier *workshop*.
En prolongement direct de cette idée, travailler simplement avec les mains et définir par exemple le cadre du signe sur un t-shirt (pour rappel, chaque signe reconnu par la caméra et le logiciel d'AR --Augmented Reality-- doit être inclus dans un cadre carré). La combinaison de ce t-shirt contenant le "cadre" avec des signes réalisés par les mains devant une caméra pourrait permettre de créer le premier t-shirt servant de télécommande...
Ceci pourrait être mis en parralèle avec le développement d'un projet "pins", basés sur le langage graphique développé par Tatiana et qui permettrait là aussi de customiser des vêtements (vêtement *souvenirs de chez soi* pour longs voyages...).

Développer l'/les objet/s caméras vers des morceaux d'espace ou des micro-spatialités. Réduire la matière au profit de la stimulation d'une perception. Signe ou icône d'espace pouvant cumuler différentes fonctions (illumination, spatialité, etc.)

Développer une ligne de *caméras abat-jour*? En allusion directe à tous les types de systèmes d'éclairage qu'on peut trouver dans des environnements intérieurs (suspendu, sur pied, au mur, sur table, de chevet, etc.).

Associer ces différentes approches (papier peint, langage graphique, objets caméras-spatiaux-lumineux, caméras domestiques, objets 2d-3d, ...) dans la constitution de micro-spatialités (ici, cela évoque probablement un peu trop une situation de type *living room*).

Poser la question suivante (soulevée par Alexis Georgacopoulos lors de notre dernière réunion): celle de l'affectation générale de l'espace sur lequel nous travaillons. Initialement, nous voulions travailler sur l'espace urbain public, à l'extérieur ou habrité (type wi-fi zone). Le workshop *Chambre d'hôtel* nous a ramené à l'intérieur, pour l'instant dans un espace de type domestique (et donc plus tellement public).


Posted by patrick keller at 16:46

11. 08. 2005  18:17 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Patterns in Design, Art & Architecture

Livre publié par Birkhäuser concernant les Patterns (et l'architecture, entre autres).

Posted by patrick keller at 18:17

05. 08. 2005  12:02 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Libération - Documents sur les caméras de surveillance

Le quotidien français Libération consacre cet été une série d'articles (série Evénements) sur les caméras de surveillance et leur incroyable augmentation dans l'espace public urbain. Bien entendu, ces articles sont en lien directs avec la série d'attentats qui ont récemment touchés le centre de Londres.
Même si le sujet de *Variable environment/* ne traite pas de cette thématique (la surveillance), cela fait désormais partie de notre environnement urbain quotidien. Une fraction grandissante de l'espace public est filmée, analysée par des logiciels (et des yeux humains), souvent en temps réel. Cette augmentation est rendue possible aujourd'hui par des caméras et des logiciels de surveillance, des bases de données ainsi que d'énorme quantité de stockage d'information.
Le fait que le projet et la technologie AR Toolkit (Augmented Reatity Toolkit) de l'EPFL utilise des techniques d'analyse d'image vidéo en temps réel nous connecte immanquablement à cette famille du *video tracking*. Dans le cadre du projet *Variable environment/*, nous ne l'utilisons pas avec pour but de surveiller, mais cela ne veut pas dire non plus que nous sommes ignorant de la question...
Peut-être faudra-t-il désormais signaler par un message ou une signalétique spécifique l'usage qui est fait des images vues par des caméras (de l'"Espace filmé, surveillé, images enregistrées" en passant par l'"Espace filmé, non surveillé, images non enregistrées" jusqu'à bien entendu l'"Espace non analisé")?

Posted by patrick keller at 12:02

27. 07. 2005  14:36 | 07_Diverse , 09_EPFL , 12_Curated_posts

Announcement: Public Release of ARToolKitPlus

Dear all AR developers,

due to many requests we release our (until now) internal version of ARToolKit, called ARToolKitPlus.

ARToolKitPlus is not a successor to the original ARToolKit, which is still further developed and supported. In fact we can assure that we will not have the capacity to provide a similar extensive support as is currently done for ARToolKit.

ARToolKitPlus could actually be called ARToolKitMinus, since we removed all support for reading cameras and rendering VRML.
What's left is an enhanced version of ARToolKit's vision core (those files that you can find in lib\SRC\AR in the ARToolKit distribution).

Main new features are:
- C++ class-based API (compile-time parametrization using templates)
- 512 id-based markers (no speed penalty due to large number of markers)
- New camera pixel-formats (RGB565, Gray)
- Variable marker border width
- Many speed-ups for low-end devices (fixed-point arithmetic, look-up tables, etc.)
- Tools: pattern-file to TGA converter, pattern-file mirroring, off-line camera callibration, id-marker generator

ARToolKitPlus is known to compile for VS.NET 2003, VC 6.0, eVC 4.0.

The project's webpage can be found at
http://studierstube.org/handheld_ar/artoolkitplus.php where you can find a more detailed overview about the changes, the API documentation, some short code samples and a download link.

PLEASE NOTE: This version of ARToolKit is only targeted to experienced
C++ programmers. It does not read camera images or render geometry of
any kind (especially no VRML support) nor is it an out-of-the box solution. In contrast to the original ARToolKit, this library is not meant for starters in developing AR software. No binary executables (execept for some tools) are provided.

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments please send them to me or the artoolkit mailing list.

Daniel Wagner
aqppeared in ARFORUM on the 13th May 05

Posted by david.marimon at 14:36

18. 07. 2005  18:23 | 07_Diverse , 12_Curated_posts , 14_Reblogs_Publications_Expos

Symposium sur la recherche en design

Le projet *Variable Environment* a été présenté le 24 juin 2005 lors du Symposium sur la recherche en design, organisé par le Swiss Design Network à la HGKZ.

Slides de la présentation: variable_environment_ecal_epfl.pdf [5 Mb]
Flyer du symposium: programm.pdf

Pour plus d'information, contactez christophe.guignard@ecal.ch

Posted by christophe at 18:23

16. 07. 2005  17:31 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_1 , 06_Comments , 12_Curated_posts

fabric | ch - technological input & links to our tools

Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 18:16:34 +0200
To: david.marimon@epfl.ch
From: Christian | Babski
Subject: Proposition - premières réflections
Cc: patrick keller

Hi David,

This last days, I had a look to existing tools on augmented reality (AR). It includes:

ARToolkit (version EPFL)
jARToolkit (java binding of ARToolkit via native code)
DART (pointed out by you)

About the tools you are using, it seems that your application is based on ARToolkit, on the top of which you have added your own functions for filtering and enhanced pattern tracking.
From this point of view, your work can be easily integrated to other pattern tracking systems like jARToolkit or DART in order to mix your results with these particular tools.

The main reason that pushes me to consider this option is that ARToolkit in its last version is a bit obsolete: it is based on libVRML, which has been developped/migrated to openVRML.
As we plan to enhance functionalities to 3D objects linked to tracked patterns, it implies that we should work and try to extend libVRML... extensions that can be considered as lost, as this library is not anymore up to date and is a bit abandonned by the community. Moreover, it seems that this library has some problems for compiling under .NET environment.

If we want to keep a more up to date version of the libVRML library, we will need to establish a link between ARToolkit and openVRML by compiling it under .NET (it seems possible with openVRML) or not (keep on working with VC++ 6.0 if needed). The main idea here is that extensions we can work on in the frame of this project can be useful and proposed as possible official extensions to openVRML: it makes possible to participate to an open source project during our collaboration. Moreover, the ARToolkit version linked to openVRML can be of some interests for the open source community (I do not think that this work was already made).

In the other hand, by considering jARToolkit and/or DART that both work correctly according to some tests I have made, it can bring us to consider the use of some other libraries for displaying AR final results. It can be possible to link with Xj3D viewer for example or use particular functionalities proposed by Director. Moreover, the use of JAVA (jARToolkit + Xj3D) or Director (DART) give us the ability to use some other tools we have already developped at fabric like our multi-user system rhizoreality. This tool can be integrated to Max/MSP, proposes functionalities like multiple view (CAVE-like system), collaborative work etc... it was used within several projects and exhibitions these last years.

So if my first impressions are corrects, your actual research results are developped above ARToolkit. It can be adapted to JAVA and/or Lingo in order to avoid being constrained by libVRML. It can allow us to take benefit of some other open source projects like Xj3D and it gives a chance for us to make a possible interesting contribution to them as well.

The link ARToolkit<->openVRML as well as code adaptation (to JAVA or Lingo) of your researches can be ensured on your side (by you or a student). Then, whatever the version of the final software will be used, the same research results can be shown. On our side, we can focus on the development of new tools (Xj3D+jARToolkit, rhizoreality, Max/MSP, etc...), both contributors taking advantage one from each other.

This reflection is just a set of proposals we can discuss about next week during a meeting. I do not made a precise evaluation of all technologies I have mentionned in this mail yet, so everything stays open for the moment.

scenario_dev-soft_s2.jpg scenario_dev-soft_s1.jpg
Download the scenario for AR Software development, a4 size (140k): View image

Posted by patrick keller at 17:31 | Comments (2)

13. 07. 2005  17:29 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Propositions de Cloches

Toujours dans une perspective d'intervention dans un espace (chambre d'hôtel) et dans laquelle nous utilisons la R.M., voilà une proposition dans laquelle toutes les cloches seraient suspendues, on trouve 4 types de cloches:


Les cloches sont évidemment déclinables:suspension, mural & s/pieds

Concernant la matière, une analogie au "miroirs" de surveillance pourrait être intéressant. dans le cas de camera, nos cloches ne sont pas si éloignée que ça....de plus la brillance peux apporter un effet visuel intéressant et favorise la diffusion de la lumière...

A l'image des lunettes d'astrologie... un écran est monté directement à l'arrière d'une cloche...

Des versions plus simples et autonomes sont envisageables.
Jeu, informations, etc...

Posted by adrien.rovero at 17:29

13. 07. 2005  15:47 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Caméra surveillance

Par rapport aux élements urbains technologiques...
Nous avons parlé des caméras de surveillance, voici une manière de les présenter.

Posted by adrien.rovero at 15:47

13. 07. 2005  15:02 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Cloches à sons

Voici les images des «cloches à sons » dont nous parlait Patrick ainsi qu’un lien sur le site du revendeur. Lorsqu’on se trouve dessous, le son est clairement audible. Une fois éloigné on ne l’entend plus. La cloche peut être suffisamment haute pour entendre le son, cette hauteur renfonrce l’aspect étrange du son.
Doug Aitken a présenté une installation qui fonctionnait sur un principe semblable à Art Unlimited cette année.
Une autre référence : L’audioLab

“The « Audiolab » is a commission for a specific kind of support. The question was quite simple: how best to allow people to hear sound-works in public spaces, particularly in art centres? Our answer was to construct a light roof from which the sound falls like rain. The ‘fridge’ on the side contain
s, both symbolically and practically, the machines that reassure us about the real source of the sound. The roofs contain speakers specifically designed for this particular configuration. The listener isn’t imprisoned under this rain. The gaze slips away, distracting the eye and keeping the ear alert.

Extracts from the book “ Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec” released by Phaidon in 2003.





Posted by adrien.rovero at 15:02

12. 07. 2005  18:42 | 11_Undergraduate_works , 12_Curated_posts

Environnements mobiles augmentés

*Environnements mobiles augmentés* est un projet de semestre avec des étudiants de 2ème année en communication visuelle de l'ECAL.

Contexte: Dans les laboratoires de recherche de l'EPFL, on expérimente de nouvelles interfaces qui mêlent espaces physiques et électroniques. Ces interfaces permettent en particulier d'intégrer des objets numériques 3D dans un environnement réel par le biais de signes graphiques prédéfinis. Ces signes peuvent préexister ou être disposés dans l’espace, sur des objets, dans les pages d’un livre, etc. Le lieu, les signes qui s’y trouvent et les objets numériques forment ainsi une nouvelle réalité: mixte. Dès lors, de nouvelles possibilités de lier une information électronique à un lieu ou un objet émergent, par exemple d'associer un contenu dynamique à un espace donné (environnements de travail, lieux culturels, espaces de loisir, etc.).

Projet: Par groupes de 3 les étudiants ont conçu leur environnement mobile augmenté. Ils ont exploré les possibilités d’extension électronique de leurs objets mobiles (contenu de sac à dos, sac à main, poches, etc.), puis défini une famille de signes associés à ces objets et créé le contenu électronique 3D liés à ces signes.

Télécharger la donnée (format PDF)


Technologie de réalité mixte développée à l'EPFL

Ce projet est bénéficie de la collaboration de David Marimon du laboratoire EPFL-LTS

Pour tout complément d'information concernant ce projet: christophe.guignard@ecal.ch

Posted by christophe at 18:42

12. 07. 2005  16:36 | 11_Undergraduate_works , 12_Curated_posts

Cosmo Lab

Projet: *Environnements mobiles augmentés*
Etudiants: Tonatiuh Ambrosetti, Noémie Demal, Siméon Reymond
Concept: Un système de réalité mixte est proposé par la Cosmo Entreprise à tous ses employés. Il s’agit de préserver un espace de travail neutre, tout en offrant la possibilité à l’employé d’investir ce lieu de façon tout à fait privée, et invisible aux yeux de ses collaborateurs ou superviseveurs.
Un certain nombre de signes standards, inclus dans chaque espace de travail, pourra être associé à une banque d’images propre à chaque employé. Ainsi lorsque l’un de ces signes, standards, entrera dans votre champ de vision, une image, personnelle, correspondante apparaîtra.
En effet, le système propose d’atténuer les tensions au sein du bureau, en incorporant un univers propre à chacun de façon tout à fait invisible aux yeux des autres.
Pour ce faire, vous devez vous rendre au bureau du personnel, munis de votre banque d’images, au format gif. Un informaticien se tient à votre disposition pour associer les signes standards à
vos images personnelles. Celui-ci est bien entendu tenu par une charte de confidentialité; aucune information ne sera ainsi divulguée.
Néanmoins, le bureau se garde le droit de contrôle et de sanction, si des images à statut répréhensible par le code pénal étaient présentées.






Télécharger la plaquette de présentation de Cosmo Lab (format PDF)

Posted by christophe at 16:36

12. 07. 2005  15:51 | 11_Undergraduate_works , 12_Curated_posts

Augmented street skating

Projet: *Mobile Game*
Etudiants: Valentin Kissling
Concept: Augmented street skating




Posted by christophe at 15:51

12. 07. 2005  15:26 | 11_Undergraduate_works , 12_Curated_posts

Escape Saver

Projet: *Environnements mobiles augmentés*
Etudiants: Sarah Buchilly, Lucia Calviño, Emilie Cornu
Concept: Escape Saver vous permet d'organiser votre espace de travail et vous aide à communiquer avec vos amis lors de vos absences via une webcam qui filme en permanence votre espace de travail. Lorsque vous quittez votre place de travail, Escape Saver s'active: selon les objets manquants sur votre table, Escape Saver envoie aux personnes connectées au système les informations qui leur sont associées sous formes d'images ou d'objets 3D. Ainsi vos amis distants peuvent se faire une idée de vos activités, lorsque vous emporter tel ou tel objet. Escape Saver fonctionne comme un "screen saver" spatial.







Posted by christophe at 15:26

12. 07. 2005  12:25 | 11_Undergraduate_works , 12_Curated_posts


Projet: *Environnements mobiles augmentés*
Etudiants: Maud Fässler, Lyne Friedrich, David Stettler
Concept: Ragorama ou le panorama augmenté
Notre objet est la longue-vue que l’on trouve dans les villes à caractère touristique. Ces longues vues n’apportent pas énormément
à notre vision du panorama. Elles ne font que zoomer et ne donnent
aucune information pratique ou historique.
Nous avons décidé d’amener l’animation de la ville sur le haut des
bâtiments. Puisque le spectateur ne peut pas voir la rue, il peut en
avoir des bribes. Grâce à l’interaction du réel et du virtuel, on plonge dans un univers parallèle. Le jeu qui se crée aléatoirement entre questions,réponses et visages permet au spectateur de se construire une narration, jamais la même, entre le ragot et l’absurde.


Posted by christophe at 12:25

12. 07. 2005  12:00 | 11_Undergraduate_works , 12_Curated_posts

Hotel Montesano

Projet: *Mobile Game*
Etudiants: Mathias Forbach, Gaël Vuillens
Concept: Création de fictions à partir d'un jeu de photographies d'un hôtel abandonné. Les séquences d'images et leur position sur le tabelau de jeu créent un récit inédit lors de chaque partie.






Posted by christophe at 12:00

12. 07. 2005  11:46 | 11_Undergraduate_works , 12_Curated_posts

Livre générique

Projet: *Environnements mobiles augmentés*
Etudiants: Nazareno Crea, Erol Gemma, Florence Tétier
Concept: Livre générique







Posted by christophe at 11:46

06. 07. 2005  16:40 | 04_Workshop_1 , 09_EPFL , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

EPFL - STI - Signal Processing Institute

The Signal Processing Institute of the EPFL (Swiss federal Institute of Technology), Prof. Touradj Ebrahimi and Phd student David Marimon Sanjuan are partners of the Ra&D project Variable environment/.
The Institute belongs to the "Sciences et Techniques de l'ingénieur" faculty.

David Marimon's PHD research is about an EPFL's extension (vision and signal processing) to the open source software AR Toolkit. The software they are working on is therefore dedicated to Augmented Reality.

Check out a description about their technology HERE.

Posted by patrick keller at 16:40

06. 07. 2005  16:35 | 04_Workshop_1 , 08_ECAL , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

ECAL - CV - Media & Interaction Design

The Media & Interaction Design Unit of the Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL) is the major partner from the Ecal's side. It belongs to the Visual Communication Department. Head of the unit is Alain Bellet.
Within the department's teachers, Christophe Guignard and myself (Patrick Keller), as well as Angelo Benedetto (that is also in charge of the Visual Communication Dpt) are involved.
Bram Dauw, a former MID student now graduated will work as assistant on the project.

Posted by patrick keller at 16:35

06. 07. 2005  12:51 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_1 , 04_Workshop_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Work in progress - Workshop 13-17.06.05

Le workshop gravite essentiellement autour de la prise en main et la proposition de projets autour du/pour le logiciel de réalité augmentée développé par l'EPFL. Il fait également suite à une première période de "brainstorming" où différentes questions ou projets et scénarios ont été évoqués (voir la section References & Start du blog).
Le choix a été fait les les trois assistants du projet de travailler autour de la thématique de la chambre d'hôtel.

Réalisation d'une maquette représentant le lieu, la chambre.
La pièce regroupant plusieurs fonctions différentes.


A gauche, le mur serait une tapisserie créée avec des signes reconnaissables par un téléphone mobile et qui donnerait des indications pratiques en rapport avec l'hôtel (menu du jour, numéro d'urgence) et le lieu (horaires bus, musée etc.)
A droite, une projection pour tout ce qui concerne les loisirs et les événements au sein de la chambre (jeux, cinéma, animation, ambiance etc.)

Sans titre-1.jpeg
Chaque objet de la chambre (lit, aire de jeux, bureau) est filmé par une caméra pendu à un câble, filmant depuis le haut.
La forme de l'objet montre la couverture de la surface que peut analyser la caméra.

DSCN0115 copier.jpeg

Dans la pièce se trouve une petite aire de jeux créé avec des signes modulables, selon l'emplacement de ces signes, le jeu serait différent. Ici le jeu est un puzzle.
Chaque face du cube possède une pièce du puzzle que l'on ne voit que avec la réalité augmentée sur la projection.
Les jeux ne sont donc utilisables qu'avec la projection sur le mur.


Ici, une table et un objet à pour effet de créer un signe précis détectable pour la caméra. Par exemple, si rien n'est sur la table, rien ne se produira. Si quelqu'un intervient en posant un objet sur cette table, elle va agir sur l'environnement ou/et provoquer une action.

Posted by |BRAM| at 12:51

05. 07. 2005  10:05 | 03_Sketches_&_Projects_1 , 04_Workshop_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Workshop's result: 'AR' Chambre d'hôtel

Concernant le projet de chambre d'hôtel sur lequel nous avions travaillé durant le workshop de juin, je voulais apporter une ou deux précision concernant le tapis de jeu et le papier peint.
Le tapis de jeu, destiné principalement aux enfants, est composé de 16 éléments modulables qui permettent de créer plusieures surfaces de jeu différentes. Chacune d'entre elle fait office de marqueur et permet de "générer" un jeu différent (le puzzle par exemple), auquel on joue à l'aide de six gros dés dont les faces sont également dotées de marqueurs :


tapis petit.jpg


Concernant la tapisserie, nous avons esquissé quelques pistes/idées. Tout d'abord un papier peint blanc sur lequel se trouve des motifs que l'on peut soi-même colorier afin d'en faire des marqueurs. Des petites marques (traitillés ou points) sont là pour aider l'utilisateur à dessiner des carrés réguliers autour du motif choisi :


Nous avons imaginé d'autres exemples de papiers peints où les marqueurs sont, cette fois, integrés à l'ensemble.


tapisserie menu.jpg

Dans l'exemple ci-dessus, les marqueurs sont placée parmi une série de lignes.
L'idée, avec ce papier peint, était d'avoir une série d'informations relatives à l'hôtel (menu du jour, prix des chambres, sortie de secours, etc...) que l'on peut voir apparaître à l'aide de son téléphone portable. On peut très bien imaginer aussi que certains voyageurs viennent intervenir directement sur le mur à l'aide de stylos afin d'y laisser des messages.

Dans l'exemple suivant, les marqueurs sont également integrés à la tapisserie mais se perdent un peu dans l'abondance des autres motifs. D'ailleurs certains marqueurs ne fonctionnent pas car ils sont cachés par les illustrations :


Posted by tatiana at 10:05

04. 07. 2005  23:39 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Magic cubes


J'ai trouvé sur le site "mixed reality lab" de l'université de singapour une application intéressante de l'idée des cubes dont chaque face est dotée d'un marqueur :

Le site présente également d'autres projets de recherches dont certains assez drôles comme le "poultry internet" :

Posted by tatiana at 23:39

21. 06. 2005  15:55 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Visual Markers for camera / Related technologies

Following Bram's post, there are several technologies where visual markers for mobile camera (the target is the phone camera obviously) are involved. I mention here the most known. In the following cases, the purpose is to tag the real environment (objects, space, buildings, etc.) with digital and dynamic content.
The ARToolkit has a poor visual language but is the only one where mixed or augmented reality (i its traditional sense as i think that mixed reality is far more than 3d digital content on top of real world) is involved so far, so has the other ones who look rather like bar codes. They are all context related but semacode and spotcode add interactivity.
marker_artoolkit.jpg ARTOOLKIT
marker_mrohs.jpg VISUAL CODES (ETHZ)
marker_qrcode.jpg QR CODE
marker_semacode.jpg SEMACODE
marker_spotcode.jpg SPOTCODE

(Thanks Enrico Costanza & Christian Babski for these informations)

Posted by patrick keller at 15:55

16. 06. 2005  11:52 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 12_Curated_posts

Instant Labeling Tape


Hannes Koch (RCA 2004) a conçu son «Instant Labeling Tape» en tant que système de signalétique simple, à faire soi-même. La seule chose nécessaire est un stylo permanent noir. Pour créer ses propres signes, étiquettes et installations provisoires, il suffit de remplir, sur la bande, les éléments d'une police d'affichage (display), composée de 14 segments.


Posted by angelo at 11:52

14. 06. 2005  16:18 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 06_Comments , 12_Curated_posts


En passant et en rapport au *kit personnel* ou à la *boîte de souvenirs*:
Le film Memento, au cas où vous ne l'auriez pas déjà vu.
Rien à voir ici avec de la technologie, mais le *héros* souffre de "perte de mémoire courte" et écrit tout ce qu'il vit et découvre sur l'intrigue qu'il cherche à résoudre à même le corps, au feutre indélébile. A la fois parce que ses souvenirs sont précieux pour lui mais parce qu'il doit pouvoir y accéder à tout moment.
On pourrait imaginer qqchose par rapport aux habits pour ce qui est
souvenirs ou images précieuses et intimes. Qqchose proche du corps,
accessible en tout temps (marqueurs broderies, écussons ou patterns à
coudre, big pins, etc.). Donc plutôt une customisation d'habits existants.
Des habits qu'on peut aussi ensuite poser dans sa chambre d'hotel, sur une chaise.


Posted by |BRAM| at 16:18

10. 06. 2005  17:06 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 12_Curated_posts

Lausanne - Zürich - Lausanne: train & hotel situation


Posted by patrick keller at 17:06

20. 05. 2005  16:26 | 01_Mobility_&_Mashup_Situations , 12_Curated_posts

My mobility/ Mishmash mobile environments based upon different objects and interfaces, today situation


Posted by patrick keller at 16:26

19. 05. 2005  14:40 | 00_References_&_Start , 12_Curated_posts

Walking city / Grösser raum - 60ies "mobile environment" utopia


Posted by patrick keller at 14:40

18. 05. 2005  10:49 | 00_References_&_Start , 12_Curated_posts

ARCHIGRAM, Architecture without Architecture


Posted by patrick keller at 10:49

17. 05. 2005  15:36 | 00_References_&_Start , 12_Curated_posts

Vitra - Living in motion


Posted by patrick keller at 15:36

15. 05. 2005  12:11 | 02_Project_Links_&_Ressources_1 , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts , 14_Reblogs_Publications_Expos

A text/ Publication about the project in Traçés

A first publication written by Christophe Guignard and I in september 2004 that was published in Traçés. The text spoke about the collaboration between ECAL and EPFL and about the general concepts for this specific and first research project together (Variable environment/ interaction city and crossovers).
variable1.jpg variable1.jpg
Download the pdf of the text

Posted by patrick keller at 12:11

14. 05. 2005  17:06 | 08_ECAL , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

ECAL - Industrial & Product Design

The Industrial & Product Design Department from ECAL will be involved in a lighter way depending on the needs and direction of the project(s). But as the overall project is quite transversal, micro-spatialities and objects will be part of it.
Head of the department: Alexis Georgacopoulos.
Assistants on the project: Adrien Rovero (until mid july) and Aude Genton (both graduated from ECAL in Industrial & Product Design).

Posted by patrick keller at 17:06

14. 05. 2005  16:48 | 08_ECAL , 10_Partners , 12_Curated_posts

ECAL- Visual Communication

The Visual Communication Department from ECAL is also involved in a general way through the presence in the project of Angelo Benedetto, the Department's coordinator.
He will redirect questions or needs to other Visual Communication's Units (Graphic Design, Photography, Cinema) if necessary.
Assistant for the Ra&D project: Tatiana Rihs (graduated from ECAL in Graphic Design. Actually doing a master).

Posted by patrick keller at 16:48

12. 05. 2005  14:15 | 00_References_&_Start , 12_Curated_posts


During the research project, we will also follow the posts (or newsletters) of the following weblogs as well as review past blogged projects from the domain or technology we are interested into:

Posted by patrick keller at 14:15

12. 05. 2005  11:03 | 00_References_&_Start , 12_Curated_posts


A set of books, works, publications and essays are sourrounding the start of our work with the *variable environment* or the *mobile environment* theme. Those references are not necessarily close to our subject at all time, but in any case, they inspire us on a certain angle (theory, design --interaction, visual, objects--, space or micro-space).
As you will notice, these references are quite eclectic: it underlines the fact that our approach is quite transversal (linking the work of designers --interaction, visual, objects--, architects, scientists), rhizomatic and post-modern rather than disciplinary. There is also a lack of good documentation about mobile (media) environments at the time we start this project.
The books seen on this picture and that serves us as references are (without any specific order):
__O. Eliasson, Sourroundings Surrounded. Essays on space and science, The MIT Press, Cambridge USA, 2001
__B. Mau, Massive change, Phaidon, New- York, 2004
__E. Sadin, éc/artS #3, éc/artS, Orléans, 2003
__I. Borden, Skateboarding, space and the city, Berg, New-York, 2001
__L. Orta, Process of transformation, Jean-Michel Place, Paris 1998
__R. & E. Bouroullec, R. & E. Bouroullec, Phaidon, New-York, 2003
__J. Cardiff, The missing voice, Artangel, London, 1999
__C. Nicolai, Auto Pilot, Raster Noton, Berlin, 2002
__T. Dunne & F. Raby, Design Noir, the secret life of electronic objects, Birkhäuser, Basel, 2001
__M. Serres, Hominescence, Le Pommier, Paris, 2001
__J. E. Katz & M. Aakhuis, Perpetual Contact, Cambridge UK, 2002
__S. Topham, Move House, Prestel, Munich, 2004
__Norm, The Things, Norm, Zürich, 2002
__S. Sadler, ARCHIGRAM, Architecture without Architecture, The MIT Press, Cambridge USA, 2005
__Vitra, Airworld, Vitra Design Museum, Weil-am-Rhein, 2004
__D. Rouillard, Superarchitecture, La Villette, Paris, 2004
__Vitra, Living in motion, Vitra design Museum, weil-am-Rhein, 2004
__Makrolab, Makrolab: North 056° 48' 182'', West 003° 58' 299'', Elevation 1276ft, The Arts catalyst, Liverpool, 2003
__O. Eliasson, Your Lighthouse, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 2004
__fabric | ch, fabric 7 ch, Pro Helvetia, Zürich, 2004
__Avenir suisse, Urbanscape Switzerland, Birkhäuser, Basel, 2004
__Décosterd et Rahm, Distortions, HYX, Paris, 2005
__F. Raby, Project #26765 - Flirt: flexible information and recreation for mobile users, RCA, London, 2001
__E. Sadin, Poésie Atomique, éc/artS, Orléans, 2004
__J. Thackara, In the bubble, designing in a complex world, MIT Press, Cambridge USA, 2005
__W. Maas, Five minute city, Architecture and [Im]mobility, Episode, Rotterdam, 2003
__Décosterd et Rahm, Architecture physiologique, Birkhäuser, Basel, 2002
__S. Graham, The cybercities reader, Routledge, London, 2004
__W. J. Mitchell, e-topia, The MIT Press, Cambridge USA, 1999
__W. J. Mitchell, City of bits, THE MIT Press, Cambridge USA, 1995
__D. Schenk, Data Smog, Harper, San Francisco, 1998
__R. C. Rutsky, High Techné, UM Press, Minneapolis, 1999
__S. Wilson, Information arts, intersection of art, science and technology, The MIT Press, Cambridge 2002
__T. Blume & G. Langenbrick, DOT.CITY, Relational urbanism and new media, Bauhaus, Dessau, 2004

Posted by patrick keller at 11:03

10. 05. 2005  18:17 | 00_References_&_Start , 05_Documentation_of_process , 12_Curated_posts

Variable environment/

Un premier texte rédigé en septembre 2004 par Christophe Guignard et moi-même (Patrick Keller) pour la HES-SO (Centre Compétence Design). Le texte traite du projet *Variable environment/...* et de ses objectifs dans ses grandes lignes, à la fois comme projet et comme processus de projet (unifiant les démarches des designers de l'Ecal et des scientifiques de l'EPFL).
Il souligne que nous attendons des résultats aussi bien au niveau du travail de projet que du travail de recherche scientifique, mais que la collaboration transversale (design - sciences) est ici également un des enjeux du travail de recherche.
A noter que le texte est organisé selon le diagramme de questions de la HES-SO.


Ra &D

_______________________________00 Equipe
_______________________________01 Quel est le problème?
_______________________________02 Pourquoi faut-il absolument résoudre ce problème?
_______________________________03 Pourquoi la HES-SO doit-elle résoudre ce problème?
_______________________________04 Quels sont les objectifs principaux du projet?
_______________________________05 En quoi les résultats obtenus vont-ils être utiles à l'école, établissement, centre de compétences /institut/ groupe de compétences et à la formation dispensée par la HES-SO?
_______________________________06 En quoi votre contribution se distingue-t-elle de l'état de l'art?
_______________________________07 Quelles sont les étapes de votre projet?
_______________________________08 Quels sont les délivrables et quand ces éléments vont-ils être remis?
_______________________________09 La HES-SO dispose-t-elle des équipements nécessaires pour réaliser ce projet?
_______________________________10 Bibliographie

Chef de projet: Pierre Keller – epfl + ecal
Professeur écal: Patrick Keller/Christophe Guignard -- cv-mid
Professeur écal: Angelo Benedetto -- cv / cv-mid
Professeur écal: Alexis Georgacopoulos –- di
Professeur écal: Luc Bergeron -- ra&d / di
Assistant écal 1: Media & Interaction design
Assistant écal 2: Design graphique
Assistant écal 3: Design industriel et de produits
Intervenant: Dr. Christian Babski (fabric | ch)
Collaboration polytechnique:
EPFL, Faculté STI
EPFL, Faculté I&C
EPFL, Faculté ENAC
(information non divulguée).


L'espace contemporain pose aujourd'hui de nombreuses questions, parce qu'il est devenu un média central, composite et transversal, parce qu'il a subi de fortes mutations au cours des trente dernières années et parce qu'il réunit autour de sa fabrication de nouveaux acteurs, associés aux anciens, qui doivent désormais apprendre à travailler ensemble.

Si l'on essaie de résumer simplement ce qui est arrivé, on peut affirmer qu'à la ville matérielle et visuelle, celle des murs, des routes, des édifices, des panneaux publicitaires, des néons et des signalétiques (la ville telle que nous l'avons connue jusqu'au milieu des années 1980), s'est ajoutée la ville non matérielle et distribuée (les ondes, les réseaux, les données et les flux, les images digitales, les caméras et portiques de surveillance, les environnements simulés, les collisions de fuseaux horaires, l'écrasement des distances, la mobilité, etc.).
Les transformations observées ont été en partie la conséquence de l'introduction de nouvelles technologies dans la société (fruit d'un développement préalable plus ou moins long en laboratoire scientifique), puis pour certaines d'entre elles de leur acceptation, de la définition par les utilisateurs de nouveaux usages et comportements, suivies par leur emploi massif.

Une majeure partie des transformations observées aujourd'hui sont à mettre au compte de l'utilisation des technologies de l'information (ordinateurs, portables, forte augmentation des capacités de calcul et de traitement des données, bases de données relationnelles, numérisation des médias, intelligences artificielles, traitement du signal, réalités virtuelles, …) et des technologies de la communication (télécommunications et communication mobile, réseaux, protocoles, satellites, communication audiovisuelle, …). Ces technologies, initialement incarnées dans des machines statiques accompagnées de leur écran spécifique, se diluent aujourd'hui de plus en plus dans l'environnement pour devenir mobiles, se dupliquer ou apparaître dans d'autres objets, dans l'espace urbain, chez soi, configurables, dans l'air et dans la matière, … (ambient computing). A travers leur usage, l'environnement et la ville sont devenus variables, offrant de nouvelles fonctionnalités et oscillant entre différents états: visible et/ou invisible, matériel et/ou immatériel, localisé et/ou distribué, unique et/ou ubiquiste.

De par l'unicité de leur format de données (numérique), ces nouvelles technologies ont établis une base commune entre des médias et des disciplines qui jusqu'alors étaient totalement séparés. Elles ont ouvert la porte à toutes les permutations et hybridations de domaines, permis tous les "cross-overs". Pour le meilleur et parfois, aussi, pour le pire.

Pour répondre aux enjeux nouveaux que pose l'espace contemporain (désormais donc lié à ces technologies et ces médias), de nouvelles collaborations devenues "naturelles" devraient être à l'œuvre: architectes, scientifiques, designers en media & interaction, designers graphiques et designers d'objets travaillant en équipe autour de projets communs et d'objectifs partagés.

De ces collaborations et de l'ouverture vers cette forte transversalité (designers visuels, d'objet et de produits, architectes et scientifiques) devraient naître des savoirs et des pratiques renouvelés. Or, mis à part quelques initiatives qui restent encore isolées, chacun continue pour l'instant à travailler de son côté. Ceci est le premier problème soulevé par cette situation nouvelle auquel nous cherchons à apporter une réponse.

Ces technologies dont nous parlons désormais tant ont été conceptualisées et développées en laboratoire depuis vingt ans environ, développées avec une approche essentiellement scientifique. Mais que se passe-t-il aujourd'hui dans les laboratoires de recherche des grandes écoles polytechnique et universités (p.ex. sous l'appellation "Converging Technologies (CT)", la convergence entre les technologies de l'information, les biotechnologies, la nanotechnologie et les sciences cognitives fait partie des axes de recherches principaux de la Communauté européenne pour la première partie du XXIème siècle)? Cette collaboration que nous évoquons n'aurait-elle pas pu ou dû être anticipée? Si elle avait existé, aurait-elle influencé le cours du développement de la dite technologie, pour peut-être induire d'autres usages, d'autres produits?

Si nous considérons que la science est devenue un vecteur prépondérant (avec d'autres) dans la transformation de notre société contemporaine, que les recherches atteignent celle-ci de plus en plus rapidement, cette collaboration ne doit elle pas déjà avoir lieu en amont, directement dans les laboratoires? De façon à anticiper les besoins, agir sur leur formation tout en faisant valoir un point de vue différencié. Le design ne doit-il pas devenir prospectif? Ceci est le deuxième problème soulevé auquel nous cherchons à apporter une réponse.

Le projet que nous présentons se situe dans le contexte d'une collaboration annoncée en décembre 2003 entre l'ECAL et l'EPFL. Il fait donc intégralement partie de la stratégie Ra&D de l'école visant à faire collaborer des designers et des scientifiques autour de projets de recherche communs, ceci en vue d'élaborer ensemble de nouveaux modes de travail et artefacts pour la société de demain.

De par la nature du sujet et la valeur des intervenants, le projet se situe d'emblée dans un contexte international où il cherche à positionner la formation suisse du design, de l'architecture et des sciences à la pointe de l'innovation et de l'expérimentation.

Il est capital de faire évoluer la formation du design vers des enjeux nouveaux et fortement transversaux, ceci sans aucunement renoncer aux objectifs de spécialité. La vocation de ce projet est donc d'être une étape dans la mise sur pied d'un cursus d'enseignement commun entre l'EPFL et l'ECAL, qui réunira designers, architectes et ingénieurs. Dans le contexte de *Variable environment/ interaction city & crossovers*, il s'articule essentiellement autour de la collaboration entre l'unité Media & Interaction Design (MID) de l'ECAL et les facultés ou sections Sciences et Techniques de l'Ingénieur (STI), Informatique et Communication (I&C) et Architecture (SAR), toutes trois de l'EPFL. Mais il intègre également clairement le Design d'objets ou de produits (DI, travail sur l'objet et les micros spatialités dans le cadre du projet) et le Design graphique (DG, travail autour de la signalétique), toutes deux de l'Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne.

L'ECAL travaille depuis plus d'une année maintenant à l'élaboration de ce programme commun avec l'EPFL, dont l'objectif est de combiner la créativité scientifique à la créativité en design. Ce programme, que nous avons temporairement nommé *Prospective design, space & interaction* est une occasion unique pour l'enseignement du Design en Suisse ainsi qu'en Europe. Le soutient et la future implication de certains professeurs partenaires dans le projet, sous la forme de workshops, atteste de son importance (Royal College of Art, Architectural Association, MIT MediaLab Europe, Harvard University).

Ce projet de recherche permettra d'acquérir un savoir précieux dans l'optique de la mise sur pied d'un tel cursus d'enseignement commun. Il en est même un passage nécessaire, mené en parallèle à d'autres initiatives.

Le projet ECAL-EPFL s'inscrit à l'intérieur d'axes de recherche définis il y a deux ans (Spatialité mixtes et/ou virtuelles, Mobile computing & networks, Locative & tangible media, Environmental design) mais il s'ouvre aux questions plus larges touchant à la formation de pointe en Suisse.

Trois enjeux ont été mentionnés au début de ce document:
_ l'espace contemporain, qui demande des groupes de compétences et une approche renouvelés.
_ la collaboration entre disciplines qui jusqu'ici restaient sectorisées (enseignement en Suisse).
_ l'intervention plus précoce des designers dans les processus d'élaboration de technologies ou de projets et la collaboration design-sciences.

Autour du sujet *Variable environment/ interaction city & crossovers* et du projet concret qui va être élaboré, l'ensemble de ces thématiques seront abordées et expérimentées.

Dans la continuité du développement d'une technologie aujourd'hui en cours d'élaboration à l'EPFL et qui permet le mélange de manière instantanée d'"images virtuelles" générées par ordinateur et d'images d'environnements réels grâce à la reconnaissance par caméra d'une signalétique spécifique (principe de réalité augmentée), notre projet visera différents objectifs précis (scientifiques et artistiques):
_ Mise en place d'un contenu exploitant les fonctionnalités de la technologie développée par le laboratoire de l'EPFL dans un espace urbain public. Hybridation entre ville matérielle et non matérielle, extension de l'une par l'autre et contenus géo-localisés. Visibilité et tangibilité de la ville non matérielle.
_ Développement de la technologie (EPFL) en interaction avec le design (ECAL) et vice-versa. Les enjeux sont ici nombreux et touchent à des questions de réseaux, d'utilisateurs multiples, de création et gestion dynamique de contenus 2d et 3d, de géo-localisation, de reconnaissance d'image par caméra, de périphériques, …
_ Développement de la signalétique propre à cette réalité mixte. Extension des fonctionnalités vers d'autres utilisations potentielles (p.ex. reconnaissance par caméra de type code-barre).
_ Développement simplifié d'un périphérique de type "wearable computer" servant à visualiser le projet tout en se déplaçant dans l'espace. Il s'agira surtout ici d'un "packaging" et de l'assemblage logique de machines ou d'outils déjà existants.
_ Développement éventuel d'un système de visualisation ("see-through glasses").
_ Collaboration de différents partenaires (media & interaction designers, designers graphiques, designers d'objets, architectes, ingénieurs) sous la responsabilité d'un chef de projet, d'un responsable de création et de responsables de domaines.
_ Mise en place d'un réseau de partenaires internationaux autour du projet ECAL-EPFL.
_ Valorisation des résultats obtenus auprès de partenaires de l'économie (fort potentiel).

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Le projet proposé, qui travaille sur un principe de réalité mixte (ou réalité augmentée) et de contenus géo-localisés à l'échelle urbaine, en combinant les savoirs des architectes, des designers en médias & interactions, des graphistes et des scientifiques n'a à notre connaissance pas d'équivalent à l'échelle internationale. Nous sommes ici dans la nouveauté au niveau de la mise en commun de compétences larges autour de technologies et de savoirs pointus.

Par contre, de nombreux laboratoires autour du globe s'occupent de développer des technologies pour la réalité mixte, mais l'approche est presque exclusivement scientifique et à forte orientation fonctionnelle. Le développement de cette technologie est en cours depuis une dizaine d'années mais ne peut pas atteindre encore le grand public en raison de l'actuelle absence d'outils de visualisation adaptés et distribuables à large échelle.

On peut toutefois raisonnablement imaginer que d'ici cinq ans, de nombreux petits ordinateurs portables auront vu le jour qui devraient avoir la capacité de calcul nécessaire pour permettre l'accès à ce type de technologies ou de projet (futures consoles de jeu portables de type Gameboy advance DS ou Playstation mobile, PDA et Palm divers, téléphones portables qui intègrent déjà caméras et vidéos, mini ordinateurs portables, etc.). Ceci ouvrira alors la porte à l'utilisation à très large échelle du principe de réalité mixte.

En Suisse, deux initiatives de ce type ont eu lieu dans les écoles d'art ou de design: à la HGKB et à l'ECAL.
Le projet de recherche HES "Living room" réalisé à Bâle, bien que de nature similaire, n'a pas la même approche ni la même ambition. Il a essentiellement amené à la réalisation d'une technologie mais a fourni peu de propositions de contenus, ces derniers étant de plus limités à un environnement spatial entièrement prévu à cet effet. A l'ECAL, le projet réalisé durant le deuxième semestre 03-04 était également un peu moins ambitieux puisqu'il a vu collaborer des étudiants de deuxième année CV avec un chercheur de l'EPFL (toujours autour des questions posées par la réalité mixte). Mais l'objectif de cet exercice de semestre est de réaliser une première collaboration entre ECAL et EPFL ainsi que d'être une approche initiale pour ce projet de recherche.
Mentionnons également en Suisse le programme "Artists in labs" qui vise à la collaboration d'artistes et de scientifiques sous la forme de résidences en laboratoires, mais qui n'a pas de lien avec l'enseignement dans les écoles d'art et de design.

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Posted by patrick keller at 18:17