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Emergence and Navigating...
Emerson Taymor (M, 32)
San Francisco, US
Immortal since Jan 9, 2008
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3
I am a Design|Media Arts major at UCLA minoring in Global Studies. I am an amateur magician and gastronomic.
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    etaymor’s project
    Emergence and Navigating...
    Develop a generative, emergent process to fill space (2D or 3D) using only black lines. Modify a known process or invent your own. Implement your...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    ——Continued from previous post by Ben—

    For the past one and a half months, Ben and myself have been toiling away on our multi-touch table. When we first set out on the journey, we did not anticipate the magnitude of the project and the number of issues that we would run into. From figuring out the electronic setup, to the physical table, to the projection, compliant surfaces, computer setup and software interfacing, for every step forward there was another hill to climb. However, we were able too persevere through our problems and ended up with what we think is a very successful piece.

    To recap our project, Ben and I created a multi-touch table that is interfaced through software. The goal of this project was that it would not just end with this class. We are hoping that the project continues to exist in the Design | Media Arts Department at UCLA and other students may design their own software for the table. We believe that the future of technology and interaction lies in the multi-touch world. With the Apple iPhone setting off a huge sensation in the technology and consumer world, the world is slowly moving in that direction. Multi-Touch allows the sense of tactile interfacing, allowing users to actually feel like they are taking more part in using their technology. Also, multi-touch computing could certainly alleviate medical problems with overusing the mouse and keyboard, which has been linked to carpel tunnel syndrome.

    Our table is based on Frustrated Total Internal Reflection which is a process created by Professor Jeff Han at NYU. IR leds are in an aluminum rail around a sheet of acrylic. The leds scatter light throughout the acrylic and when contact is made (in our cases a finger), the light is reflected off the finger down. Below the table we have a webcam that has been hacked to sense IR light. The reflection off the finger in essence gives a bright blob. Using open source software, these sections of reflection are calibrated to be all that are read by the camera. The software also calibrates the screen to determine the location of the touches. These touches are then communicated to your software program. Programs can be written in Flash AS3, C++, and Processing.org. Software interfacing can also be done through the Reactivision Client (http://reactable.iua.upf.edu/?media).

    We feel that a lot of software could scale well with the new interface. Normal programs and gallery exhibitions could take on new dimensions. Multi-touch also has the benefit over normal touch environments that can only read one finger at one time. Much of the history of multi-touch is based on single-touch input (ATM, physical touch-activated lights, restaurant kiosks), but multi-touch allows you to take advantage of multiple inputs. Not only can one person use it with multiple fingers, but also multiple people can use the table at the same time!

    We hope that others can use our multi-touch table in the future and we can further continue to develop software for it. We have included pictures of our table in progress from the beginning up until the finished product. A video has also been posted of the table in use.

    This is a video of the configuration software without the background removed. It shows zero-force touch being read with great results from the webcam.










    Another view of the configuration software this time with the background removed. Now all you see are the touches being read with great contrast. Results in very good results for application building.










    A video of calibrating the system. This shows the raw camera video footage. This is to line up the touches with the position on screen.










    A video with an application running. This application is a bit processor intensive, as such you see a little lag. Ben noted this in his post. A faster web cam would definitely help solve this problem (FireWire cameras are probably the way to go), also a better Graphics Card may also improve performance. Still you can see the system is working pretty well.









    Sat, Mar 22, 2008  Permanent link

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    Emerson Taymor & Ben Perkins
    Experimentations in multi-touch environments

    Why? Benefits of touch (ways old software could scale to new
    interface, gallery exhibits could have a new dimension), see how well we
    can do it, explore possibilities of new interface

    and our "statement"

    To produce and build a large-format multi-touch interface. Multi-touch
    technology takes advantage of intuitive tactile motions and creates a
    more natural and efficient user experience. It opens up possibilities in
    providing a new medium for work and play.


    Images:
    History of touch products
    Precedents in experimentation by users
    Successful products
    Corporate prototypes
    Rough look of our piece
    More detailed technical information
    Basic functionality
    Basic visualization methods
    Advanced visualization methods
    Why and purpose

    Links of note:
    http://www.perceptivepixel.com/ - Huge developers of multi-touch interface. Amazing video of their work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqSwBVzeTMY - Microsoft playanwhere and bluetooth photosynch. More rudimentry Microsoft sketches

    http://labs.cynergysystems.com/Flash.html - Video of a project a man made in one day that shows advanced 3d interaction through the use of gloves and wiimore sensing

    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/ - Johnny Lee is the MASTER of the WII and interfacing with it. A collection of his projects and amazing work in the field.

    http://reactable.iua.upf.edu/?media - reactables. Incredible interfacing device using objects that are detected after being placed on table. Beautiful work and possibilities. Library in processing.

    http://cs.nyu.edu/~jhan/ftirtouch/ - A set of visualization methods using multitouch. Really awesome video showing a quick sample of each visualization. Shows range of possibilities.

    http://www.v3ga.net/processing/BlobDetection/ - Blob detection library. Key in reading data from our table.

    http://www.microsoft.com/surface/ - Microsoft Surface. Everyone knows it, is it the future?

    We believe the future of technology and interaction lies in the multitouch realm of the world. We hope our experimentations uncover experiences, or visualizations that we did not think were possible. We also would like to prove (to ourselves) that two college students on a very limited budget are able to produce a successful prototype of the future of digital interfacing technology. Ideally most programs would easily be portable over to the multi-touch environment, with minor tweaks.
    Mon, Feb 11, 2008  Permanent link

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    My final print was based on a grid of 70 images of outputs of my project. I produced over 250 high resolution iterations of the program, and did my best to narrow it down to some of my favorite images, and a slight range of images.

    What resulted is a piece that i am quite pleased with. As a recap, the piece is based on visualizing the Lorenz Attractor (a mathematical formula that is usually displayed with a few common constants). My program eliminated the commonly used constants and used random numbers instead. I also was able to trace the curve with an ellipse on a non-clearing background. The stroke color of the ellipse is based on the intersections it has. The curve visualization is complemented by ellipses that mark the points where the curve intersects with other curves in the environment (I am running 15 sets of variables per image, resulting in 15 different circles).

    Unfortunately, I was not able to figure out a different visualization for the intersections than the circles. I tried a number of things, but they did not look as visually appealing. I think the circles were sufficient, but there is always room for improvement and another visualization method could have been terrific in this regard.

    Mon, Feb 4, 2008  Permanent link

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    My project is based on the Lorenz attractor curve. Circles follow the basic math of the curve (although lots of random numbers are used for initial positioning and constants). In this version of the project the circles are drawn, although their stroke color is determined by the distance of the intersection of the circles. Also, small circles are drawn based on intersections.

    Here are some small images of the piece. The video is attached below, but the video compression really destroys the look of the piece.











    Direct Link to video, due to occasional loading difficulties.
    Mon, Jan 28, 2008  Permanent link

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    I have looked through so many images, websites, applets, etc, that I feel quite overwhelmed. I am definitely looking forward to jumping into the programming and running with where the wind takes me on this one.

    That being said, I will try to get some of the key points and images down here so I have a starting place.

    Key points to hit on

    • Attraction / Attractors

    • Intersections

    • Fractal image

    • Many different resulting images. Each process should hopefully be a unique experience/image




    Key sites of research
    I have gone through a lot of research in the realworld and online, but some of my critical areas of research that I think will help me create my finished project the most are:

    • complexification.net

    • levitated.net

    • Whitney Artport with REAS software structures

    • Shiffman's the Nature of Code

    • http://local.wasp.uwa.edu.au/~pbourke/fractals/


    These sites have a lot of useful examples, algorithms, etc that will assist me in my final design.


    Attraction/Attractors
    There are a number of attractors/attraction types that I have looked through (particular on the Shiffman and Bourke sites). I am really interested in using one or multiples of these to control the motion that allows me to create my final image.

    Intersections
    After going through a lot of work of other artists working on similar things, I saw many ways that the final image was produced. Some people used the actual shape or object and just kept it throughout. Other times, the artist used the path of the motion, and yet other times they just showed the intersections of the lines. Although, I may definitely consider using the path of the object (I don't want to rule it out 100% yet), I am definitely leaning towards only displaying the intersections of the shapes I end up going with. For a good example of this consult the REAS project on the Whitney Artport.

    Fractal Image
    Quite simply I want the image to be made up of many replications of the same image.

    Many different resulting images. Each process should hopefully be a unique experience/image



    This is something I am EXTREMELY STOKED for. After going through a lot of examples, I really loved the ones where there were thousands of different varieties of the same image that could be produced depending on random variables changing in the process. What I really enjoyed about this process was that at the end of the project you could display an individual image and it would be stunning, or you could display an exquisite compilation of multiple outputs displayed in a grid. I realized that this type of creation, I have not really explored in programming. Most of my pieces haven't created multiple possibilities of images and I think that the ones that I have seen so far that do, create incredible works of art.

    Just looking at all the images I have over the past few days have sparked so many ideas, and I am really excited to jump into the code and I think my ideas may become a bit more clear as I experiment.

    Few other things I have thought about concept wise
    • Data Visualization
      • The final image should be based on some sort of data set. Image created based on Tsunami::Flickr Link of it. I really think it is awesome to create data visualizations as I think it can bring meaning to a piece. This may be something I end up going with for this project or another one. I have been looking at Ben Fry's new book: Data Visualization.

    • Swarm Intelligence
      • I looked at algorithms of swarm intelligence and did some personal research on it. I don't know if I will be able to create the aesthetic I am looking for using it, but it is definitely something I will consider.



    Random other images


    Images taken from: Complexification.net
    Wed, Jan 16, 2008  Permanent link
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    Ahh... Space Collective here I am. The first assignment was to find two images and research and discuss them. Image one comes from the Space Collective gallery, while the second image comes from my own personal collection of photography. I explored quite a few images, and different websites, but I really enjoyed these two images in relation to our assignment.

    The first piece: Murmur is by the photographer, Richard Barnes. The photo is one in a series of photographs where he shot images of these incredible flocks of birds. On his website Jonathan Rosen states,
    "Each fall and winter, vast flocks gather in Rome...They put on breathtaking aerial displays above the city, banking in nervous unison, responding like a school of fish to each tremor inside the group...

    The birds are beloved by tourists and reviled by locals — understandably, since the droppings cover cars and streets, causing accidents and general disgust. A flock of starlings is euphoniously called a “murmuration,” but there is nothing poetic about their appetites."
    I was fortunate enough to see this series in the Yerba Buena Art Gallery in San Francisco over the summer. The piece has a very eerie and scary feel to it, which was amplified by the sounds effects of the birds coming out at you from multiple directions and sides. I really think the piece is a good example because first of all it is very sci-fi-ish. I can't really imagine THAT many birds flying everywhere.

    Not only do the photos create these incredible illusions of what are these things because it CAN'T ACTUALLY BE BIRDS (to the average person who hasn't heard of these flocks), but the flocks also create very shapes of varying depths and shades. The pictures are stunning, but further push the elements of objects occupying spaces.


    The second image is a snapshot I took while in Peru. It took me awhile to decide on which image to use, but I decided on this one for a few reasons. First, it appears that the mountains keep going, and going, and going. There doesn't seem to be civilization in this place, but just a free world that you can gaze into.

    The photograph was taken on my trek on the Inca Trail. It was taken at the last campsite before making the final trek into Macchu Pichu. I find it fascinating the amount of empty space, no humans in site, no structures in site, just pure untouched land. Coming from the bustling urban atmospheres of the US, it is rare you see so much empty space with no sign of civilization or people. Much of my trip to Peru was like this. It is pretty incredible to even imagine all this empty and untouched space. I think it captures the unknown of the future, but also this depth and weird sense of space.

    Hope you enjoyed my findings!
    - ET
    Wed, Jan 9, 2008  Permanent link

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