Sydney Opera House: Living Mural

“A global animation project by Universal Everything, collaborating with over 20 different animation studios worldwide to create a living mural on one of the world’s most iconic buildings.
Embracing emerging technologies, Universal Everything’s process always starts from drawing. The hand drawn techniques seen in this film are akin to the early pioneers of animation Len Lye, Norman McLaren and Walt Disney.
Using these timeless techniques mean this film could have been existed in 1920, albeit with a 21st century twist – bringing our influences of global pop culture, modernist graphics and physics simulations into a playful exploration of this iconic building.”

Found on FastCoDesign.

Learning from Mixed-Reality Games: Is Shaking a Tablet as Effective as Physical Observation?

Researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University have published a study on the power of educational games with a “tangible” side.

Using the Microsoft’s Kinect  to enhance an educational game about elementary physics, they have found that the introduction of physical objects “along with Kinect improved the effectiveness of learning by nearly five times compared to an equivalent screen-only experience”.

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Intel Living Frames

Living Frames (2011) was a two-week industry project  developed by Marco Triverio and Chris Bierbower at Intel Labs. The two designers took up the challenge of exploring the future interplay between images, technology and people behaviours.

A team from Intel asked us to look 10 years into the future and imagine how people might capture or display photos given expected advances in technology. Intel is in the ever faster processor business and uses these predictions to steer chip architecture as well as to help spur developers imagination to maintain demand for faster silicon.

Over the course of the project we realized that using photos for story telling is such a fundamentally instinctive behavior that it is safe to predict it will last through several generations of technological innovation. Our concept develops on this insight. However, foreseeing 10 years into the future is tricky. With IBM’s Watson, we’re seeing a sneak peak of improvements in natural language and intention recognition. We think that one of the photo related advances users will enjoy are computers that will actually help us tell stories and have richer conversations.

Learn more about Living Frames

An Image is Worth More than a Thousand Favorites: Surfacing the Hidden Beauty of Flickr Pictures

An Image is Worth More than a Thousand Favorites: Surfacing the Hidden Beauty of Flickr Pictures

Rossano Schifanella (University of Turin, Italy) and Miriam Redi and Luca Maria Aiello (Yahoo Labs in Barcelona, Spain) have taught a machine vision algorithm to recognise beauty. In order to test it, they have used a set of Flickr images looking for those pictures nobody noticed. In doing so, they sheds a light on the relationship between quality and popularity of images on social media.

From the abstract:

The dynamics of attention in social media tend to obey power laws. Attention concentrates on a relatively small number of popular items and neglecting the vast majority of content produced by the crowd. Although popularity can be an indication of the perceived value of an item within its community, previous research has hinted to the fact that popularity is distinct from intrinsic quality. As a result, content with low visibility but high quality lurks in the tail of the popularity distribution. This phenomenon can be particularly evident in the case of photo-sharing communities, where valuable photographers who are not highly engaged in online social interactions contribute with high-quality pictures that remain unseen. We propose to use a computer vision method to surface beautiful pictures from the immense pool of near-zero-popularity items, and we test it on a large dataset of creative-commons photos on Flickr. By gathering a large crowdsourced ground truth of aesthetics scores for Flickr images, we show that our method retrieves photos whose median perceived beauty score is equal to the most popular ones, and whose average is lower by only 1.5%.

Download the full article (pdf).


Analysing recipients personalities for better e-mails

Analysing recipients personalities for better e-mails

Crystal is a startup with a great mission: helping people writing better emails providing real-time suggestions tuned on recipient personality. What it does is to scrutinize publicly available data on LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs to let users look up people’s personality profiles on its website for free.

As reported on MIT Technology Review, “Jennifer Golbeck, an associate professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, who has studied how to deduce personality traits and relationships from social media, says that such personality inference technologies tend to be about 75 percent correct. The biggest challenge, she says, is getting ground-truth data about people’s actual behaviors (such as how people respond to certain phrases used in e-mails) so the tool can learn to improve the conclusions drawn from the information—something Crystal is attempting to do by asking users to add information about themselves and people they know”.

Read the full article.