Article: Paper supercapacitor could power future paper electronics

( — All those paper transistors and paper displays that scientists have been designing can now be powered by an onboard power source, thanks to the development of a new paper supercapacitor. Designed by researchers at Stanford University, the paper supercapacitor is made by simply printing carbon nanotubes onto a treated piece of paper. The researchers hope that the integrated design could lead to the development of low-cost, disposable paper electronics.

Very interesting and could lead to a lot of new and much more ubiquitous interactivity possibilities. Imagine, a circuit on your grocery bag.

Virtual reality used to transfer men’s minds into a woman’s body

Researchers projected men’s sense of self into a virtual reality woman, changing the way they behaved and thought.

Scientists have transferred men’s minds into a virtual woman’s body in an experiment that could enlighten the prejudiced and shed light on how humans distinguish themselves from others.

Men who took part in the virtual reality experiment said it felt as if they occupied the womans body. They even flinched when she was slapped. Photograph: Guardian
Men who took part in the virtual reality experiment said it felt as if they occupied the woman's body. They even flinched when she was slapped. Photograph: Guardian

Gesture-based computing on the cheap

Gesture-based computing on the cheap. “With a single piece of inexpensive hardware — a multicolored glove — MIT researchers are making Minority Report-style interfaces more accessible.”

Check out the video: <object id=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ codebase=”,0,47,0″><param name=”movie” value=”″ /><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#FFFFFF” /><param name=”flashVars” value=”videoId=86656499001&playerID=36804639001&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true” /><param name=”base” value=”” /><param name=”seamlesstabbing” value=”false” /><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”swLiveConnect” value=”true” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><embed src=”″ bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” flashVars=”videoId=86656499001&playerID=36804639001&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true” base=”” name=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ seamlesstabbing=”false” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowFullScreen=”true” swLiveConnect=”true” allowScriptAccess=”always” pluginspage=””></embed></object>

Here’s some information about how the researcher developed the glove, iterating through different designs. “The glove went through a series of designs, with dots and patches of different shapes and colors, but the current version is covered with 20 irregularly shaped patches that use 10 different colors. The number of colors had to be restricted so that the system could reliably distinguish the colors from each other, and from those of background objects, under a range of different lighting conditions. The arrangement and shapes of the patches was chosen so that the front and back of the hand would be distinct but also so that collisions of similar-colored patches would be rare. For instance, Wang explains, the colors on the tips of the fingers could be repeated on the back of the hand, but not on the front, since the fingers would frequently be flexing and closing in front of the palm.”

Pretty fast rendering there, which is due to the fact that the computer is simply looking up images in a database, and then figuring out which position the hand is in. I really like how simple the calibration is: “To calibrate the system, the user simply places an 8.5-by-11-inch piece of paper on a flat surface in front of the webcam, presses his or her hand against it, and in about three seconds, the system is calibrated.”

LIVE.MEDIA+PERFORMANCE.LAB : workshop : SUMMER 2010 : EMPAC – experimental media and performing arts center – troy, ny usa

LIVE.MEDIA+PERFORMANCE.LAB : workshop : SUMMER 2010 : EMPAC – experimental media and performing arts center – troy, ny usa.

Announcing our first summer lab for interactive media in performance! Directed by Johannes Birringer and Mark Coniglio, the workshop offers intensive training and possibilities for experimentation with mixed reality and real time architectures, programmable environments, interactive design and the integration of time-based media into live performance and installation.

The workshop addresses emerging and professional art practitioners, scientists, researchers, and students from different backgrounds in performance and new media committed to sharing their interest in developing a deeper understanding of composing work focused on real time, interactive or time-based experiences and multidisciplinary collaborative processes (video, sound processing, projection design, lighting, choreography and directing).

Participants will be in residence for the duration of the lab and offered our exceptional facilities for investigating performance and design techniques that will develop skills and inspire new ideas for working in mixed realities and interlinked physical/virtual or distributed aesthetics. The workshop will include examples and references to international stage works, choreographic systems, installations and site-specific works, as well as hands-on experimentation in full resolution with interactive systems.

Methodologies for the laboratory are conceived by theatre director and media artist Johannes Birringer, founder of the annual Interaktionslabor and professor of performance technologies at Brunel University (London), and Mark Coniglio, artistic co-director of Troika Ranch and creator of the Isadora software. Both artists are widely recognized for their pioneering work in the international performance and media network. Interaktionslabor was last offered on tour in Belo Horizonte, Brasil (2008), and Birringer’s and Coniglio’s work has been featured in numerous festivals and exhibitions around the world.

The activities of the lab are open to visitors, and information about the proceedings and the research process will be available soon.

Résumé and informal letter of application due: June 30, 2010. Contact: Hélène Lesterlin: / tel. 518.276.3918

More info available on their site.

Responsive Performance: Spatial Media Final

For my Spatial Media final, I worked with Igal Nassima on a dance-performance, technology project. It was meant to be a site-specific work, that would eventually incorporate choreography with a specific dancer or dance group.

The inspiration for this project was the dance performance “Mortal Engine” by Chunky Move.

Igal was also particularly impressed with the geometric shapes in this short performance, called “Triadic Ballet”.

We also found other dance-technology performances online, such as this beautiful performance called “Frost”.

FROST from Tina Tarpgaard on Vimeo.

As you can see from our proposal, our intent was to incorporate more architectural elements into the stage area of the performance space.

When we actually started to implement the code, we ran into a few problems. First, I’m not so hot at C++ and I felt pretty overwhelmed with the coding challenge. I really appreciated working with Igal, since he’s much more advanced, but it also made it quite difficult for me to really understand what was going on. For example, when I wanted to make a big change to the code, I had to ask for help in order to figure it out. For my section, I used some of the extracurricular work I’d been doing with Jared Schiffman on building grids and changing colors to create different visuals for the project. Igal then incorporated that work into whatever he’d been working on.

We also had trouble with our physical area. Originally, Igal’s designated staging area was too much of a high traffic area for our needs and we had trouble controlling the lighting. We wanted to include 2 cameras, but our lighting/space environment was much too spastic and unpredictable to rely on. So, eventually we shared a space with Molly and Diego, which helped.

We used a one-panel backdrop, a short-throw projector and a web-cam mounted horizontally between 2 AutoPoles. We ended up using 1 camera because we were never quite able to use the TripleHead2Go, despite searching for drivers.

To be honest, I’m not really happy with the end result of our project. Things just didn’t seem to go well from the get go, and I sort of lost confidence early on. By the time we got our code to really work well – as in, the day of – there really wasn’t time for us seriously choreograph anything, aside from general movements you might do when you’re looking in a funhouse mirror. So, during our critique, we didn’t get many useful comments which makes it hard to know how to improve.

I think that for work like this, if you really want to do something spectacular a dedicated performance space is essential, for not just the dancers but also the technologists. And, you also need a space for them to work together. I do remember reading some research on this topic once before, I think at Ohio State University. Their dance and computer science collaboration also had similar difficulties with the collaboration space itself, and the difficulties of miscommunication or of underestimating the amount of time it would take for a computer scientist or dancer to modify their work quickly. I think I assumed that it would be easier for me, since I sort of understand them both. Really, it’s not the same and I’m finding that the lives of dancer or technologist/designer are very, very different. So much so that I think one infringes on the the other. I guess that’s if you want to be a purist and only do dance or only do design. I think it is possible for a dance-tech team to work, but this project I think was doomed from the start, in that I (as the dancer) needed to focus on the programming aspects and not just the dance aspects. If we had separated our work more, perhaps the end result would have been more fruitful…or maybe just more time would’ve helped. I definitely do not think this type of work is easy.

Code is here. I worked on GraphicsTwo.

(Extra work I did with Jared Schiffman.)

Lepus: My hare-related project

After I did my additional research, I brainstormed some drawings again and finally had an idea. I decided to make a model of a hare that fit over a large flat-screen plasma television/monitor, in which several pieces of the hare had been removed through which you would watch small videos related to hare mythology and stigmas related to women, as previously mentioned. The removed pieces would look like raw flesh and would be pierced with knives, forks and spoons.

This piece plays on the idea of the hare as a mythological animal, as seen in its leaping position that has been commonly used throughout history in various implementations, such as coins, paintings, sculpture, and jewelry. At the same time, the overall form I’ve created also represents raw flesh and is meant to relate to the hare’s long history as a prey animal and food source. The round background that the hare is mounted on relates to the moon, to which hares are overwhelmingly associated in myths around the world.

The videos I’m using come from Most are from the Prelinger Archives except for a few, such as the Bugs Bunny cartoons. The large majority of them are dated from 1940-1960, though the range of dates comes from circa 1900-2000. When I started thinking about how I was going to relate the myths and history of the hare, I realized I needed to select videos that were more versatile than just stag and burlesque films. Thus, the film clips I chose range in subject matter from: burlesque and more explicit stag films, Bugs Bunny episodes, children’s nutrition, egg painting, male and female reproduction, censored pornography magazines, to clips about affection and love. To select my clips, I surveyed a lot of films. In some, I used just one or two clips but I still had to download them, import them into Final Cut Pro, and edit them. Out of 60 videos, I made 6 QuickTime files lasting about 6 minutes each. (I also made a 7th film that would only be used in the background which, at the time of this writing, I’m not sure if I’ll use yet.)

To project these videos, I used a free program called Video Projection Tools, v. 4.1. It was made in Max/MSP and it allowed me to rotate the video player window to fit my window cutouts. Since I’m running 6-7 .mov files, the computer I need to use has to be relatively fast and has to have Max/MSP installed.

I put all of my construction photos on Flickr and there are descriptions for each picture, so at the moment I won’t go into all that much description because construction was very involved. In phase 1 of my project, I tried to incorporate more Living Art ideas into the moon and I used some cellophane and some type of mesh material that I thought would nice in the light. In the end, it looked really busy and I thought it took away from the body of the hare. I also found that when people put the flesh chunks back into the hare, the put them in too far; I needed a barrier. I also didn’t go too explicit in my videos because I just wanted to make the connection, not to get to erotic.

In the next iteration, I took off the cellophane and mesh and remade the background to make the moon connection much stronger. It’s a much more attractive background. I also added another layer between the hare and the monitor, which also acts a barrier for the flesh chunks and makes the removal of the chunks a more visceral feeling. After all this, I also added a plate, which looks like someone’s just been served chunks of meat. The plate and the body of the hare are both really disgusting, but the moon helps make it look quite beautiful.

I’m very happy to have updated the look of the piece because the new looks seems to connect my ideas much better. In addition, I also made the videos more explicit and some are now a little bit longer, which I changed because I wanted to try and push the level of comfort with my pieces. When I did the video editing, I started to become both desensitized to the nude bodies and also disgusted with what seemed like exploitation of women. Making the flesh chunks as disgusting as possible felt a bit like retribution.

This was a fun project. It was a lot of work, but I’m happy with how it turned out. In the end, I felt like I had really achieved what I’d hoped – something revered yet reviled, much like hares and women.

Prototypes for Lepus

For my final project in three of my courses, I created an interactive video installation in which I aimed to connect the mythologies of the hare with stigma’s associated with being a woman. I incorporated the hare to fulfill the requirement for my Animals, People and Things in Between class. The video aspect was for Video for New Media, and I incorporated principles I’d learned in Living Art into the film editing and the creation of the physical piece. This post is a discussion of my brainstorming process.

Before I started this project, there were a few phases in my brainstorming that included sketches, word associations and physical prototypes. In each of two classes, I created a physical model/prototype that focused on either the video aspect of my piece, or the physical aspect.

For the video aspect, I had the idea of the viewer peeking into small windows of action, so that the whole was revealed in pieces and not all at once. Using the Video piece

The feedback I got back was that the video content I was using, amateur movies from the 1939 World’s Fair, didn’t seem to fit the peep-show aspect of the physical frame.  I also got feedback that the video quality of the monitor made it too easy to see that it was a monitor (instead of 6 little monitors, I suppose). It was suggested that I use a projector instead. And porn.

For the physical aspect, and as my research into the hare continued, I had the idea of enclosing the viewer into the project itself. The video aspect would be a part of the physical space, and would only be revealed if you were inside the project piece. I made the prototype out of cardboard and hot glue. When I thought about the scale of the piece, I was pretty sure that I had no idea how I’d be able to physically make it. Then, when I presented this piece, the feedback I got was to consider making two of them and to have some way for people outside each piece to control what happens for the people inside each model.

By this time, I’d done more research. I’d finished my Reaktion book on the hare. I made a list of words that seemed to connect many of the stigmas associated with women with many of the myths related to the hare. I’d also started to collect video content, which for me included mostly vintage “stag” and burlesque films from the 1920’s – 1940’s. I even found a film from the 1950’s or 60’s linking pornography to Communism and the decline of all morality. I just cut out the speaker and kept the pornography. But, though I was certainly collecting many videos and doing much editing, I eventually found myself pretty stuck. I still wasn’t sure in what physical form my project would evolve. I knew I had the idea for putting people inside a physical structure, which was to try and get them really inside my animal. And, I also had these multiple videos playing that I really liked. I drew more sketches, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. So, I went back to collecting more research on hare mythology, and found more information.

Then, maybe the day after that (or maybe the same day?), my final idea emerged….