Design Innovation Workshop Mumbai Jan 2014

The Media Lab India Initiative is an effort by students and alumni from the MIT Media Lab to bring together a community of makers and creators from across India. The goal is to facilitate collaboration and sharing of ideas across boundaries of disciplines, institutions, and culture. We want to create and spread an environment much like at the MIT Media Lab, an environment that fosters creative exploration of ideas, of learning by doing. Here is a video from our workshop in Mumbai, India in January 2014. We had 400 participants, 30 mentors, and 100 prototypes at the end of the 5 day workshop. 

Mumbai Workshop Video

Oculus Rift + Unity

I took a course at Harvard last Fall that was aimed at investigating new ways to interpret, conceive and describe landscape using Unity3D. The objective was to develop ideas from the early stages of preparatory work to the deployment phase by interpreting, conceiving and constructing a virtual "Garden of Eden." I was interested in exploring the temporal nature of change, which is inherent in the Garden of Eden story, within the contexts of the ontological universe and our experiences of reality in this universe. 
I am fascinated by the Klein bottle and just generally by 4D space. As a final outcome I wanted to be able to represent the creation of the Klein bottle from two Möbius strips in 3D space that a player could experience from the inside with the Oculus Rift. As a first experiment, since this was also the first time I was using 3D modeling software and Unity3D, I created my "garden" with simple folding geometrical shapes and using the Oculus Rift to allow users to embed themselves into these morphing worlds. My next step is to venture into the Klein bottle world. My mac SSD died recently (yes, I'm surprised too) so I will be uploading the playable project as soon as I dig it out of Time Machine.  

A super early screenshot of the game world in the middle of morphing from flatness to a tube.

A view of the morphing world through the Oculus Rift

Activ8: Workplace fitness

Activ8 is a system of three physically interactive digital games: See-Saw, a balancing game for Glass; Jump Beat, a music beat matching game for Glass; and Learning To Fly, a Kinect game where users fly a virtual bird through obstacles by flapping their arms aka two-player Flappy Bird clone. In addition to whole-body movement, we capture heart rate patterns by attaching a pulse sensor to Glass to make a connection between the user's physiological state and their context of interaction. Each game uses easy-to-do actions like balancing, jumping, and flapping arms. Leveraging features of existing digital casual games, our games have simple rules, are intuitive and easy to learn, and can be enjoyed in small intervals of time. 

Fun with Electronics

In September this year, Prashant asked me to co-teach "Fun with electronics" at MIT Splash. It was great fun milling and soldering the boards for the hardware kit that we distributed in class. We taught two 3-hour sessions on Nov 23 and 24, 2013 and had 19 highschoolers participate over the two days. Here are some photos of the hardware building blocks we made for them. The kit photo is missing the 9V battery that powers the components.

Spellbound: Mobile, social, activity-based play

A game can provide the venue for a range of social interactions through competition, cooperation, and negotiation. In the design of Spellbound, we consider the importance of social interaction between players on both teams and the role of spectators. We are inspired by Bernard DeKoven who suggests by exploring how we play together we can get to know ourselves and each other better. Play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith (1997) also identifies community and play as "forms of bonding'' where camaraderie and togetherness are central to the experience. Besides encouraging social connection, we believe togetherness and playfulness can transform physical activity into an enjoyable experience. 

Laser etching chocolate

I used a bar of 87% dark chocolate: Dagoba Eclipse. Text on image above mistakenly says 86% dark.

I wanted to make a birthday present for a friend and wanted to make something edible.  I love dark chocolate and always have some on me so figured I could try laser etching a bar. The first attempt is pictured above and I plan on trying it again with different settings on the laser and using a vector image that has more contrast between different parts to get a result that shows more detail. Epilog raster settings: 400dpi, 12% power, 100% speed.


Full comic

Spotz is an Android app that recommends things to you based on 'buzz' created by others for those things for e.g. you could follow #bestchocolatecake and the app will show you what places have been tagged with that buzz. Similarly you can follow places that have specific tags of interest to you for e.g. you could follow #healthy or #geeky and the app will show you what places near you have #healthy or #geeky as their most popular tag. The app playfully generates a persona visualization for you to share on social media based on the most popular tags for the places you visit. This also allows you to friend and/or follow others with similar personas as you to explore and discover places of mutual interest :)

My profile shows my location-based persona. If I scroll down, my profile screen also shows a list of recommended places nearby based on my bubbles.

Festival of Learning 2013

Cupcake Andrea and I made and decorated but did not get to eat. 

I ran a session with Danielle at the second Media Lab Festival of Learning (2013) to show people how to make microwave cupcakes and decorate them with fondant and icing. It was frantic with just one microwave since a lot of people wanted to make cupcakes but what fun Regardless.  Festival pics .

Point and Share

Point and Share is a system that enhances participation in collocated meetings by allowing users to employ traditional media (pen and paper) to author content on a shared interactive whiteboard.    

Point and Share

To share their scribbles on paper with everyone in the meeting room, users point at a spot (Pic 2) on the whiteboard with their pen which then causes their scribbles (Pic 1 Fig. A) to display at their selected spot on the whiteboard (Pic 1 Fig. B). This can be done, both in real time (displaying while users scribble on paper) as well as after the fact, allowing users to write and then choose whether to share.

Neighborhood Health Score

Project Status: Complete with working hardware and software

A multitouch table and a Google Maps application that uses the tabletop interface to present the health score for any selected point or area on the map of Austin, TX. The user interacts with the application using finger taps and touch gestures. Drawing a circle on the Google Map of Austin with one finger shows a transparent gray overlay for the selected area and displays a health score for that area. 

Neighborhood Health Score

Holding down two fingers on the screen opens up a menu with options to conduct a ‘neighborhood search’ and ‘keyboard search.’ The selected neighborhood is highlighted on the map in a transparent red overlay. Selecting the ‘keyboard search’ option brings up a virtual keyboard. Text can be entered into the on-screen search box by tapping the keyboard keys with your finger. The user may enter a specific address or a zip code.

Dots and Boxes Game

A simple online two-player version of the pencil and paper game Dots and Boxes. The goal was to learn how to use node.js and and the project was simply a small proof of concept. The game does not have any audio or a lobby but it works if two players can coordinate playing together over some other channel like IM, email etc. 

I will have a link to the actual game in a few days as I'm in the process of moving it off of AWS. 

Learning Box2D

This is a small weekend project to learn the basics of Box2D. It doesn't do anything beyond being able to move objects around in space (mouse or finger) and having them collide and bounce off of each other as well as off of the walls/floor/ceiling. The goal was to make a real game using it. The two images are random finds on Google. I will upload the code to github.