Latest blog posts

Getting a feel for tangible interfaces July 18, 2017, 5 p.m.

We have two projects where we’re building tangible interfaces – Penelope and Viruscraft. This blog is an exploration of tangible interfaces, harvesting thoughts from the worlds of neuroscience, choreograhy, cognitive science and education to see what we can learn to guide our research and design directions.

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Technology after Collapse July 17, 2017, 2:07 p.m.

The philosophy underlying contemporary 'seamless' technology production seems to be one of endless energy, bountiful resources and waste being someone else's problem. Naive working assumptions of some form are a requirement when designing for the future, but do we believe in these enough now to make them useful? Flashy 'aspirational' tech videos of ever thinning devices disappearing into the 'cloud' seem to be less common than they once were, so perhaps not.

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Pattern Matrix PCBs arrived & first tests July 4, 2017, 10:51 a.m.

After triple checking the schematics and design files and ordering 80 PCBs (50 sensors and 30 i2c boards) there was an anxious wait for them to arrive and do some initial tests to find out if there were any mistakes. We now have enough boards to make two new pattern matrix devices, one 4X4 and one 5X5 - the plan is to evaluate the design and refine it for future builds.

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Terra2 July 1, 2017, 11:23 a.m.

On Thursday june 29 a kick-off meeting was held at the Iona Stichting in Amsterdam to bring together Dutch initiatives that are active in restoration ecology, environmental agriculture and finance. Theun joined the meeting entitled Terra2.

The discussions explored two main topics:

dilemmas - what are the main obstacles you encounter in your work to restore natural processes and landscapes?

opportunities - what would be needed to up-scale current practices?

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Viruscraft: building a ‘reasonably accurate’ genetic game world simulation June 20, 2017, 6:12 p.m.

The concept for the viruscraft game is to have a realtime genetic model or simulation of the host evolution which is adapting to the properties of a virus you are building (either on screen or via a tangible interface as part of an exhibit). This model needs to be realistic, but only up to a point - it can be more of a caricature of biology than a research model would need to be, as our intentions are educational rather than biological research.


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Dust and shadow. Field Notes #1 June 5, 2017, 7:20 p.m.

We had arrived in the Sonoran desert. A place of desiccated time, layered time, geological, vegetal, human time. Time kneads the Earth's crust into deep folds, cracks and canyons. Plants lay dormant through cycles of drought or grow slowly for centuries, bursting into blossom after the first rains. Humans come and go. Blown through the ages like tumbleweeds. Things don't really decay here. They shrivel, dry up or slowly rust, yet remain present, as they gradually erode into dust. A thick, dusty atmosphere of things that were, things that are and things that might be. Densities and intensities coagulating on a larger than human scale, illuminated by stark light or lurking in the deep shadow.

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Accesslab Pilot Notes May 31, 2017, 5:15 p.m.

We launched the accesslab project last week with two pilot workshops. This is a write-up of how the workshops were run and why, together with some of the feedback and modifications we will make in future.

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Pattern Matrix 2 May 31, 2017, 3:33 p.m.

A few weeks ago we kicked off the new Penelope project, one of our first jobs was to deliver the prototype pattern matrix (built with the help of Makernow) to the Museum of Casts of Classical sculpture in Munich for exhibition over the summer as part of our Penelopean lab. Our next mission in Cornwall is to design new pattern matrix hardware so we can start manufacturing a small run of alternative versions with more sensors to try new experiments with them. Some of them will be used for public exhibition, others for the researchers to use in talks and seminars, others for musical livecoding performances where we want to try tangible programming.

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Viruscraft next steps May 30, 2017, 7:10 p.m.

Following on from the first viruscraft workshop, we can now start planning the viruscraft game. The field of virology from genetics and interactions on the microscopic scale to the spread of disease and it's effects on the ecosystem is huge, so we used the workshop primarily to identify the core things that are the most important to convey, and promising ways we can use to explain them. Getting high quality feedback so early on has allowed us to get a good sense of what is important with a diverse mix of people - the things that they picked up on (and just as importantly the things that they didn't) saves a lot of time - and sharpens our focus right from the start.

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Thoughts on mongoose data moving May 30, 2017, 2:59 p.m.

Moving Mongoose data from Uganda to the UK is a problem as the current Mongoose2000 system has no automatic data transfer step. Dave and I sat down and tried to think of some stratagies.

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