Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thoughts on McPhail Social Media Talk

During McPhail presentation in class the first thing i noticed was the large use of buzz words that were said. Generally speaking the "social media" phrase is a buzz phrase in it self. Then the web apps and sites surrounding it have generated a lot of buzz.

Look at Facebook and Digg for example. These have become massively popular social media sites. Where user generated comments are a primary source of attraction. McPhail did announce his dislike for facebook during the presentation. He explained this was mostly due to facebook's now money hungry nature. Since it has become a source for add revenue. Also that it has no data mobility. Meaning that once signed up to facebook, you can not completely remove one's self from facebook even after closing your account.

McPhail went into great depth about how companies should use social media. Its all about being a participant and joining the community built upon social media. He gave an excellent example to explain this.

Take the scenario of a party where a Insurance Salesman comes to the party uninvited. He hands out a bunch of business cards but no one really cares because he not actually a friend and is only there for business. That is like a company spamming a bunch of social media sites. A company has to become an active member that gives back to the community. Then people will take notice. Like the friend that comes to the party bringing along a case of beer for everyone.

Many of the new social media sites are multimedia pioneers. What they have done is taken forms of multi media and used and combined them in new ways. is a great example of this. They take video and enable you to broadcast it live on the web site using webcams then allow users to live chat about the show.

Personally i can see many uses for social media services in regards to pioneering. What better way of creating a community and allowing interactivity. Though i can see how it can be hard to come up with something new and interesting.

Here is a list of great social media sites that came up in McPhail's presentation.
The flash builder
the " What are you doing?" instant Msgr system
live video broadcast from your mobile phone
web browser broadcast tv, from web cams
link aggregation- social bookmarking

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thoughts on the Rom and Steve Mann

On Friday I went on a field trip to the ROM, its located downtown TO.

We had a host the whole time, he was the head of digital media section of the museum. He talked of how the financing works in the museum. We got to use a touch screen to view content and watch a clip of history using multi screen projector.

From a multimedia pioneer point of view museum are not really pioneers, they are slow adopters, and tend only to follow. But you could see that the Rom is doing their best to join the new media revolution. They plan on using video conferencing to give tours to people all around the world, that can’t physically get there.

We also took a tour around the museum. They had more touch screen panels displaying content about the actual pieces using flash video. The set-up was really cool. We got to see dinosaur fossils exhibit. I came across when google-ing dinosaurs. It is a good example of how bad sites use to be and how we have progressed in web design.

We also got to meet the legendary human cyborg Steve Mann. He wears an eye piece for augmented reality. He talked about how one day we will wear prescription glasses that auto adjust prescriptions during the day via a computer chip.

He also talked about his hydraulophone. a pipe that can play music when water is run through it. We got to see a live demonstration.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thoughts on Eberhardt Mobile Presantation

In class today we had the luxury of having James Eberhardt give a power point presentation on Mobile technology. Its quite exciting as a Multimedia pioneer to think about mobile. As technology advances more windows are opening in the field. Mobile phones have been around awhile but as memory increases and prices get lower , the demand is increasing. Last year when I was still at Humber College my prof. was telling the class how big mobile is in Japan. People are basically using cells phones instead of laptops on trains. Unfortunately Canada is behind in the trend but estimating to catch up with in 2 years.

James told us about this mobile contest where you can take pictures with your camera phone of this special bar codes called QR code. And then send the picture msg to a phone number. Then you receive a confirmation to login on to a site and get information based on the code. You can collect them and are entered into a chance to win 1000$ from best buy. I tried it my self and it worked well.

The above site is a Flash Lite & mobile games development blog by Aniway. I found it to be an informative site about developing for mobile. They post stats about research based on the popularity of mobile gaming as well.

The wiki link is an insightful description of the history of flash lite and its uses.

It is web portal site designed for mobile phones and devices. You can download ring tones, apps, and games for you mobile phone. You can tell that the site makers are pioneers who are thinking ahead.

In James presentation he was reinforcing in my mind what my Humber teacher said. The mobile future is coming soon. It’s good to be prepared. I learned a lot from his presentation.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thoughts on Simon Conlin

Today in class, Simon Conlin was our guest speaker. He is a type of new media evangelist. His real job would be referred to as a Media Consultant.

His presentation started off as a "get to know you" game. We went around the room saying our name, favorite thing, and what we want to be when we graduate. Simon is a really down to earth type of person. Has a friendly personality and you ca tell he passionate about what he does.

He does a lot of work with Pixel Gallery ( A place that holds a lot of new media events like The touch show. Its a very interactive place that combines new media with interactivity and art.

Simon used the projector in the class to show us different example of new things that people are creating. From a multimedia pioneer stand point the talk was inspiration able. We got to see other pioneers at work creating new interactive media.

Some of the new technologies where interactive screens that create artwork by sensors or touch screens using algorithms . it made me think of how i could use flash ability to use web cams for motion sensor. how i could create my own unique art work.

Also how these interactive walls could be used by corporations to promote products like what adobe did for the launch of CS3. You can see how we can use new media in new ways and still make a profit.

My favourite links from Simon


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thoughts Shape Recognition and Immersion

Today on October 4th I took a tour of the Visualization Design Institute (VDI) at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. VDI is a government funded applied research facility located on campus. Their website is We got a glimpse of advance facial recognition software. Song Ho Ahn was the developer of this technology. He did the primary programming in C+ for the software. He developed his own GUI since he has a degree of Engineering in Electrical and Control Engineering from Hong-Ik University, Seoul, South Korea. The program used camera to gather data from the users face. It would then match up with a 3d human model to certain areas of the persons face. In real time the person could move his head and the 3d model would duplicates the movement in a life like motion. The camera sensor focused on the eyes and mouth to perceive movement.

From a multimedia pioneer point of view it was quite inspirational. Though its still a current work in progress you can see many useful applications for it. Such as character animation in movies and games. As well it could be used to detect facial features for security or identifying criminals.

There is other facial recognition software out there too. The site list different research groups across the world who is also working on facial recognition. Another similar field is image recognition. You use the computer to analyze an image of a person to find similarities of other people’s pictures. The following is a link of a video showing this type of software in action. There is also an interesting website called My Heritage. It uses image facial recognition to match an uploaded picture of your self to a celebrity. You can also use it to compare family gemology in pictures. Or find out what parent you have more physical traits from.

Also on our tour we took a look at their Immersion studio. It uses 3 projectors to project on a movie on 3 screens. The two side screens are angled to give a greater sense of immersion. The sounds system was really quite impressive too. The movie was a 3d animation of a space station and a look into the human body. We were given touch tablets and were able to click on images on the tablet’s LCD screen to make a choice that impacted the movie itself.

It definitely created a more immersive movie watching experience. I could see how the movie industry could use this type of technology to get more people into theatres. It went beyond something like the IMAX experience. IMAX uses a massive screen and an amazing sound system to attract more viewers.

I think it would help combat movie piracy. It could also be used in the game industry to create a more immersive experience. The 3d environment would be all around you instead of just the screen in front of the player. It would be awesome if they could perfect it so you can be completed surrounded by one screen that interact to your movement. Taking both the motion recognition and immersion technology and putting it all together for the ultimate experience.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thoughts on GestureTek Inc™

Yesterday I journeyed down to a place called Gesture Tek. It is located downtown Toronto. As ventured up to the 7th floor and into their offices I noticed the professionalism of the company. To get to the show floor you must go through the main office area which is filled with white cubicles. Upon entering the show floor you notice a lot of large screens spread though out the area. Located on the ceiling are large projectors projecting the images onto the screens. Vincent John Vincent is the President and Co-Founder of GestureTek Inc™. He was kind enough to be our host for the class tour.

My first impressions of the place were positive. At first I thought the technology would be out dated because it has been around since 1986 when they started the company. People have been experimenting with that stuff for while. I could easily see how Gesture Tek as been a pioneer in the field since the beginning. They have a lot of patents based on motion technology. They have been able to adapt by adopted new technologies like flash into new concepts.

They continue to advance in the field and break new ground. One of their new products is using cell phone camera technology and creating games and applications with it. They use the camera to detect motion. With that the user is able to move the phone and the character on the screen will move based on tilt. They also have a map application where the user tilts the phone to easier navigate through a virtual map. They have been able to get the major phone distributer in Japan to incorporate it into all their cell phone product lines.

For me as a multimedia pioneer they have set a great example of what it is to be a true pioneer in multimedia. They way they have created a new interactive medium with motion and video. And are able to capitalize on the idea and incorporate other new technologies as they come along. They are even letting our class use some of their software to create some flash based applications.

Another product of theirs is their portal motion detector. It uses 2 cameras to create a virtual matrix to figure out a person hand location x and y coordinates. It then uses a projector that displays the image on a screen you to interact without needing a mouse. They have sold these in museums and trade shows.

You can see from their many prototypes that they have enhanced their products. From a large room with cameras to detect motion till portable machines that do the same. They also have this interactive table where you can play pong on it and other activities. It is able to detect multiple points of detection at the same time so more the one person can use it. Gesture Tek definitely gives you the feel of what the process is like to invent something.


Here are some interesting links that relate gesture technology and Gesture Tek.

The Nintendo wii using its wii fit board to detect motion for fitness training.

The Sony Playstation uses its eye toy game to detect motion. A technology Gesture Tec help developed for them.

Gesture Tec primary website.

A Link about why we need gesture technology.

The definition of gesture technology.

My First Thought

While i am sitting in class i decided to start a blog. Since I'm currently in multimedia I reckon I'll post some blogs about various technologies and other things too.