Ping Pong Anyone?!

Ping Pong anyone? 

This installation is on the 3rd floor. Anyone can turn it on and start playing. The projected fish react to the ball when it hits the table.

Ping Pong PlusPlus

PingPongPlusPlus builds on the PingPongPlus project (1998), a ping pong table that sensed ball hit locations and displayed projected visualizations based on the hits. We aim to publish and proliferate the design of our table. We are looking to set up a system of distributed ping pong tables that records the history of hits in a centralized database. From these records, we will explore ways to remix past games and present games to teach, inform, and entertain.

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Tangible: Week 4

Awesome class as usual! We had a guest speaker: Brian Krejcarek of sensibleself.com Check out the website to see of the cool stuff he is working on.Also check out Philips Direct Life and Activa products. Oh yeah, look up Jesse Schell about corporate rewards programs. Interesting stuff!

The class lecture was very cool. Rose gave a great talk on the health care industry adopting innovative devices to assist both the care provider and patient. I took some pictures of his power point slides.

Next: we got the class project assignment.

My group made a breathalyzer-based drinking straw. It would be used in bars to encourage responsible drinking. The straw would turn bright pink as one got closer to the legal alcohol limit for driving. We had to create the prototype using ‘stop-motion’ video. Fun project. Of course, I was the one getting drunk. I will post the video asap. I plan on making it for real, so we’ll see.

Finally, this last photo is of major importance. I need to remember these principles.

Common Sense: Week 3

Today we had a guest speaker: Doug Lenat. He is one of leading researchers in common sense reasoning in artificial intelligence. His company Cycorp released OpenCyc, which is another common sense knowledge base. He presented some interesting examples of Cyc in practice. It’s too bad is stay was short. I had some general questions that I didn’t ask, as I didn’t want to take up the little time he had.

In class, Dr. Lieberman presented some of the differences in methodology between Cyc and Common Sense. I wonder if, in application, does it matter that a common sense assertion is factually false? Is this another aspect of “fail-soft?”

He also showed an example of the flaws of common sense problem solving:

Cheap are apartments are rare.

Rare things are expensive.

Therefore… cheap apartments are expensive.



Tangible: Week 3

This class is awesome! It reminds me of Montessori school. This week we build our prototype project using foam, legos,  and play dough. We made a conference calling device that would allow the user to add, subtract, re-connect other callers to a conference phone call. It was mixer of AIM, skype, google chat like friend listings and old-style analog operator  phone connections (just without the wires).

Tangible: Week 2

The Tangible Interfaces class is broken into two parts. A 2 hour lecture and a two hour workshop. So far, we’re going over an introduction to the class. It’s super interesting. TUI or tangible user interface is not a new concept. However I don’t think anyone’s articulated this as a field. There are many research areas within the Media Lab that seems to overlap: Human Computer Interface (HCI), Fluid Interfaces, Object Based Media, etc.

The latter half of the class continued our discussion/workshops on prototyping techniques. This week we were split into groups of four and had 50 minutes to create a tangible product and storyboard its functionality. We created an alarm-clock chair that was tied to the user’s event calendar.

Friday Tea

Every Friday at the Media Lab at 4:00pm there is ‘tea.’ It’s a fun, stress relief effort to get the building to socialize. It’s called tea, but there’s food, cup cakes, drinks, etc.

Tea is held on the 6th floor. There is an observation deck that overlooks the city of Boston (Charles River).

MIT Media Lab!

School officially started for me on the 9th of September! It took some time to start this blog, as there were so many misc tasks to complete. I will back-post the stories as I have a chance to write them. This is a journal for anyone interested in the Media Lab. I will post all of the technical portions, demos, etc. of my actual projects on media.mit.edu/~birago.

Where do I begin?

Every time I have a conversation about what I’m doing at MIT, I find myself repeating the same or similar narrative. That’s because it’s easier to repeat myself, then gush about how amazing this place really is. It’s too easy to come off sounding egotistical, privileged, and arrogant.  Actually, I’m humbled by the creative talent, and apprecitive for the opportunity to be here. Every day is cool. Extremely cool!

The Media Lab is a kindergarten for adults with a focus on imaginative technologies.

This semester I’m taking two classes. Common Sense Reasoning and Tangible Interfaces. The rest of my time is spent as a Research Assistant, meaning I spend my time learning and building things.

The first week I was here my laptop started having problems, so now I’m getting an Apple Mac Book Pro. I’ve never been an Apple fan, but the Media Lab is pro-Apple and I’m just eager to start programming.

Most importantly, the other students – my peer group. They are awesome!  I’m constantly inspired by them. It’s great to be here!

Here are some pictures from the Media Lab:

During the Media Lab orientation tour, I asked what was the elephant for? The response, “What elephant?” I wanted to poke a hole in it, let the air out, then respond, “Oh you’re right!”