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November 2009 Archives

November 7, 2009

Phenomenal Robotic Arm (and experiments with phantom limbs)


So quite awhile back when I went to Wired Nextfest, I saw a robotic arm with 33 pneumatic pumps. I thought it was amazing because it could pick an object as fragile as an egg, but I couldn't visualize how this could be translated to helping amputees.

But recently on a 60 Minutes program, DARPA is funding this amazing project. You can control the arm connected to sensors with your foot. In this clip, you can see a user pick up a bottle of soda, open it, and drink from it. Also in the last portion of the clip, this company experiments with brain waves by connecting sensors to the limb (not sure, but could be related to phantom limbs). Anyway, I was blown away by this technology. If you have any insight, and ping me links to other scientific research (address is posted in the footer--Thx).

Watch CBS News Videos Online

You can read more about this story, here.

November 27, 2009

CNN Heroes

Just watched CNN Heroes show that awarded people making a difference. The premise is there were ~9k applicants, but they awarded 10 people $25k, and allowed people to vote for 1 out of the 10 to receive an additional $100k. I thought the award (etched wooden plaque) was interestingly designed (not the black case for the "Hero of the Year" -- looked like a coffin). In any case, I wished CNN awarded more than $25k to all recipients, but they may recieve more money from just the high visibility of this show. Was wondering where Bono was.

These were the people who made a difference (in the order of CNN's presentation of awards):

Doc Hendley
Bringing clean water to devoloping countries.

Roy Foster
Aids homeless veterans a second chance (was formerly homeless and veteran himself).

Efren Peñaflorida
Pushcart classes so kids can be interested in education rather than gangs.

Jordan Thomas
Provides proesthetics to amputees 18 and under (mostly shyed away from Health insurance companies).

Betty Makoni
Women's Rights Advocate (Counciling Women who have been raped--Probably the most disturbing story is health rumor that men can cure HIV by raping virgins).

Derrick Tabb
Started a music ed afterschool program (teach and form bands) in New Orleans for poverished. I also read about how successful music ed program is in NY school (if interested, read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers).

Jorge Munoz
Drives a bus during the day, and at night prepares and delivers homemade meals to unemployed people in New York.

Brad Blauser
Provides wheelchairs for Iraqi kids so they are empowered with mobility. Also aids parents too.

Budi Soehardl
Budi is a pilot, but he also started an orphanage in Indonesia. They have 49 kids.

Andrea Ivory
Provides mammograms to uninsured women for early detection of breast cancer. If you see her dress at the awards show, the bustier part of the dress (I think) signifies the pink ribbon of breast cancer.

Promoting travel within states... Ever considered traveling by train?

This year because of the economy, I am seeing more people travel within the states. Well here are some steals if you don't have a lot of money to travel abroad for the holiday season. Here are some advantages compared to flight (e.g. you don't get pinged if you want to bring another bag, you don't have to go through all the security hassles, they are pretty lenient in canceling or rebooking rides, there are outlets so if you wanted to work you could, you can bring your own wireless card and use it on the train).

Amtrak offers these deals:

Rail pass

15-day pass (8-legs) for $389
They also offer 30-day and 45-day passes, perfect for students to travel together in the summer.

Tim Burton

First of all, MoMA is exhibiting Tim Burton's work.

Aside from that, if you don't live in New York, check out this site I found:

It features episodes of Stain Boy, and some characters from the Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. There is an edition where the cover is black and purple (beautiful cloth bound). Most of the animations are done in Flash and are beautiful (they are funny, ridden with sarcasm). Tim Burton is a creative genius.

Also, check out his free fonts (which are cool, and not as cheesy as most free fonts):

Chinese Senior Citizens practice hip hop on Current TV

November 28, 2009

Esquire's Augmented Reality Issue (December 2009)


In an effort to push publishing forward, Esquire magazine experiments with augmented reality. Last year, it was eInk, this year, AR. Now, I'm just going to guess that the creators used Adobe Air and/or Flash for this? Or do they use Open GL. In any case, the quest to push the digital realm of 3D to our physical spaces is hot right now. Other uses of AR is Yelp's "Monocle" feature of the iPhone app. Esquire's and Yelp's foray into AR is still premature, but nevertheless, it's definitely worth the experience (Esquire: $3.95/Yelp: free). I can really see AR in gaming or educational applications, but as Esquire demonstrates, AR can be used for advertisements as well (see Lexus AR - reappropriating infrared tech). There were some fullscreen issues with this ad (see photo below-looks like non-HD footage on HD screen). Any HD consumer of media would think this was a mistake rather than intentional.

If you are strapped for cash, just check out my screenshots, but the relevant ones are embedded in this blog post.

To begin with, Barbarian and Psyop worked on the tech and design of the AR for Esquire. You download the software onto your computer, and hold up the magazine's semicode to a web cam. I really enjoyed Robert Downey Jr.'s monologue and the fashion bit. I phased out on Jillian (maybe because of her story didn't interest me), except for the last part, which she says, visit her past midnight, and she'll tell you another joke. I am definitely going to try it after midnight to see if her content varies. You can change the direction of semicode to activate different 3D video clips.

The scattered letters for Robert Downey Jr.'s would appeal to any student of typography. The illustrations for the fashion exhibition (not really a slide show, more animation) were definitely really cool. All in all, the AR experience was beautiful and hip.

The slide show exhibiting "jr's" work was probably the most frustrating experience. Partially because jr's photographs are so compelling, but navigating through the media was très difficile. I spent a good 20 minutes flipping directions of semi-code, since the slide show player was too speedy. The photography looked better on my screen than the magazine, but navigating through print pages was definitely more convenient.

Last, was a jazz sample from an artist. An experience you can't get from print. But aside from the great music, it was a pretty flat experience. Maybe AR will help save the cost of print for publishers, but readers will pay with their time. Consider this: Would you want to download a piece of software to access to experience another dimension of your magazine? Would you do this for every magazine you have? Is this AR experience immersive enough to repeat weekly or monthly?

In any case, I was narcissistic enough to get a cool profile photo out of this experience ;)

Full-screen warning by Esquire and app confirmation.

Lexus Ad

Fashion Animation/Exhibition

Slide show of jr's compelling photography.

Music AR experience.

About November 2009

This page contains all entries posted to keeyool.com in November 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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