At NYU Show, Tech Takes an Artistic Turn

In their biannual hybrid of an art show and science fair, students from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University gave the public a peek at their recent design projects. 

We first visited with Ginny Hung who let me take a ride in her project, called Channels. Forget joysticks or Wii-motes--Hung and her collaborators let gamers control a virtual boat by splashing around in two buckets. Force sensors in each can determine the direction of the swirling water's flow and therefore how the gamer is paddling. She says one challenge was finding the perfect force probe that would bend in the water without breaking. The answer: plastic spoons.

 What could be even more relaxing than a boat ride? A rocking chair. But this suped-up rocker isn't meant for grandma--unless she has really good rhythm. Dan Scofield's Cadence Chair reveals a hidden video if you rock just right and press two buttons on the handles evenly. The "standard issue" chair, he says, has an accelerometer strapped to its back.  

After all that sitting, I was ready for Lucas Werthein's augmented reality exhibition Atomos. A projector shines a series of spots on a wall and instructions ask users to push them (virtually) into circles also projected on the wall. Werthein says the system works similarly to the Xbox Kinect--an infrared projector and camera to track people and objects and control video games. Werthein says the show is a great chance for game testing. 

Eszter Ozswald's Silhouette Play is already tapping the Kinect's power. In another augmented reality project, she asks users to plaster a white wall with their own shadows. The goal is to cover up as much white space as possible without overlapping. If you overlap too much, the game ends and you lose.

The show continues tonight, so check it out if you're in the New York City area.

Video by Joshua Romero

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