Category: IoT (Internet of Things)

Thingys/ Industry 4.0

I signed up for a free Futurelearn IoT ‘The Internet of things’ online course at kings college London. I wanted to find out more about the IoT tech side, the networks, infrastructure, Smart cities etc…the course was really geared towards entrepreneurs intent on starting their own IoT company but there was some interesting opinions and ideas from future thinkers.

Over the last few months as I was investigating sites that allow you to visualise data. I came across one called Pachube (pronounced: Patch-Bay), a data infrastructure and community for the Internet of Things i.e the twitter of IoT was the utopian vision…unfortunately it was sold to another company Xively in 2013, to become a public cloud for the IoT. Needless to say it is no longer free, most IoT companies are now attempting to monetise things.

The founder of Pachube and person who impressed the most on the future Learn course was an architect turned Technologist called Usman Haque. He seems to have a utopian vision for IoT and has now another umbrella company in London called appropiately…Umbrellium. They design and build technological tools to support citizen empowerment and high impact engagement in cities.

Some of their Inititatives are diverse…Assemblance, a collaborative immersive environment…or Porthole, an augmented reality application that contextualises energy and environmental information by overlaying three-dimensional interactive real-time data visualisations directly on the camera view of a mobile phone….or Wearon a prototyping platform for wearable designers to connect their devices quickly and simply to a smartphone, to the web and to each other….

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which finally brings me to the wonderful Thingful a search engine for the Internet of Things, providing a unique geographical index of connected objects around the world.

Inspiratio

We have been asked by Jonathan to present an artist/Group that inspires us, and that impacts on our own making of work. I could not just put x1 Artist or group that inspires me as I am still exploring various avenues of making…Sensors + Arduino, VR/Augmented Reality, IoT/Video.

So I chose x3 artists and aspects of their work that get me excited.

Andrew Thomas Huang: (VR/Augmented Reality)

I first came across the work of Andrew Thomas Huang when he directed the video for Bjork’s Stonemilker [1] track, it was a 360 virtual Reality experience.

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Also Her ‘Vulincura, moving album cover’.

Some of his instagram ‘sketches’ are below. He seems to combine constructed objects, puppets etc..

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…with 3D imagery and CGI effects.

They seem to be of strange, fierce and mythical 3D rendered creatures, which are beautiful. He is Asian/American and seems to have that affinity for a bright and powerful colour palette, oranges and turquoises mix with deep reds and day-glo limes.

TeamLab: (Sensors + Arduino)

TeamLab are a Japanese ‘Ultra Technologist Group’ comprising of UI engineers, CG animators, web designers, software architects and mathematicians.

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Their founder Toshiyuki Inoko believes…

“Technology and culture can evolve society, and that the start of the information age was a revolution in Society and it will be looked back on in a few hundred years as a Renaissance and a new dawn.”[2]

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I like the fact that they take from ancient Japanese culture and thorough experimentation and innovation blur the boundaries between science, technology, art and design. They use sensors a lot to trigger particular events in their installations.

Mark Leckey: (IoT/Video)

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A performance work of his, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction (2010) touched me as it seems to me he is trying to give a plaintive voice to the object, the thing. There is a strange kind of brutal pathos in the thought of an object trying to find its voice in the world of humans and sentient beings.

The Fridge stands on a green screen infinity cyc while ‘he coaxes it into revealing its thoughts and actions’. It shows a shiny black Samsung smart fridge pondering its existence and mingling with like objects. In a scientifically-charged description that concerns its inner workings, the fridge’s anguished, robotic first person voiceover renders audible its inner life and its potential dreams. As we create increasingly smarter objects, Leckey predicts a world in which things become sentient, start communicating, and alter our environment into new digital ecosystems.

“Now, instead of wanting to seduce an object into offering up its meaning, Leckey seemed to want the object to consume him. The work began with his inhaling the gases used as coolant for a Samsung fridge: a kind of shamanistic ritual in which, in order to understand the fridge, he took on some of its characteristics. The fridge sang back a kind of mournful plainchant: “See, see, see we assemble. See we assemble. See we assemble; Samsung, Viking, Gaggenau and Whirlpool …” The work, Leckey said, is a kind of fantasy: that he could bring himself into “a state outside of myself, fridge-like, less-human, feeling like an image”. As if he wanted to dissolve into pixels.

You could see the work as nodding to the notion of the internet of things – the technology through which objects, especially consumer appliances, will be connected online and see it more broadly, as a reaction to the fact that technology is triggering strange, disruptive new relationships between humans, objects and images; people, animals and machines.” [3]

Dirtbox

#1 Soil Touch Sensitive/Earth as Interface.

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The experiment was sparked by a musical effects unit I saw a while back, but it ties in with my current exploration of what exactly constitutes an interface? and of taking various inanimate objects or physical elements across the threshold into the digital realm and onto the screen.

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This started out as a proximity sensor to generate code from the soil, but as It emerged I thought it would be nicer to make people ‘get their hands dirty’ and actually touch the soil to generate a series of numbers (single and double digit), which can be seen in the serial port. These fluctuate depending on how hard the soil is pressed.

The soil is always visible through the perspex, there is a sensor hidden just below the top layer of soil. I have added an alchemist Earth symbol atop a piece of wood, to give it a ritual aspect and maybe remind myself that it is ‘Earth as interface’. The Arduino jumper wire is also green, the wiring earth colour. The numbers can now be manipulated to turn into sound, or colour, images, infographics etc…which is the next step.

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The underlying concept and process is important, but also the whole set up must look aesthetically pleasing to me, like in a Japanese fruit market where the price is not based on weight or size but on how beautiful the object is.

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Note to Self:

  • Question: Do I want to bring the virtual object on the screen to the physical world?…or the object from the physical world into the virtual, or both?
  • Question: Is the information generated and how it is displayed the ‘final outcome’ or is it just part of the process, and the finished piece then still to be arrived at?