levelHead – Augmented reality puzzle game

Despite coming of age; this demo remains one of my favorite examples of augmented reality applications. This one uses your computers camera (or an external one, no mobile versions that I know of) to view a cube with markers attached to each side. Through naked eyes, it’s a paper cube with cryptic symbols—but with the aid of cameras and computer program; digital metamorphosis produces something entirely different.

If you still haven’t already succumbed to skipping my ramblings—go watch the demo of levelHead by Julian Oliver! (embedded video below.)

levelHead Video

levelHead v1.0, 3 cube speed-run (spoiler!) from Julian Oliver on Vimeo.

Main points of fascination

  • Physical object interaction; virtual worlds are dependent- and intertwined with physical objects (the cubes) in the environment. (Opposed to displaying virtual objects that have no connection to reality, which in my opinion is removing the “reality” out of “augmented.)
  • The cube, simple as it is, gives the impression of a gateway into an entirely different world.
  • Simplicity. With the environment shaded and lit, the flat white character is simple and adds a mysterious touch to the experience.
  • The cube is the controller as well as viewer; an intuitive solution for containing the game experience entirely within a simple paper cube.
  • The game is easy to replicate if desired; all you need is the right program and a paper cube with printouts.
  • Considering the Future: Remember Myst? I can easily envision an entire game in that style: purely contained within a paper cube, or even interchangeable shapes such as orbs or other simple ones for different environments (perhaps even a few in-game tools).

LevelHead information excerpt

Using tilt motions, the player moves a character through rooms that appear inside one of several cubes on a table. Each room is logically connected by a series of doors, though some doors lead nowhere (they are traps).

The player has 2 minutes to find the exit of each cube, leading the character into the entrance of the next.

Work is also being done to use invisible markers such that the cube itself appears entirely white to the naked eye.

Visit the project page of Julian Oliver’s levelHead

Thanks for an inspirational game concept, Julian!

Generative art with Algorithm Ink & ContextFree.js

Check out this really amazing animation artwork done through a web interface to the ContextFree.js library created by Aza Raskin, a port of the open source application by Chris Coyn. It provides means of creating beautiful generative art with minuscule amounts of code. Make sure you watch it to the end where the Sierpiński triangle is generated with 3 lines of code.

Absolut Adopts Machines & Artificial Creativity

Art from the Absolut Choir installation
By all likelihood you’ve heard of the vodka company’s Absolut campaigns. Recently they launched Absolut Machines, a new campaign that’ll be running for a year and centers around two artificial creativity projects; AI systems that compose music on accompanying mechanical instruments and can be watched & interacted with via live video feeds.

A Laser Harpist Wears No Periwigs [video]

The Laser Harp being played

EDIT (Jan. 3rd, 2010): Mr. Geoffrey Rose, inventor of the laser harp, has enlightened us about the harp’s history in the comments below.

When I imagine a harp I’m inclined see men wearing white periwigs and court-dressed baronesses listening to the royal harpist through clinging of crystal glasses. But not after this. Click through to see an interactive, musical laser array and have cyberpunked visions of the future augment your seventeenth century harp idiosyncrasies.

Mechanical Ocean Creatures, Les Machines de L’Ile Nantes

The Machine Squid
I’ve visited France. Seen the Mona Lisa, Hector Guimard’s amazing art nouveau subway entrances and the gothic Notre Dame cathedral. Now France visits Think Artificial: The city of Nantes, birthplace of science fiction pioneer Jules Verne, is the host of a machine art exhibit titled Les Machines de l’Ile (Island Machines); a collection of mechanical oceanic animals. See the amazing artwork after the jump.

Cloud, Digital Sculpture by Troika

Created by Troika, an art and design studio in London, “Cloud” is a digital sculpture housed at the luxury lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5. It’s a smooth-shaped object suspended in the air, covered with 4638 “flip dots” – motorized metal patches that change orientation to produce various patterns. Video and more information after the jump.

The Ra Desk Lamp by Ettore Cimini

The Ra desk lamp is not your average desk lamp in terms of visual value. The artificial vertebrae design rattles loudly on my aesthetic scale.

Think Artificial Redesigned for 2008

Think Artificial design in 2007 and 2008
Ladies and gentlemen, put your 3D glasses on now. Finally, Think Artificial launches a custom design to go with the content. It took me time to get around to, but better late than never. Tailored to usher in tales from the future, from science fiction to science fact, this metamorphosis echoes ambition for the new year. And oh, does a side-by-side comparison make the last design look prehistoric. A dinosaur, and not the animatronic kind.

Matalosis Maligna: Metal Implants, Growing

Metalosis Maligna infected rat
Prosthetics and implants; the hunt for increased longevity and improved physical attributes carry a horrifying cost. Or so is the theme in a short documentary of the fictitious disease Metalosis Maligna. A bacterial infection around implants triggers a growth process within it, causing the implant’s steel to expand and branch-out with devastating effects to the host.

Concept Art: Robotic Chair Follows You Around

Jelte's robotic stalker chair
It’s not paranoya if someone’s actually following you. But in this case, it’s helpful: Visit the library, poke your card at the nearest chair and it’ll follow you around, aptly providing seating once you’ve found a nice cozy place to read. Unfortunately it looks as though this is pure concept art with no actual implementation or research — a conclusion I’m embarrassed to admit took a few minutes to arrive at by watching the video. But a nice concept nonetheless and since it managed to dupe me, if only for a short while, I think it deserves some attention.

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