GestureWorks Fusion is an application that combines multimodal inputs from various HCI devices. In this proof of concept, Fusion uses voice controls and motion gestures with the Intel RealSense camera. In the final version, users will be able to define and use motion gestures, voice controls, or both simultaneously, and then apply them to applications running in Windows 8 or 10. As Ideum designed the proof of concept, we focused on providing direct user feedback, indicating which gestures were supported and when the gestures were detected. The proof of concept demonstrates that an interactive layer can be applied to software that was not intentionally designed for it, and the combination of voice and motion gesture control provides users with a rich, compelling experience.
In the proof of concept, Ideum used YouTube as a sample. With the GestureWorks Fusion demo, users can control their experience watching YouTube videos with motion gestures or with their voice. Although the proof of concept focuses on YouTube videos, these motion gestures or voice commands could be applied to games, productivity applications, and presentation software – there is a lot of potential for how GestureWorks Fusion could be applied at work and in the home.
Ideum originally developed the GestureWorks authoring platform for multitouch, but has since expanded to motion gestures and voice control. GestureWorks 3, like Fusion, allows for multimodal user inputs. Ideum also released GestureWorks Gameplay 3 earlier this year, which allows users to create controls for PC games with touch, voice, or motion.
Ideum is attending some exciting conferences in the near future. We will be sharing an exhibit booth with our exclusive Middle East partner 2point0 Concepts at the InfoComm Middle East & Africa conference in Dubai. InfoComm MEA brings together experts in the field of communication technology. We’ll be demonstrating some of our latest hardware, including a Presenter 46, a new Platform 55 4K UHD table, a Drafting Table 4K UHD 55, and a 42″ Coffee table.
Some of our newest software will be on display, including software for real estate companies and scientific research facilities. We’ll also be demonstrating our new fiducial technology, which uses 3D objects to trigger specific content on a table. Come see it all at Booth TA-A44!
Please note: Ideum multitouch tables, on display at the show, will be for sale at a discounted rate.
Ideum will show its new 55″ 4K UHD projected capacitive touch model at InfoComm 2015 in Dubai.
While we are in Dubai, we’ll also be stopping by GITEX 2015, which is happening simultaneously nearby. GITEX is an exciting and influential tech event; the themes for this year’s conference are innovation and the Internet of Everything. We’re happy to be attending!
In November, you’ll find us at the Museum Computer Network conference in Minneapolis. There, we’ll both be sharing our latest work at an exhibit booth and presenting about our Great Inka Road project with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. We’ll share more details on that conference soon.
If you are in any way connected to American higher education, you have had to live through 24+ hours of blather about the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities in the U.S.
All across America there is jubilation, gnashing of teeth, hand wringing, self-satisfied smirking, sadness, and relief-that-we-didn’t-go-down-a-spot.
Honestly, I couldn’t care less about these and any other ranking of American colleges and universities. Why? Because not one of the rankings that flood the airwaves captures the educational experiences of the 99% of college students who don’t attend one of America’s elite institutions.
Just so you understand, when we talk about “America’s Top Colleges” as though they were somehow representative of higher education in this country, we are guilty of such gross over simplification that if one of our students did that in an essay, we’d probably give him a D-. As evidence for this gross conflation of the elite institutions with higher education, I offer the following:
The top two institutions in this year’s USNews rankings are Princeton University and Williams College. Princeton’s endowment floats around $21 billion dollars. Williams College’s endowment is in the $2 billion plus range. Between them, they enroll about 10,000 students. Princeton’s endowment per student is almost $2.6 million and Williams’ is around $1.1 million.
By contrast, in the states where these elite institutions live, Montclair State University enrolls around 20,000 students and has an endowment just over $55 million. UMass Lowell enrolls around 17,500 students and has an endowment of just under $80 million. Montclair State’s endowment per student is almost $2,800 and UMass Lowell’s is almost $4,500. Thus, Princeton has more than 900 times the endowment per student of Montclair State and Williams has 244 times the endowment of UMass Lowell.
Princeton and Williams together enroll just over 10,000 students. Our two state schools together enroll just under 40,000. And those are only two of the public institutions in the local state systems.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 20 million Americans will attend college this year. Fewer than 175,000 will attend one of the 20 institutions in the two Top 10 lists in USNews. In other words, 0.8%, as in less than 1%, of all students in American colleges and universities attend one of these 20 institutions. And yet, we talk about these 20 as though they were somehow representative of American higher education.
As crude as these raw numbers are, they demonstrate very clearly how any conversation about the educational experiences of students in American higher education has to segregate out the elite institutions, just as any conversation of golf would segregate Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Jason Day from the foursome that just teed off in front of you at the local public links.
By way of corrective, here’s a good example of the reality of American higher education–a reality never discussed in USNews or any other publication that ranks American institutions:
Last year I was fortunate to come to know, in great detail, Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont. Unless you are from Vermont, you probably haven’t heard of Johnson State. But what happens there every day is what happens on campuses across this country. Among the many great and wonderful people I met when I was there were staff from housing and student life, who told me that over the holiday and summer breaks they have a number of students who they simply can’t send home, so they find ways to keep them around, warm, fed, and learning.
Can’t go home? Why not? Because there is no home for the student to return to. Because one or both parents is addicted to heroin, a scourge in rural New England just as it is across the United States. Because one of the parents is violent and the student would be at risk of substantial physical harm. Because the family is too poor to welcome back another mouth to feed.
This is not the bucolic Vermont we see in all the tourist brochures. But it is the Vermont that exists behind the pretty post cards, just as it is the Virginia that exists behind the “Virginia is for Lovers” billboards, just as it is in Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, or any other state you choose.
Far too many American students have to fight every single day just to eat, to be warm, and to learn, and far too many American colleges and universities do just what Johnson State College does–they feed those students, they put roofs over their heads somewhere, somehow, and they teach them, find them jobs, launch them into productive lives, or simply inspire them to think about the world in ways they never had before.
That, my friends, is the reality of American higher education.
And there isn’t a ranking on the planet that captures that reality.
How should history be written? And when we do write it, whose voices should we hear?
Two of my colleagues and friends, Roy Rosenzweig and Michael Mizell-Nelson, both now sadly deceased, believed that we can only really understand the past if we listen to the voices of the too often faceless and nameless majority. It is, as Roy and Michael argued throughout their careers, the lived experiences of average people that often teach us the most important lessons of history.
And so, on this the 10th anniversary of the day in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, I want to say something about a group, tossed by the storm, whose voices are almost never heard in the many accounts of Katrina and her aftermath: Katrina’s children.
In the fall of 2005, Roy, Michael, and a team of collaborators at the Center for History and New Media and the at the University of New Orleans, began a digital archiving project–the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank–with the simple goal of capturing as much of the digital record of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, all three of which battered the Gulf Coast that summer. Stories, pictures, recordings, and just about anything else they could get their hands on found their way into the memory bank. [A nice overview here]
Among the 25,000 digital objects in the archive, you can find more than 8,500 individual stories. Over the past month I’ve been reading back through those stories–stories that are still being written and deposited into our collection. Along the way I found myself gravitating to accounts written by those who whose childhood ended abruptly on August 28.
I can’t claim to have read them all–there are 8,500 stories after all. But I have spent a fair amount of time searching the story collections, slowly narrowing my results to stories about childhood, high school, teenage life, and other keywords identifying those who were children that summer. My colleague and one of the people who really made this project work, Sheila Brennan, has done something similar in the ways that an advanced digital historian might, using topic modeling techniques to find patterns emerging across all the stories in the collection. [Read about Sheila’s results here.]
What did I learn about Katrina’s children by reading their accounts of the storm and its aftermath?
As you might expect, there were those who were not devastated by the storm. They had to evacuate. They lost some possessions. They missed some school. They came home. They rebuilt. They persevered. They went on with their lives. As one put it, “we were some of the lucky ones.”
But for so many of Katrina’s children, the stories of their lives after August 28 are of disaster, indignity, fear, loss, confusion, broken families, and the rootlessness that comes with the loss of home, possessions, and friends.
“I felt helpless. I felt numb the whole time.” [Full story]
“Katrina didn’t just take my house. She took my home, my childhood, and my mental state. The person I used to be was lost along with everything else.” [Full story]
My father “saw an elderly woman being beaten to death for a 6-pack of kiddie water.” [Full story]
“Not only did I lose my home but I lost my family. Katrina not only caused an uproar in the home but a divorce that should’ve never happened…Katrina caused pain and nights of constant cry. Katrina ruined it all; Katrina ruined me.” [Full story]
These are the voices of Katrina’s children–the ones whose lives were irrevocably changed by the storm. Were it not for the efforts of pioneering digital historians like Roy and Michael, and their many colleagues and collaborators who helped build the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, these voices would be lost to us. Of course, these stories represent a tiny, unrepresentative sample of Katrina’s children.
But for now, it’s what we have.
Ideum has collaborated with our partners to create a line of 42″ multitouch tables and walls using a new type of projected capacitive touch technology. The new multitouch screens are built with silver nanowire, which has a fast response time and a high level of fidelity. Perhaps most importantly, this very fine silver mesh cannot be seen – so it doesn’t interfere with the image on the screen. The 42″ multitouch screen product line is intended to be incredibly versatile. The hardware is tough enough to be used in the same public spaces as our larger tables, but small enough to be welcomed into homes.
The new 42″ screen is available in several Ideum models. The Presenter 42 is a multitouch wall, ideal for business settings and presentations. The 42″ Duet coffee table is perfect for home or lobby and lounge settings, where people can sit comfortably to interact with the table.
The Platform 42 and Platform 42 Drafting multitouch tables will be available in September 2015. The Platform 42 is a flat multitouch table that can accommodate a pair of people working together on a project or engaging in an interactive. The Platform 42 Drafting Table’s screen is oriented at a 30-degree angle, and is great as a workstation or an eye-catching display.
Last month, we posted about Ideum’s inclusion in the Albuquerque Business First’s Fastest Growing Companies award list as well as the New Mexico Flying 40. This month, Ideum is getting even more local press. On August 10, our CEO and Creative Director Jim Spadaccini was interviewed for the Albuquerque Journal. The resulting article provides a great history of Ideum, its founder, and how Ideum ended up becoming a New Mexico business. You can read the article in the Albuquerque Journal online.
In addition to that article, Ideum was also featured in the Journal for being one of eleven New Mexico companies to make the national Inc. 5000 list, which includes the top 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. The list is created each year by Inc. Magazine; this year’s Inc. 5000 list takes into account growth from 2011 to 2014. You can read the full Journal article about the Inc. 5000 here, and for the complete list visit the Inc. 5000 website.
As Ideum continues to grow, we also continue to expand our capacity to develop custom hardware and software. We’ve also recently expanded our facility, and made some improvements to our Prototyping + Usability Lab. With our 35+ team members, Ideum continues to create exciting and inspiring visitor and user experiences.
It’s a rare experience to see a living artist participate in an interactive that your team has created about that artist’s work! Ideum recently designed and developed the Warhol / Wyeth Interactive Photo Kiosk with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in conjunction with their exhibitions Warhol’s Nature and Jamie Wyeth. We were excited to learn that not only are Crystal Bridges visitors enjoying the activity, but that Jamie Wyeth, one of the featured artists, actually used the interactive photo kiosk himself.
Artist Jamie Wyeth tries out Crystal Bridges’ Ideum interactive photo kiosk.
When Crystal Bridges visitors approach the kiosk, they choose from among several virtual backgrounds, all based on the work of either Andy Warhol or Jamie Wyeth. A RealSense camera detects the visitor, whose image appears on the screen. Visitors capture their image, then choose styles to apply to it, adding themselves to pictures reminiscent of the works of one of the two iconic American artists. After their image has been captured and the styles applied, visitors can email their picture to themselves and/or publish it onto Crystal Bridges’ Tumblr page for the activity. You can even find Jamie Wyeth’s image from the kiosk on Tumblr.
Video courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum.
Ideum, working closely with Crystal Bridges, designed and developed the application and created all of the art for the backgrounds and styles. To learn more about applications Ideum has developed, visit our Creative Services page.
Warhol’s Nature and Jamie Wyeth will be on display at Crystal Bridges through October 5th. To learn more about these exhibitions at Crystal Bridges, visit their website.
In October of this year, the Botanic Garden at the Albuquerque BioPark will be opening a new BUGarium – a building with a series of exhibits devoted exclusively to insects and other bugs. A few of us at Ideum recently got a peek behind the scenes.
Ideum is currently designing and developing an interactive for the new BUGarium that will allow visitors to “Be the Bug.” When they approach the Ideum Presenter 65 touch wall, visitors will choose from among three very different bugs. Once the visitors choose their bug, they will be presented with a life-sized mirror image of the bug which tracks and replicates their own movements using a Kinect sensor. After a few seconds admiring themselves as a giant bug in the “mirror,” visitors then take on the role of the bug and “fly” to forage or hunt for their food. The activity will be motion-based, so visitors will really get a feel of what it’s like to “Be the Bug.”
On our field trip, we got to know a few of the critters on which the interactive bugs will be modeled, as well as a few other future BUGarium inhabitants. The “Be a Bug” interactive will debut in October 2015 when the new BUGarium opens. We are very excited to be working with this great local institution as they expand their educational offerings and facilities. To learn more about interactives Ideum has designed and developed, visit our Creative Services page.