pixels             …everywhere.

Archive for July, 2011

The world as a (social) canvas

by on Jul.12, 2011, under architecture, art, MicroTiles, musings

Most of us use so-called social media…. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…. but in some ways they are anti-social media. Why? Because we’re somewhere else from whomever we’re socializing with. Separate. Alone.

When we become surrounded by pixels,  new ways of interacting, sharing, communicating, will emerge. All it will take is large amounts of pixels on the walls around us. Pixels that are interactive, responsive.

There was glimpse into this future at the recent InfoComm 2011 in Orlando where Baanto and Christie partnered to show something called “the Graffiti Wall”. Multiple people could interact with a 12 tile wide by 4 tile high (16′ x 4′) MicroTile wall using Baanto’s Shadowsense technology. If you watch the video, you’ll see multiple people simultaneously interacting with the wall and with each other. They not only used traditional gesture-based interactivity, they also used artists’ brushes to create a more natural illusion of drawing.

Imagine this in classrooms. In meeting rooms. In our homes. In public spaces. What new killer apps will emerge that weren’t possible before?

(full disclosure: I’m recently retired from Christie, and represent them on Baanto’s board. It doesn’t matter — I would think this is very cool no matter what!)

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Energy Use for Large Outdoor Displays Improving

by on Jul.12, 2011, under energy use, LED/OLED

I’ve commented several times that pixels won’t be everywhere unless power consumption significantly drops. David Haynes over at the sixteen:nine blog wrote an interesting article about energy consumption improvements in electronic billboards. The good news is that the industry claims a significant improvement (in part based on using them in smarter ways); the bad news is that energy consumption is still very high.


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ePaper Advances

by on Jul.11, 2011, under electronic ink, technology

The digital light future won’t be based on any one particular technology. Different technologies will solve different needs. And, as was mentioned in an earlier post, there are some serious obstacles that need to be overcome. Power consumption and energy efficiency are high on that list. Most technologies emit light. The brighter they are, the more energy they use.

Reflective technologies instead use the ambient light around us and thus consume much less power. The downside is that the display contrast is lower and they obviously aren’t much good in the dark. Display contrast in a brightly lit room isn’t as big a factor as one would think –the real contrast of pretty much any display is less in a bright environment.

Electronic ink  –ePaper, eInk, whatever you want to call it– is one reflective technology that could be important to the future of digital light. Fujitsu has announced an improved color cholesteric (no backlight needed) LCD display recently. Pixel pitch is tiny — 0.16mm — so the pixels are effectively not noticeable. The display isn’t suitable for video (0.7 seconds to change an image) but for many ‘pixels everywhere’ applications, semi-static  images will do nicely.  The question will be how far this can be scaled up in size and down in cost per square meter.

If you’re interested in the general field of ePaper,this link will give you an overview of the field: http://www.epapercentral.com/epaper-technologies-guide

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Genealogies of Digital Light… Australia

by on Jul.08, 2011, under art, musings

A considerable amount of work in digital light is being done from an artistic perspective. One example is Filiz Klassen’s work at Ryerson University in Canada described in an earlier post.

Another example is the collaborative work being done by researchers at three Australian universities. Their project description is “Genealogies of Digital Light” and it’s described in more detail here: http://www.digital-light.net.au/node/40

Quoting from their website:

“The Genealogies of Digital Light ARC Discovery project will provide a critical account of the capacities and limitations of contemporary digital light-based technologies and techniques by tracing their genealogies and comparing them with their predecessor media. Through interview, analysis, experiment and critique, we hope to demonstrate that artists and artisans have a major role in redefining technologies through technique; and that close acquaintance with and appreciation of their working practices and the principles they work to are a significant resource for future generations.”

Artists certainly will have a major influence in a future world of ‘pixels everywhere’. This collaboration’s research focus is naturally academic but who knows where it will lead. According to their project website, they’ve already held a symposium this past March.

I’ve contacted one of the principal researchers and I hope I’ll be able to report more about their research in future posts  –or perhaps even get a guest post if I’m fortunate.

Worth keeping an eye on. This could yield useful insight into the convergence of light and technology.

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Wearable Pixels

by on Jul.07, 2011, under art, electronic ink, fashion, technology

Moritz Waldemeyer's "Heartbeat"

People have been experimenting for some time with wearable pixels. For instance, Moritz Waldemeyer in the UK has become well-known in digital fashion; he also has an interesting blog. Another example of his work is in the video below that goes back several years.

Vega Wang in China experimented with electroluminescence in clothing.

Vera Wang E-L clothing

There was even a ‘wearable’ version of the arduino controller called the lilypad that was available in the past for experimentation with wearable electronics.  On the whole, though, it seems this field of digital light is in a holding pattern. Problems that need to be solved are power, weight, resolution, wiring, bulk, to name a few. Maybe a reflective technology based on ePaper (eCloth?) will be part of the solution. Someday. Until then, Pixels On Us may have to wait.



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Tiny pixels in your child’s pocket

by on Jul.07, 2011, under fun, news

Pixels will be soon in your child’s toy box. Or in her pockets. Pixels that interact with her and respond to how she plays with them.

Sifteo is doing some pioneering work with a pixelized toy called Sifteo Cubes which incidentally just won a 2011 IDEA silver award. Their blog is really interesting, too. They seem to be thinking deeply about play, interactivity, and technology. I wish I had grandkids to buy this for. Heck, I might just buy some for myself!

Will advertisers find a way to deliver their message on to toys? Let’s hope it won’t happen soon. Maybe Sifteo will blog about their thoughts about that.

Pixels everywhere and anywhere, on every scale.

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We’ll know Digital Light has arrived when …

by on Jul.07, 2011, under pixel mapping

…when Projection Mapping is simply called ‘projection’. Or simply ‘lighting’.

Lighting? Projection?

I think projection mapping (or 3D mapping as some call it) is awesome. But have you noticed how mainstream it’s become? It was only 2008 when Robert Lepage’s groundbreaking Image Mill went live …groundbreaking in size, scope, beauty. Since then, there have been many, many, examples of projection mapping on buildings like Ralph Lauren in London , H&M in Amsterdam and the Joule Hotel last year (for more examples, see Amy-Mae Elliot’s Mashable article.

Now, it’s being done on smaller scales, like onto cars ( Toyota Auris) or sculptures like in yesterday’s post.

Does anyone doubt that this will become commonplace? Soon? It’s just light… digital light.

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