pixels             …everywhere.


More Wearable Pixels…. get out your sewing machines.

by on Aug.09, 2011, under fashion, fun, LED/OLED

sewable pixels

In early July, I posted about ‘wearable pixels“.  The other day, I came across several kinds of sew-able pixels on the inventables.com website. Here’s a picture of one kind; there are more in the Inventables site.

It looks like you can’t control individual LEDs, but it would be cool if you could. Get out your sewing machines.

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Pixels big enough to hug

by on Aug.05, 2011, under art, fun

Humbly admitting to a bit of narcissism, I googled ‘pixels everywhere‘ recently and stumbled upon ‘Pixels Motel Mozaique‘ by Dutch designers Jonas Vorwerk and Yoren Schriever. These indeed are (huge) pixels everywhere! I’m used to thinking about pixel sizes in fractions of a millimeter —these ones are fractions of a meter. In a world of megapixels, this site had decapixels (I understand they used just 50 pixels).

There’s a brief description of how the pixels work here. Each pixel’s color and brightness can be changed by tilting it (there is an accelerometer in each one). It certainly looks like people are having a lot of fun and it is pretty.

Now, if the pixels could  self-detect and if we could get content to them… Hmmmm…

Yoren Schriever on his site mentions that each cube has a data port and “…this port can also be used to communicate with the firmware, making it possible to send color commands to the cube, or read the accelerometer values from it“. Maybe it is  possible.

I wish I could have seen it in person. Great work, Jonas and Yoren. Thanks for inventing a new kind of interactive pixels. Who would have thought of pixels you could pick up and hug? I really, really like this.

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Tiny Touchable Tactile Pixels

by on Aug.03, 2011, under fun, novel technology, technology

A while ago, I wrote about Sifteo’s game tiles. Pretty cool, but seemingly single-purpose.

WIMM Labs  is developing a tiny tile-like device, but they’re treating it like a platform. In other words, it can be programmed for any number of uses and integrated into other products. The specs seem pretty impressive: 32GB storage, touchscreen, Wi-Fi, bluetooth, accelerometer, Android OS. Apparently it also includes an expansion connector, too. Small — 32mm x 36mm x 12.5mm. I guess they’re battery operated but I couldn’t find power consumption or battery life specs on their web page.

No mention of the availability or price on their website as of this writing. But if it’s low enough in cost and with the claimed connectivity, I can see these little pixelized devices going pretty much everywhere. In singletons. In groups. In the hands of creative developers, some really interesting uses are going to occur. Sifteo, now WIMM. I think we’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of devices.

Hmmm…if they could just shrink the bezel a bit more….

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Junkyard Pixels

by on Jul.18, 2011, under fun, technology

Sometimes the world changes from the top down from important technology advances and sometimes it changes from the bottom up from people quietly working in the background experimenting and exploring. Christie MicroTiles is an example of the former. The work of Moritz Waldemeyer and Vega Wang in wearable pixels are examples of the latter. So is Feliz Klassen’s experimentation with ‘malleable matter’.

Often, it’s both things happening at the same time. The “Junkyard Jumbotron” project by Rick Borovoy’s team at  MIT’s Medialab is one example.

This system sends content to an array of displays from a server. The server figures out which display gets which particular piece of the overall image. The individual displays don’t have to be all the same type and they can be arranged more or less arbitrarily. A critical problem is how to easily figure out the arrangement of the displays and Borovoy’s team has come up with a clever way to do that. First, a unique bar code is sent to each display in the array. A camera takes a picture of the entire array and sends it to a server. The servers figures out the overall arrangement from the bar codes in the picture.

Probably not  as accurate as the single pixel accuracy of a MicroTile array but certainly close enough for fun displays like this. Because of how the images are sent, the jumbotron currently isn’t suitable for video. But it seems highly suitable for experimenting and exploring.

You can download the software from their project website. Others have begun to play with it like this group of students and KMP Digitata .

Pixels everywhere.… one little display at a time!

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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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