A few years ago, when The Emoti-Chair project was fairly new, we decided to put on a rock and roll show. We put together a few amazing bands and brought out five Emoti-Chairs to a great venue in Toronto called Clinton's. These were very early prototypes, but already we could see that people were enjoying them. This little show grabbed the attention of the media for a few days in 2008. Here was one of the interviews I gave about the show and the research project, this one for the local morning show in Barrie, Ontario. The one and only Fox Jaws was with me as well.
I have been teaching an introduction to programming course this semester and have been recording my lectures. I've posted them to YouTube for all to enjoy free of charge. I've assembled all the videos into a playlist here:
TORONTO, Oct. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - What do you get when you combine a good old-fashioned game of capture the flag with players in power wheelchairs or scooters and a GPS-based smartphone app? The Mobility Games. And it's coming to Toronto's Joel Weeks Park on Saturday, October 5 at 3 p.m.
The concept of Mobility Games is this: developers map out a virtual capture the flag playing field, and players download an app that displays the field on their smartphone, which then tracks the GPS coordinates of the players in real-time as they move. Players simply snap their smartphone into a wheelchair-accessible mount that essentially turns their smartphone into a side-mirror-level GPS. Players who can't interact with their smartphone directly can access the mobile devices using technology developed by Komodo OpenLab, a startup based in the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University. Their device, Tecla Shield, is a wireless interface that allows users with disabilities to control smartphones and tablets using their wheelchair-driving controls or other type of assistive devices. (Detailed rules of the game are explained in this YouTube video.)
The brainchild of innovators from Centennial College, Ryerson University, and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, the Mobility Games is part of a broader body of research into inclusive technologies, being funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Recognizing that technology often excludes people with disabilities, the team aims to create an inclusive virtual entertainment and technology solution that enables people in wheelchairs or scooters to actively participate in a traditionally non-inclusive social and physical activity.
I've been leading a great team of Centennial College students in the development of a mixed reality video game targeted at users of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs. It uses 3G internet connections, Google Maps and GPS to implement a game layer over real space. How does it work? Check out the video below.
What does vibrotactile music sound like? Well vibrotactile music is actually meant to be felt on your skin, rather than heard through your ears, but unless you have an Emoti-Chair or can come by Ryerson to try one, you won't be able to feel any vibrotactile compositions. However, since vibration and sound are one in the same, you can certainly still hear vibrotactile compositions. If you were so inclinded you could simply play this composition through a large speaker, turn up the volume and put your hand on it (deaf people have used this method to listen to music for a long time).
Below is an example of one of the world's first truly vibrotactile compositions. This piece was created by local musician and photographer Robert Skelhorn using The Vibrochord. For each composer that I had come into the lab I asked them to compose either a happy song, or a sad song. What emotion do you think to composition below is conveying?
I am going to be fairly busy this week showcasing my work at a number of exciting venues.
The first will be at this years NXNE Interactive in Toronto, Ontario. I'll be giving a super short talk on my work on The Vibrochord as part of their Built series . It's an interesting talk format that I've never tried before. It a five minute talk, with 20 slides automatically advancing every 15 seconds. I'm not too sure what to expect, but it should be fun at least. There are two days during which talks take place, June 13th and June 14th. I'll be the first speaker on the 14th. See you there??
The second will be on Saturday in London, Ontario at Museum London as part of Nuit Blanche. My colleague Sai Cherukumilli will be showcasing his work on The Vibromotion and I will be showcasing The Vibrochord. There will be a number of local sound artists there as well, experimenting with the Emoti-Chair and its various implementations. We start at 9:00pm and party till the sun (almost) comes up, 3:00 am.