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January 20, 2009

Virtual Character

Through the writers and creators of (comic)books, cartoons, animations and games, imaginary figures have been able to develop very real characters. They come alive and especially in electronic games you can interact with them. New communication tools on the Internet, especially Twitter, now seem to bring alive "the biologically challenged"; objects.

The best known is the Phoenix Mars lander currently exploring the surface of the planet Mars and sharing its acts and thoughts. It's bio says it all "I dig Mars!". According to animator Lee Lefever "[..] they gave that little machine a personality on Twitter". It even won three "Twitties" (awards for Twitter messages).
I started a similar blogfeed for VIRVIE's animation's lead figure Virrt. And the latest example is Air Force One (yes, Obama's new ride). Although that one will probably be tweeting "no comment" quite often.

I think the whole thing best resembles a 'Punch and Judy show', but in this case grown-ups are the enthusiast spectators, shouting to the stage.

It does apparently fill a need. People look for human traits in objects, see for example the discussion on 'software with an attitude' on the weblog Signal vs. Noise.
All of the above examples have humans behind them of course, but even that might change in the future. This evolution is already in progress judging from the BIOMODD installation by Angelo Vermeulen. So watch out ;-)

Posted by Almar at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2009

Extending the Senses

The web is still mostly a visual experience although sound (especially through video) is catching up. The intentional use of sound (apart from the supporting soundtrack in video's) is however still rare. There are experts around that make a strong case for the use of sound; see for example SonicID's weblog. Note how they 'Explore[..] branding and identity with music, sound, voice and silence'. The latter is only possible of course when you use sound in the first place; you need the contrast. And this is exactly why triggering different senses should be considered more often.

Mickey's senses

Also (3D) movement and touch are increasingly getting a virtual extension. The first is most evident in the Nintendo Wii game console, but also in the ear-movements of the Nabaztag (which respond to electronic messages). Touch is in a basic form coming online through 'tag-readers' like (again) the Nabaztag and Tikitag. Another example of virtually connecting through (spatial) movement is the forthcoming 'Sekai Camera'; it will allow you the access an added reality in the space you are in.

The senses 'smell' and 'taste' are probably still further away, although research in 'olfactory displays' is well underway.
The breakthroughs will probably come from playfull applications like the RJDJ games are for sound and movement on the iPod/iPhone.

Posted by Almar at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)