Thursday, February 28, 2008


Carlos Ruano, IMM 2007-2008, Sheridan

Director of Technology and CNMA(1) 2006 Programmer of the Year James Eberhardt came to Sheridan and showed the class the basics and trends about Developing for Mobile Platforms.

Ten years of developing experience have put Eberhardt in the understanding that different technologies and program structures should be applied to the different types and brands of cell phones in the market instead of just having one master program for all of them. This makes mobile development a tricky field to work with specially for Flash Developers because Flash Lite(2) is not available for a big range of models.

Applications like Flickr Upload, and the use of QR Codes(3) using a Wi-Fi enabled mobile phone were demonstrated by the developer who talked about the importance of creating enhancing programs for people to be able to send and receive information in a practical and compressed way in order to reduce costs and time.

When all the bubbling technologies at the moment are turning their faces to mobile devices another challenging fact are the elevated costs of the Internet service trough the different mobile companies which appears as another obstacle for Web based mobile applications.

Developing for a mobile platform is a challenging labor that involves creativity and knowledge of the different technologies that are available to use at the moment. While Java based applications have the major impact right now, Adobe seems to be taking it easy while only supporting AS2 in their Flash Lite platform. Good challenge in here!

(1).- Canadian New Media Awards recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and companies in the Canadian new media industry.

(2).- Adobe® Flash® Lite™ software is a runtime engine for mobile and consumer electronics devices that used by both device manufacturers and content developers.

(3).- A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response", as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. QR Codes are common in Japan where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional code.

Related Links

James Eberhardt Homesite

QRcode Homesite

Nokia – Flash Lite Discussion Board

Highlights of Adobe at Mobile World Congress 2008

Adobe Showcase Mobile Devices Apps

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Social Media Reflections

Carlos Ruano, IMM 2007-2008, Sheridan

“Social Media wants to be free” are the words of Emerging Media Consultant Wayne MacPhail(1) who based his lecture in the concept of the Web 2.0 referring to the social aspect of the Web content where the authorative is replaced by the user created.

The creation of collaborative content trough the Web is what MacPhail punctualized as the best way to achieve Social Media that encourages conversation, community and society.

Concepts like tagging, bookmarking and sharing are the basics of the new interaction trough the Web, the one that is creating successful companies and concepts from the basic blogging; sharing pictures and video; RSS feeds, to the complex Mogulus ( video chat and others.

The well referred transition of the Internet from an “Ad Space” to the new “Global Village” can depend strongly on how much we the human decide to share about our lives and how much we want to have a presence inside the Web Universe, opium of the new generation but still far from the “real thing” Social Media appears in the horizon like one of the best business and research fields of our age.

Whilst talking about the future of New Media, MacPhail pointed at Mobile Technology as the next step for the Social Network when the iPhone SDK with Adobe Flash Air allowed can be a new opportunity for developers to explode the new fields of interaction.

(1).-After over a decade in the online business, Wayne MacPhail is currently the Web coordinator for Centennial College. He’s been a print and online journalist for over 25 years. After experimenting with hypertext systems as a reporter in the ‘80s, He founded and directed Southam InfoLab in 1991. InfoLab was a national research and development facility for future information products. InfoLab created some of the first educational CD-ROMs in Canada including True North — Arrivals and Understanding McLuhan. InfoLab also developed an SGML-based content management system for Southam in 1995.

In 1997 Wayne co-created Beavers — Canadian Content with Bite for AOL Canada. He went on to develop content for MSN, @Home Canada, Bell Emergis, CANOE, and Sympatico-Lycos. At Sympatico-Lycos, he was Director of Content. In 2000 he co-wrote one of the first pieces of online-only investigative reporting in Canada, Spin Doctors,, for Wayne has also been the Chief Knowledge Officer for Cyberplex. He has taught online writing and computer/human interface design at Centennial College, Sheridan College, Ryerson University, McMaster University and the Summer Institute for Film and Television. Wayne has consulted on emerging media for Hollinger, the Ontario Science Centre, @Home Canada, the Metro Toronto Archives, Omega Performance and Canadian Geographic. He’s also a published and produced playwright, a champion of usability, and the president of Online Writing Coach.

Related Links

Article: Content. No thanks! By Wayne MacPhail

Article: Missing the Medium. By Wayne MacPhail

Wayne MacPhail’s Portfolio

Blog: Curiosity Cast

Wayne MacPhail in Second Life

The two sides of the Media Development

Carlos Ruano, IMM 2007-2008, Sheridan

One big day downtown Toronto. First, visiting the Royal Ontario Museum* where Senior Director of New Media Resources, Brian Porter, showed us his work, and after that, breaking into the lab of who they call “The Cyborg”, inventor Steve Mann himself.

Digital Media Developer and journalist Brian Porter talked about his experience trough the challenging task of introducing the ROM to the digital world (with a weak low budget) using audio, video, touch and video basic interaction to enhance the experience of the visitors.

“Have as much different experiences as you can into the different fields of media” were the words of this experienced developer that also recommended to “Mix powerful media with good contents in order to reach the goals of your projects”.

Talking to Brian Porter was a good learning passage on how to adapt yourself to the resources you get and experiment with different kinds of media in order to improve the experience of the public.

Standing in front of Mister Steve Mann, Inventor and University of Toronto Professor, is enough to call that day a “big day”. “We live in the cyborg era. Everyone is tied to the social network” Mann says. “My new wave is to return to the primary media, take a break and go to the fundamentals” he stops.

With a deep way to comprehend technology, the inventor explained his creative processes initiating in dreams and ending into new objects, applications, and ideas that provide a new manner to face the world. One case of that approaching is the “Hydraulophone”, Steve Mann’s waterflute oriented to provide entertainment to different groups of people among with an educational frame for kids and music production.

After visiting the ROM and Steve Mann’s laboratory I can say I faced the two sides of the Multimedia Development: the rough “real” work field where budgets and timelines rule the construction of a digital face for the ROM, and the visionary but certainly fragile world of creation where Steve Mann can write his name in golden letters in a lucky day or walk by as a computer freak in a messy lab when trying to solve the mystery of the human-machine interaction.


Digital Media at the ROM

“New Media is the Message” ArticleMcLuhan Lectures 2005 July 13 Tony Hushion and Brian Porter

Steve Mann Homesite

Wereable Computer

The Cyborg logs by Steve Mann

Monday, December 10, 2007

Simon Conlin - Misc Media

Carlos Ruano, IMM 2007-2008, Sheridan

Consultant and Interactive Strategist Simon Conlin(1) showed the class the different tendencies that are going on around the globe in relation to Flash Development and the applications of dynamic computer contents in arts and spectacles.

“This is a good moment in the industry for the Interactive” said Conlin, whilst he made reference to the work of different media developers around the world who are working with elements like motion capture, mobile technologies, use of motion controllers and other tools to produce engaging applications.

Developers like Zach Simpson(2) and Jeff Han(3) were shown as significant examples of the current tendencies of interactive media production. Whilst Simpson is applying interactivity to Museums and Galleries using his knowledge in physics, math, art and nature, Hann has been producing touch and movement trackers with very productive results such as games and other kinds of features.

Education, commerce and entertainment are applications of interactive products, pointed out by the speaker as the most relevant by the moment. “It is important to take old things and relate them with the new technologies to become with something successful” he mentioned.

When Conlin made reference to the future tendencies of the Interactive Media he mentioned the mobile technology as “the next round for video and flash applications”. He recommended working in groups to collide different abilities and knowledge in order to produce engaging applications.

In a world that is being invaded by interactive walls and movement sensitive stages, creativity becomes the ultimate tool to make the difference while applying new technologies to fields that flash has never stepped into.

(1).- Experienced on working within the Music industry, Advertising & Marketing sectors, bespoke interactive design solutions and traditional designs and strategy for anything media related from TV to Wireless Mobile / PDA. For the most part, his career history has involved positioning new media strategies, sourcing and managing external agencies, driving creative, artistic and technical resources, overseeing product development, guiding and coaching all activities that generate growth and monitoring and evaluating new avenues and technologies.

(2).- Zachary Booth Simpson is an engineer, scientist and artist. A high-school dropout, he was a game developer and the Director of Technology for Origin and Titanic Entertainment from 1991-1997. He was Origin's only research fellow in 1998 during which time he wrote an early paper on the in-game economics of Ultima Online. In 1999, he began creating interactive art using projectors, cameras, and shadow detection algorithms under the name Mine-Control. His series of artworks entitled Shadow Garden is installed in museums world-wide. He also invented related methods using infrared to create large projected touch screens, flashlight interactions, and floor interactions which he has shown at SIGGRAPH 2002, 2004, and 2006. He also works as a molecular biologist at the Marcotte Lab, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin where he researches biological signal transduction, synthetic biology, amorphous computing, and various other topics.

(3).- Consultant. Department of Computer Science. Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. New York University. Research scientist for NYU's Department of Computer Science, currently working with Yann Lecun on various autonomous robot navigation projects, while also finding time to direct some of his own research. Over the years, He have also worked with several other professors at Courant, including Ken Perlin on projects like the Kaleidoscope, with Denis Zorin on mesh simulation, and with Chris Bregler on motion capture. His research interests have historically been real-time computer graphics and real-time computer vision, but he has taken on a more recent focus on human-computer interfaces and machine learning.

Related Links

Simon Conlin Homepage

New Media Company

Media Solutions

Futiristic Forniture

Artistic endeavor of Zachary Booth Simpson

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gesture Tek

Carlos Ruano, IMM 2007-2008, Sheridan

High Technology begins with simple ideas. GestureTek(1) develops applications and tools which create an interactive environment and facilitate the interaction between users and computer programs.

GestureTek’s (GT) first prototype was launched in 1986. Since that moment, Vincent John Vincent and his crew have been constructing several interfaces that are being used by different companies (Gaming, Education, Sports, Entertainment, Rehabilitation Processes, Museums, Science Centers, Weather TV Stations and Merchandising) to produce high-end interactive applications.

GT has created human-computer interaction by developing tools in the fields of body tracking, immersion and hand tracking, as replacements for traditional human-computer interaction (for example keyboard and mouse).

In my opinion, the use of new inputs is making the difference in the computational and gaming environment through the conception of replacing the regular ways to interact with computers. The more people feel involved in the application the more they enjoy their use of the programs.

The new waves of interaction are a field where hard working programmers and developers like Vincent John Vincent and his team find an ideal place to innovate. The way they build simple, safe and reachable interfaces for users is an extremely powerful tool that different companies handle to advertise, share and introduce their products to different audiences.

By targeting their newest research to mobile technology, GT’s source of new inventions rely on a mixture of creativity and simplicity rather than considerable financial investment.

(1).-“GestureTek Inc™, (originally called JesterTek) is the inventor of, and has been the world leader since 1986 in camera-enabled computer control pioneering “applied computer vision” to computer human interaction. Our multi-patented VGC (Video Gesture Control Technology) has enabled them to create a variety of products that allows the user to interact with on-screen computer content from a distance using gestures, without having to wear, hold or touch anything”. Gesture-Tek Corporation.

Related Links

GT Homepage

GestureTek Talks Xbox 360 Camera Innovation

GestureTek selects NetSuite to power explosive growth

Cellular giant signs GestureTek

GestPoint (HoloPoint and ClearTouch)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Visualization Design Institute

Carlos Ruano, IMM 2007-2008, Sheridan

Today, we visited the Visualization Design Institute (VDI) which is an important Research Department of Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning(1). This people have been working for approximately nine years developing computer based software and visualization tools worth for education, entertainments and cultural research.

We have come to the following conclusions after combining online research with Visualization Researcher and Developer Song Ho Ahn and Senior Web Developer Ian Howatson expositions:

  • F.A.C.E. (Facial Animation Communication Engine), which is a real-time facial animation tracking system that is being developed at VDI, has the purpose of capturing human face’s shape and movement in order to make it useful in gaming environments. In my opinion the development this kind of tools helps to construct interactive interfaces that may turn gaming into more interactive applications and increase their appeal to different audiences.

  • The interface of F.A.C.E. involves deep investigation into the fields of shape recognition, color and grayscale analysis, 3-D, and Facial Action Parameters. That new knowledge can be used in future works related to emerging technologies such as body and motion recognition, medical and physiological analysis and virtual reality, including interactive applications related to entertainment and to the new ways of interaction between human and computers.

  • Understanding visualization as ‘the technologies that are used to transform information into a visual form, enabling the viewer to easily understand the information using interactive graphics and visual design(2)” we realized that the work done by Immersion Studios on their Immersive Visualization Environment Theater is a fascinating tool to transmit information in an attractive and interactive way.

  • Using electronic tablets as inputs to allow the audience to get involved or chose the contents on the screen this tool seems to be a very powerful first step into what may will be the next step into the way to show contents to different kinds of audiences and let them interact with the stories or educational filling displayed.

  • After visiting VDI, we can state that the emerging technologies that are being developed at this days can be extremely helpful when it comes about interactivity, but the greatest challenges consist on making them reachable to the general public while adapting them to be used with normally used tools such as the conventional web cam (used as the primary input in F.A.C.E.). VDI shows us that interactive visualization technology can be funny and educational whenever you apply creativity, effective programming and a little bit of common sense in your creations.

(1).-“VDI is an applied research unit of Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Sheridan). We are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the field of computer visualization and simulation. The VDI is a multi-disciplinary establishment, encouraging collaborative partnerships in the areas of scientific, medical, engineering, educational, cultural and environmental research. It is a unique leading edge R and D facility that develops applied solutions that will help ensure a leadership role for Canada in this highly specialized technology”. Visualization Design Institute of the Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

(2).-“ Data visualization, the art of using visual thinking to understand complex information, is a growing trend--but it also has an illustrious history. Some of the biggest scientific discoveries hinged on turning data into pictures. One famous example of visualization is the periodic table of elements: When Mendeleev published a grid-like arrangement of elements for a textbook in 1869, not only did he create a beautifully simple display of known data, but his diagram highlighted gaps in current knowledge that told scientists where to search for new elements”. Martin Wattenberg, Manager, Visual Communication Lab. AlphaWorks, IBM.

Related Links

VDI Homepage

IBM – Visualization

Face Recognition Interesting Papers

Face Recognition Camera

Interactive Visualization lecture by Jonas Lowgren

George Legrady Studio

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Welcome IMM Students & Teachers.

Have a nice time in my blog.

Best Regards,
Carlos Ruano.