There will be four major projects this semester: three guided explorations and one self-directed capstone project. Each of these assignments will have multiple intermediate deadlines, e.g. for presentations of your background research and prototype sketches. Each of the three explorations will unfold over 2½ weeks, while the capstone project is allocated approximately 7 weeks. The projects, briefly described, are:
- 1. Information Visualization. Due January 27th.
A project concerned with the comprehensive process of visualizing real-world information. You will identify some information of interest and develop software and other procedures to acquire, parse, filter, mine, represent, refine, and interact with your data — while keeping in mind essential questions about what information is worth visualizing, what makes it worth visualizing, and how your visualization functions to produce new knowledge and make an impact in culture.
- 2. Dynamic Simulation. Due February 15th.
Software makes possible the simulation, rather than mere representation, of the principles which animate the natural world around us. In this project you will model an organic system by developing an interplay of simulated forces. Your task is no less than the godlike job of creating new life — such as an interactive and sensate creature, a dynamic flock or swarm, an artificial cell-culture, a novel plant, an organic terrain, an intelligent interlocutor… or the like.
- 3. Interaction & Augmentation. Due March 3rd.
A project concerned with augmenting human action and/or perception, this is an exploration of interactive feedback in the context of high-bandwidth, continuous and real-time human signals — whether gesture, speech, body movement, or any other measurable property or behavior. You will develop, e.g. a gesture processor, a drawing program, a transformative mirror, an audiovisual instrument, or some other system which allows a participant to experience themselves and the world in a new way.
- 4. Self-Directed Capstone Project. Due April 19 & 21.
The remainder of the semester (6-7 weeks) provides time for you to pursue your own research project. It is not too soon to start thinking about what that investigation might be.
In addition to the four principal projects, you will also be expected to:
- Write weekly blog entries, called “Looking Outwards Exercises”.
For these exercises, you are asked to identify an interesting project, not previously discussed in class, and write a paragraph (~150 words) about why you find it interesting, what particular strengths it has, what unexplored opportunities it suggests, and (if appropriate) how it relates or compares to projects we may have seen in class.
- Contribute helpful comments on the course web site, whether on the projects of your peers, or on the entries written by the professor.