Haris Usmani

16 Jan 2014


by LeithingerFollmer & Ishii/ MIT Media Lab

inFORM is the project I admired profoundly. It is a dynamic shape display that can create physical 3-D content from digital data, while allowing users real-time interaction. It exists of a 30×30 actuator table to represent the 3-D forms while displays and projectors color and enhance the visuals of these forms. For interactivity, a Kinect is used to capture input from the user which can then be represented on the actuator table. Under the hood, it uses openFrameworks for the processing and Arduino PCBs as hardware circuitry.

I’ve always been excited about the idea to project physical 3-D objects in thin-air (I thought magnetic levitation could be used for that if a magnetic gas exists!) and this project is a step closer to that dream. The idea itself is very strong: being remote, yet having a strong physical existence and interaction. I also feel they documented the project reall well. As further improvements, the 30×30 table could have better resolution. The user behind the screen should also have haptic feedback from the objects he virtually ‘touches’.

Do Not Touch

by studio Moniker.

This one surprised meDo Not Touch is a crowd-sourced music video which stores the cursor positions of all the users who take part to interact with it. Such a simple idea turning out so exciting. I saw the cursors as bees flying around, trying to find their way. The thing I liked most is that it totally does justice to its aim of celebrating the humble mouse cursor- and guess what, anyone can go and take part! 

Color a Sound

by Blair Neal

Color a sound is an installation that enables participants to color a grid on a transparency and make music. As this transparency passes over an observation line, sounds are triggered corresponding to the marks on the transparency. This project uses a camera as an input and is made in MAX/MSP. The music is restricted to a major scale, indicating that the project is aimed at a general (non-musician) audience. 
I feel this project could have been better. I understand the artist’s idea of using a grid on a transparency as being inspired by a roller with marks on a music-box- but if that’s the analogy we’re making, why don’t the physical aesthetics support that. The project could have been made to look more like a beautiful music box, and that would have had a stronger impact on the audience. Also, if we’re not sticking to the music box and we’re aiming for a general audience, why not make music by unconventional means: like converting an ‘ink splatter’ or ‘floor marks’ into triggered music.