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  • Jun 26 / 2015
  • 0
Uncategorized

Lucid Peninsula @ Creativity&Cognition 2015

It was with great honour and plesure that M-iti in association with Time’s Up showcased Lucid Peninsula at Creativity and Cognition 2015  Art exhibition.

The conference was held in Glasgow from the 22nd till the 26th of June.  The art exhibition opening night right away in the first day of the conference and it was great because we had a big affluence of people visiting the exhibition and trying out our physical narrative.  We took this opportunity to run an evaluation on the physical narrative together with the interactive mobile applications. We were able to collect a considerable amount of  valuable feedback that we plan to analyse soon.

If you want to know more about this work you can read the document published in the conference proceedings here:

Download (PDF, 3.7MB)

And here some images from the opening night:


 

  • Mar 27 / 2015
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine Adventures: User Study in Berlin

Mara and Mary went back to berlin in the past week, to run a user study on the Yasmine Adventures. We wanted to evaluate properly the users response to the experience, therefore in collaboration with Bianca Herlo who helped recruiting users we designed and executed a user evaluation. The evaluation consisted on the user doing the tour that started on the Jewish Museum to the center of Mehringplatz neighborhood while being shadowed by one of us. Then we would run a semi-structured interview that addressed open-ended questions related to the general experience and the users feedback to it but also we would bring up some issues/questions that might have been identified from the shadowing. This was followed by the user responding a questionnaire with closed-ended questions that approached, for example, flow and immersion levels in experience.

We were fortune that for the first days the weather helped and it was sunny which made an enjoyable experience for the users but by the end of our staying it was cold and raining which made it harder to get people to try it. But in the end we were able to try the system with 20 users and we got lots of valuable feedback that we are currently starting to analyze.

We would like to make a special thanks to Bianca and Jenny who helped out in recruiting the user and also to all the users who tried the experience for their patient and availability to answer all of our questions. Thank you!

Here’s a couple of images that summarize our week there:

 

  • Feb 25 / 2015
  • 0
Events

Berlin Workshop: Community Futures

Julian’s workshop at the ‘Community Now’ symposium in Berlin, titled ‘Community Then? Mapping Future Scenarios in the Community’, challenged participants to explore alternative futures of the Mehringplatz neighbourhood through a collaborative design game. The Thing From The Future was designed in 2014 by Situation Lab, initially for use in a speculative design jam with Extrapolation Factory. The gameplay generates four different variables – arc, mood, terrain, and object – in each prompt, for an estimated 3.7 million possible prompts and an almost infinite number of possible futures. (An online ‘shuffler’ version was just launched here.

For the purpose of this workshop, which dealt specifically with community futures, the deck was modified with the addition of new cards. These included ‘Community Centre’, ‘Park’, ‘Café’, ‘Museum’, and the larger neighbourhood that includes Mehringplatz, ‘Kreuzberg’. Gameplay was also modified, with groups of players given set prompts instead of randomly generated ones. So players competitively designed objects from various futures, which in turn told stories about the futures they came from, using the customized card prompts. The result was a series of location-based future scenarios mapped onto specific neighbourhood features: the local park, community centre, etc.

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During the workshop, each group of 3-5 players sat at a different table. Tables were equipped with coloured pens and customized game sheets. Each player was given ten minutes to design a ‘thing’ based on the prompt, after which the group voted to decide who ‘won’ the round with their design. Then they moved on to the next prompt: there were three groups in all, and each group completed four prompts, so at the end of four rounds each group had four different winning ‘things’ (out of 12 to 20 in all).

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Once all the rounds were played, Julian ‘commissioned’ each group to make a short performance around one ‘thing’, for a total of three performances. Twenty minutes later, the groups performed their skits for an audience, with each performance ending in a tableau vivant. With hours of brainstorming and creative discussion involved, the workshop was a fun and productive way for participants to get to know Mehringplatz and to generate possible community futures and ideas for present change.

SONY DSC

  • Feb 25 / 2015
  • 0
Events, Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Future Fabulators @M-iti participation in Community Now?

Future Fabulators @M-ITI recently participated in the symposium Community Now? The Politics of Participatory Design, which took place from 19-21 February at the Jewish Museum, Berlin. You can read more about the initiative here.

A few months ago the Fabulators were invited by Bianca from Design Research Lab – UdK to take part in the event with an interactive neighborhood walk, a workshop about possible futures for the community, and a final presentation.

Researchers Mara Dionisio and Luis Ferreira, assisted by Paulo Bala and Rui Trindade under the guidance of Valentina Nisi and Julian Hanna, developed Yasmine’s Adventures, a series of interactive vignettes tailored specifically to the Mehringplatz neighborhood near the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

The story relates the experiences of a free-spirited and adventurous local girl named Yasmine following her escape from a school tour as she tries to find her way home. The locations depicted in the narrative were chosen by community members during the RDL/UdK-led ‘Pinpointing Mehringplatz’ workshop, and they hold specific positive or negative values for the inhabitants.

The audience on our walk viewed the neighborhood through Yasmine’s eyes and by extension through the eyes of the community: the most beloved spaces, areas that require change, and spaces that are disliked by the community. In the workshop led by Julian participants explored alternative futures for the local community using a collaborative design game.

Here are some images from those moments:

  • Feb 17 / 2015
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine Adventures – Mobile Application Development Process

Yasmine Adventures is ready to take off!! After a month and half devoted to the implementation, the mobile application that will support the users to uncover Yasmine adventures the prototype is finally ready! We are quite happy with the result although we wish that we had some more time to make some final refinements. As we mention in a previous post the mobile application for this tour was inspired by the DreamScope and it´s 360º degrees scan of a virtual environment. The first step was to create these virtual was to have this basic mechanism working which was easy we just had to adapt from DreamScope. Just to recap and simplifying the technical details we used the game engine called Unity, and to achieve the 360º interaction we used a plugin developed by Durovis. Moreover, we used the Qualcomm Vuforia plugin for the visual clue recognition system, which basically will associate a “visual marker” with a location which, in fact , is  a 360º virtual environment.  Once we had the basic mechanics of capturing marker and loading placeholder 360º VR environment it was time to design each of the virtual environments. For that, we used 3DS Max and created in 3d each of the 5 locations that were decided after the trip to berlin. The 3D model had to be very simple and low poly. Once the models were ready it was time to texture them (basically paint them!). We decided that all the environment would follow the same cartoon/scribbled art style as the 2d video animations and we decided to make all of the environment in shades of grey except for the exact location where the Yasmine Adventure happened. In this was we hoped that users would feel more drawn to it as they are scanning the 360º environment.

 

When all the 5 locations were ready we had to import them into Unity and continue on the implementation of the application. Here are some of the main features that we had to implement: 1 – Main Screen with a scrollable map, close button, capture the marker button; 2- Inside the 360º degree scene we had to create “hotspots” to hide the content (2d animations) load the 2d video animation; 3- Load the 2d video animation once the “hotspots” are triggered; We had the help of Miguel Caldeira a designer from M-iti, We provided the wireframes and sketches and Miguel  designed some of the graphics like the icon of the app, the main interface (map and buttons) plus the visual clues.

collageMapInterfacecollageMarker

 

Once all these parts were combined  Yasmine Adventures was born! Soon we hope to upload a video showcasing the interaction in the application and now off we go to Berlin!

  • Feb 17 / 2015
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine’s Adventures – Artstyle Process

Character Design

The project “Yasmine’s Adventures” was inspired from another project called “Pinpointing Mehringplatz Project”, which was developed by Design Research Lab in Germany. Their project consisted in pinpointing places that were considered scary, enjoyable or annoying by the locals of Mehringplatz. The participants ranged between the age of ten to twelve. The idea if this project is make local’s aware about the social problems in Mehringplatz from a child’s perspective. In “Yasmine’s Adventures”, we decided to have as a main character a young and rebellious girl called Yasmine. For inspiration purposes, we started researching and collecting as many images as possible, in order to gather a diversity of character styles. After the research, we were able to draw a variety of new characters – from complex and detailed  to simple and sketchy. All characters were initially drawn on a sheet of paper.

Some character examples:

As stated earlier, we sought to call the local’s attention about the social problems of Mehringplatz from a child’s perspective. Thus, we decided to go with a “scribble” art style as it is a very common way of drawing among children. After choosing the most suitable character, we initialized the digitalization process using Adobe Photoshop.

Final version of Yasmine:

The main character wears an orange tiger outfit with a tail attached on the back. The tail is an additional feature which reflects Yasmine’s emotions (the tail changes shape whenever she gets happy or angry). In addition, the reason why Yasmine is wearing an orange tiger outfit is because we wanted to establish a connection between her rebellious behaviour and the wild behaviour of an animal. Finally, for animation purposes, the character’s limbs (arms, legs, head and tail) had to be designed separately, in order to facilitate the rigging process in Adobe After Effect.

Environment design

In regard to the environment design, we drew fifteen different scenarios, which were based on real locations in Mehringplatz.

The concept art for the environments were firstly drawn on a sheet of paper and then digitized. However, different concept arts (besides “scribble”) were taken into account.

Yet, in the end, we decided that it would be the best if we maintain the same art style for both character design and environment design. Therefore, a design protocol was established, in order to maintain a consistent “scribble” art style throughout the project.

 

  • Jan 24 / 2015
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine Adventures – Berlin Trip

Earlier this week two member of our research team, Mara and Luis, traveled to Berlin to run an experience prototype of the Yasmine Adventures, meet with Bianca Herlo and get more insights on the Mehringplatz neighborhood. We were received at Design Research Lab by Bianca and some elements of the research team that work on the Community Now? Project, it was great to learn more about the neighborhood and the projects that they have been developing there, specially get more insights on the PinPointing Mehringplatz project from which the content of our application was developed.

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Then it was time to go to Meringplatz and start the hard work under the rush cold!!! Brrrr….

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We had to decide the exact locations where the story clips were going to be uncovered, find locations to place the markers, make sure that the route between the museum and the neighborhood was simple enough, and take lots of pictures! By the end of the trip, we had a clear idea of all the locations, where to place the markers and a more refined story.

Choosing the locations

As we discovered some facts and learned from the people of the community we refined the content of the story. For example, we learned that one of the big murals was actually painted by a famous artist who did some artwork for the Obama campaign so we approach in the story. This trip was also essential to get to know all the locations in detail because we toke 360 degree videos from each of the locations so that we know how to portrait them in 3d virtual environment.

Famous Artist Mural

Bird Mural

 

Below are images of the locations chosen to place the story clips. For some of the plot points, we had more than one option for the location that we wanted to discuss with the rest of the team.

Now it’s to start developing the project at full speed!!! There’s less than one month to go!!

 

 

  • Jan 23 / 2015
  • 0
Uncategorized

Scenario Planning: Capstone Futures 2015

This two-day Capstone Futures scenario development and testing workshop, facilitated by FoAM and involving faculty and MHCI students at M-ITI, focused on the question: ‘How can capstones enable empowering transformative experiences?’ This question was chosen to connect capstones to M-ITI’s mission: ‘To research, enable, design and create transformative experiences that empower people to live the best possible lives in harmony with the environment.’

The scenarios developed during the workshop were meant to provide a broad context for all the capstone projects of the current academic year. The key issues of the students and sponsors revolved around providing meaningful experiences for their users and clients, so that they can have a lasting influence on people’s lives and work. Moreover, a desire was expressed to find ways to have productive and enjoyable collaboration with everyone involved.

Four scenarios were created by the end of the two days:

  • Crescendo – where growth is the primary motivation
  • Dystopia – where the world as we know it has collapsed
  • Extreme New World – where discipline reigns
  • Robot Caregivers – where the world is transformed

Read more about the workshop process and results on FoAM’s website.IMG_20150122_110620 IMG_20150123_124735 IMG_20150122_155041 IMG_20150122_141923

  • Jan 10 / 2015
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine Adventures – Preparations for Berlin Trip

For the last few weeks, we have been busy preparing a trip to berlin. We decided that a short trip to berlin was necessary to know the locations and the neighborhood and have a grasp of the exact conditions that we had to deploy the experience.  This trip will serve a sort of experience prototype. Where we will test out our ideas and the story and how it works in the environment. We will take also as an opportunity to gather inspiration for the art style of the story as we decided to tell the story through a 2D animation.

Our goal during these weeks was to progress as much as we could in terms of the story and the delivery platform.

Story

At this point, the story is much more detailed and we know the exact plot points. They are still open to change according to what we discover in our trip. The overall story is represented in the storyboard below:

Download (PDF, 921KB)

Story Delivery Platform Interaction

To deliver Yasmine adventures, we decided to make an innovative platform inspired by the DreamScope project where we used the 360 virtual reality environment. The idea is that the users will have a mobile application equipped with a map showing all the locations where Yasmine adventures take place, once they are in the location they need to look for a marker that will trigger a 3d representation of the real environment, there in the virtual environment users will have to find the exact spot where Yasmine had the adventure. Once this spot is found a 2d video animation will show a story clip.  Below you can find a sequence of images that illustrates the interaction with the platform and after the wireframes for the interface

Download (PDF, 5.2MB)

Download (PDF, 257KB)

  • Dec 22 / 2014
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine Adventures – Brainstorm Results

We are ready to share the initial concept for the locative experience trail in berlin. After analyzing the content from the project pinpointing Mehringplatz we decided that the best approach for the content of the experience would be to create a fictional story based on real content and locations of Mehringplatz. In this way, Yasmine Adventures was born! When creating a location-aware experience we always need to have in mind at the same time the story plot and locations for the story to be delivered because they are deeply connected. In this image, we can see this connection where on the left side we have the story plot points following the heroes Journey and on the right side we have the locations and the content related to the community.

OverallProcess

Regarding the story and the character we decided that Yasmine should portrait a child from the neighborhood and was inspired in one of the participants of the Pinpointing Project. Moreover, we decided to follow the traditional hero’s journey where the plot points relate to the content retrieved from the pinpointing Mehringplatz project. For example, the angel and the street art were pointed as positive aspects of the neighborhood while the constructions and the rats were reported as negative aspects. Therefore the idea is to portrait them in the story, so we would see Yasmine enjoying the street art and being helped by the angel, on the other hand, the constructions and the rats would be challenges that she has to face in her journey. In the following images, you can see our notes on the character profile and on the story plot.  Please click on the image and zoom in for a better understanding of the content. YasmineProfileHerosJourneyDetail

Since, this experience has been conceived with the goal in mind to take the symposium audience around the Mehringplatz neighborhood. We needed to have in mind that the start of the experience is the  Jewish Museum, where the symposium is going to be held, and what will be the path to take them to the heart of the neighborhood. While doing this we have to overlap with the story content and the locations chosen by the community participants in the Pinpointing project. On the image below, on the top you can see the locations and the content from the Pinpointing project and the below the correspondent locations.

Locations

 At this point, we have a clear idea of the direction that we want to take in terms of the story and the experience. The next step is to refine the story, decide the locations where the story should be delivered and the medium that people will use to retrieve the story.

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