The year gone by.

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Here we are at the dawn of another year. It’s time we reminisced the year gone by. We’ve had our share of fun and disappointments. Fun, mostly. There were times we fought, times we shared a laugh at the dinner table and times we got some work done too. We became this huge family where people love each other, hate each other but stay. Stay together like an organism where everyone has a role to play, an important one too. We’ve shivered together in the Bangalore winds, splashed into mud puddles, danced ourselves to death and spent quiet evenings around warm amber bonfires. We’ve been sensible, but mostly weird. We’ve sweated out on Garba nights and on the volleyball court and some just couldn’t let go of the table tennis bats. We’ve hated the food and loved it and made the evening snack our top priority. And we’ve wasted a lot of cake. We’ve worked hard and severely procrastinated. Done some amazing work, cut corners elsewhere. But we’ve learnt a lot and enjoyed every bit of it. Each and every bit of it. Here’s to the year gone by and the curious, wonderful one that lies ahead. Cheers!

Physical Installations As Learning Systems

The DDE (Design for Digital Experience), 2015 batch recently had a module on physical installations as learning systems. To put simply, these are interactive setups that help the user learn about a particular topic by engaging with the installation. The interactions can be gesture based, speech based, physical like pressing buttons or various others that technology has now enabled, including thought!

The batch worked in groups of three coming up with five different installations with subjects ranging from geography to story telling, civics to colour theory. The technologies used included Microsoft Kinect, Arduino and image processing. Lets have a brief look at them!

1. Abki Baar, Meri Sarkaar!

Team Members: Arundhati, Atul, Manasee

This fun installation will put you right at the nerve centre of the country, the Lok Sabha. Aiming to teach a young audience the process of passing a bill in the two Houses, it uses Kinect to make interactions more engaging and participatory. The user selects issues to be tabled in the House and votes by using hand gestures recognised by the Kinect sensor. The results and the progress can be seen on the screen along with an audio feedback.

The physical setup of the installation mimics the arrangement of the two Houses adding to the experience of being present there.

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Watch the video here!

2. Coloreveal

Team Members: Ghanesh, Marathon, Tinjo

A simple yet engaging installation is Coloreveal. Two users can interact with this installation at once. All you need to do is rotate the discs attached on either side of the screen to change colours and have fun mixing and matching with your friend. The installation is targeted at a young audience and helps them explore colours.

The two semi-circles on the edges depict the selected colours and the main screen the resulting colour. The clean graphic language and simplicity of interaction make this installation extremely simple to understand and use.

The discs are attached to potentiometers, which in turn are connected to an Arduino board to provide input to a computer.

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Watch the video here!

3. Meridian Chaser

Team Members: Anupam, Arpit, Nakul

This installation aims to give the user a basic idea about how the world is divided into Time Zones and how we gain or lose time as we move across the globe. The user interacts with the installation by moving a slider which moves a vertical marker on the screen. Corresponding to the position of the marker, the Time Zone and its major cities are highlighted. The map also gives real time day/night conditions and a feedback when the date is changed. To add to the experience, sounds corresponding to the time of the active time zone can be heard. The slider is built on an Arduino using IR sensors that communicates with the computer.

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Watch the video here!

4. Story Builders

Team Members: Gopichand, Nambirajan, Suman

The art of story telling will never die. It will only change form. With new technology, it will become more engaging and interactive. This installation let’s you weave your own stories. The story involves three characters-the lion, the monkey and the elephant. The narrative, however, depends on your choice. To interact with the installation, you place the characters on a magnetic board in three locations-the den, the shore or the tree, in any combination. All you do next is press a button. Depending on the position of the characters on the board, a new story is narrated. You can have fun playing around with the characters. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good story?

The installation uses image processing to identify the position of characters on the board.

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Watch the video here!

5. Time Travel

Team Members: Anurag, Bhaumik, Shilpa

What will it be like being in Tokyo right now? Can I move to California in a leap?

This is exactly what this installation was all about. The experience of being in a different city at a particular time. The user jumps to the city by physically moving on a map laid out on the floor. The Kinect sensor detects his/her position and a video of that place is projected on the screen in front. The darkness of the room and the fluorescent map glowing under the UV lamps make up for an immersive ambience.

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Watch the video here!

Exploring Three Dimensions

The first year batch recently completed the ‘Geometry and Construction’ module. The aim of this module is to educate students about constructing solids by folding plain surfaces and also make them aware of their properties and applications. The students work as teams as the module begins with the task of constructing simple regular solids like cubes and tetrahedrons and proceeds to the construction of the more complex platonic solids, intersecting solids etc. The final deliverable is in the form of application concepts based on the separate briefs given to each team.

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Some of the work is documented below.


Three Dimensional Tessellations

Members

Arshed Hakeem, Prajakta Samant, Ravishankar S., Suchismita Naik, Tina S. Kumar 

The team was given a task of exploring 3D tessellation using polyhedrons and how tessellation can add value or function to a product. The areas that were explored included tessellating roof structures, puzzles for kids, wall shelves, innovative chess board, wave breakers, before hitting on the idea of using an icosahedron for an impeller.

Application Concept

“Seapod” is basically a structure that floats on water, be it sea or river. The integral part of the structure is the impeller and the float supports its axis. The movement of the structure is limited by anchoring. The floating structure that holds the impeller is composed of three polyhedrons viz. tetrahedron, octahedron and truncated tetrahedron.

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The rotation of the impeller generates a DC current which could be stored in the batteries that are enclosed within the structure. The surface of the structure that is above the water level are provided with solar panels to harvest the solar energy.


Origami

Members

Abhishek Karmakar, Kaish Agarwal, Midhu S. Valsan, Sulagna Biswas, Yashodha Deshpandey

This team was given the task of exploring Origami and how it can add value or function to a product. The goal of this art is to transform a flat sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques, and as such the use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami. The number of basic origami folds is small, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate designs. Basic explorations were based on simple yet creative polyhedrons and mainly module-based origami.

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Application Concept

A design can never achieve its full stature unless it has nature attached to it. The team’s concept “Coral Corrugation” is inspired from the aura of negative space solids, perfectly symbolised by coral reefs and shells.

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The corrugated structure of the module in the form of hyperbolic pyramid kills the sound echo by trapping the vibrations and transferring it to the enclosed air. Alternatively, when used in the reverse direction it produces alternating echoes.

Temple Run!

For the past three weeks, the final batch of DDE was going through the module titled ‘Cultural Heritage and Understanding’. Aimed at documenting the rich and vibrant Indian heritage found in architectural sites in and around Bangalore through Photography, the module was led by Mr. Rishi Singhal, program coordinator, Photography Design, NID PG Campus, Gandhinagar as external faculty.

It was exciting times for the students as it was their first time with SLR cameras. The first week was packed with three trips to Tipu’s Summer Palace, Someshwara Temple and Kurudumale Temple, apart from the classroom sessions. Rishi enticed everyone with his work, knowledge of the subject and his incredibly contagious charm and wit.

The trips were meant to be testing grounds for the skills imparted in the classroom. It was quite a spectacle for the locals as eighteen odd people alighted from a bus, SLRs around their necks and dispersed themselves all over the place. Soon everyone would be wrangling with shutter speed, ISO, f-stops, focus and camera angles to capture the best shot even as they walked barefoot on thorny shrubbery (Ouch!). The result was a collection of some amazing photographs considering the rather short training period. Rishi agreed.

Here’s some of the students’ work!

(Picture courtesy Anupam)

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(Picture courtesy Anurag)

(Picture courtesy Arpit)

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(Picture courtesy Arundhati)

(Picture courtesy Atul)

(Picture courtesy Bhaumik)

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(Picture courtesy Gopichand)

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(Picture courtesy Manasee)

Sri Mahaganpathi Temple, Kurudumale (Picture courtesy Marathon)

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(Picture courtesy Nakul)

Inside Someshwara Temple

Someshwara Temple, Kolar (Picture courtesy Nambirajan)

(Photo courtesy Shilpa)

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(Photo courtesy Suman)

Sri Mahaganpathi Temple, Kurudumale (Picture courtesy Tinjo)

(More work to be added soon! 🙂  << Gawd! That’s such an ugly emoticon! )

The following two weeks revolved around filtering data and boiling down to the particular aspect of heritage that students wished to put across through photographic data. Some chose to stick to the architectural heritage while others went ahead with areas of their interest like cuisine and intangible heritage.

The final output was an interesting mix of media. Ranging from panoramas and stop motion animations to interactive and experiential applications. Everybody had the freedom to tell their story in the form they thought best. The module brought forth various ways how digital media can be used to create interesting and engaging experiences while educating and informing users about the often overlooked aspects of the Indian heritage that reside in these architectural marvels.