I can’t help but be excited by the sudden proliferation of immersive attractions with trackless ride systems. This video is from Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland. It looks pretty awesome. The projections look amazing, and there looks like there is some really fun use of laser projections too.
And then there’s this at SeaWorld Orlando. It also looks like they pulled out all the stops and tried to create a really fun attraction. An interesting contrast can be seen between Mystic Manor and Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins, especially in the control of light and motion.
It looks awesome, however the high ambient light gives away a lot about the experience. Compare that to Mystic Manor, which is undoubtedly a different type of experience. I imagine that the SeaWorld experience is brighter not to scare the kids. It just also makes it feel a bit more flat. Still fun and well done. Wish the exit theme song lasted though the entire exit of the vehicles.
Awesome stuff. Can’t wait to visit both.
Interfaces from Hell.
A year delayed, the FriedrichLink app has finally been released. It sucks. It’s really a jquery mobile website in an app wrapper (bad) and it doesn’t work. I’ve yet to be able to activate the AC unit anywhere from home. It doesn’t tell you if a command was received and it forces you to unlock the orientation of your phone. Even better, when you do unlock it, the app logs you out. Often not remembering your user ID and password.
How do companies get away with this stuff? API. Want.
Tomorrow and Monday (Sunday December 16th 2-6 & Monday December 17th 4-8) I’ll be showing my Change You Can Believe In prototype coin collector at the ITP Winter Show. It shows you the worth of your change in the value of items & causes you care about. Come see me!
For my final in Introduction to Computational Media, I taught Philips Hue Connected Bulbs to speak morse code. I’ve made no progress on humans, but dogs seem to pick it up quickly.
Hey look! It’s my first major project at ITP. It’s a party in the elevator.
Making your own versus buying something already made… the conundrum.
Our apartment here in New York has one of those newfangled RFID entry systems. We don’t have a door man, so you wave your RFID tag in front of a reader at the door and it automagically unlocks. It’s all fine and good unless you have someone visit. You can make copies of your apartment key, but it’s pretty difficult to clone RFID tags.
The problem: unless your visitor wants to spend their entire time with you or you want to give your RFID tag up… someone will get locked out.
That got me thinking, how else could we let people in to the building?
The Possible Solutions
- clone the RFID tag
- intercept the in-apartment unlock button to remotely unlock
- adopt a dog, train it to open the apartment door, walk downstairs and open the building door
Cloning the RFID tag seems to require an effort and hardware I don’t have beyond what I want to get involved with and a dog doesn’t seem like the right thing to adopt right before grad school, besides, I have Stanley!
Doing a Google search It looks like other people have built similar systems. Essentially, you send a text message, magic happens in the series of tubes and the door unlocks. I built a working prototype today.
My system would use an Xbee at the button [it’s far from the internet box] to activate a transistor which would activate a relay, effectively ‘pressing’ the button. This part works just fine. (a few technicalities, The complexity isn’t as much the hardware as the software that ties it all together.
You need a service to receive text messages, an intermediary web server to translate what the messages mean and send the command to the arduino [it looks like you might be able to do this with within Twilio], the Arduino plugged into ethernet to get the command w/ an xBee & the xBee at the button. All in all, while I think I could eventually make this work, it will take a really long time.
Enter, Lockitron. It’s a hardware + service that came up during some deep Google searching.
It’s a hardware & software solution that does basically what I want to do. They even have a hardware device that has relays, just like what I was building. Sweet. And after chatting with the folks who created Lockitron it looks like I might be able to connect some contraptions to the other relays. Bubble Machine?
In the end, it seems like this will be the way to go for now. Perhaps after I learn more about the code end of software/hardware services at school, I can interface this with a future creation. [looks like Lockitron uses Twillo after all!]
The Kinect went on sale today and I had a
Best Buy gift card sitting around (since Christmas!) so I decided to pick one up. I’ve discovered a few things:
- I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to unix commands
- Playing with GitHub for past projects totally paid off
- It does some funky windows emulation that I have no idea of how it works, perhaps I’ll have to bootcamp Windows 8 when it comes out?
- Apple continues to believe you shouldn’t be trusted with your own computer and makes it incredibly frustrating to find and edit files that are hidden in the bowels of the /usr folder
- Kinect is kind of amazing. I can see why so many projects at the ITP show this winter/spring incorporated it. That said, it seems like a bitch to get it to behave, especially in an environment like a show
- It’s now 3 AM, I have a cold, poor Stanley is in bed asleep waiting for me to join him… but the time just flew by… I can’t wait to start school.
So many things to scan. (via Barcode by @smallfly - Interactive exploration of everyday around us)
the dumbing down of experience (and science)
I still remember my first visit to the new Hayden Planetarium, after the construction of the new Rose Center for Earth and Space was finished in 1999. And now, I regret not going back and see Passport to the Universe before the show was replaced.
The innagural show, narrated by Tom Hanks featured the new, one-of-a-kind Zeiss star projector which was custom designed for use at the Hayden Planetarium. It also introduced some amazing digital video projections, bass shakers in the seats and laser effects.
”We wanted to give New Yorkers the best sky in the whole world,” said Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the planetarium, ”because we owe it to them.”
It’s certainly a challenge to make a planetarium relevant and interesting to an increasingly science-phobic, ADD audience. And that’s exactly why there was something magical about this show… the presentation reminded me alot of something you might see at Epcot at Walt Disney World.
Now living in New York, I was more than a bit excited to return to the American Museum of Natural History and the first thing I did was get tickets for the ‘Space Show.’ Many things about the design of the experience seemed unchanged from back in 2000, but as I watched the new pre-show I started to worry.
To enter the Planetarium, you board glass elevators and travel up into a holding area. This effort for a pre-show reminds me of something you might see at Disney. The simple act of transporting the audience out of the main museum into a mysterious dark room prepares the audience for an epic adventure into space.
I love this. It reminds me of the difference between a free-fall ride at Six Flags, where you walk right up to the ugly machine versus walking into a dilapidated old Hollywood Hotel and sneaking off into a dark and cold boiler room to board an elevator to the 5th dimension. You’re priming the audience to understand and appreciate the story.
Back at the museum, the pre-show has upgraded to a show controller instead of a DVD player, that part is a win. The pre-show video is another story. Filmed outside the planetarium in the middle of the day, it clashes with the dark mysterious nature of space and the dark pre-show area. What’s worse It looks like it was filmed on an iPhone with an amateur crew. I felt the video lacked the same epic wonder of space that the loading pre-show video exuded. All this in an age of Vimeo space videos of amazingness:
When it became time to enter the planetarium, I’m sad to see that the doors are still manually opened and propped with bright orange door stops. This, I suppose, is more of a personal pet-peeve than a travesty. However, a simple set of automatic doors would contribute to both the efficiency of the show and the fit and finish of the overall experience. I honestly thought maybe I should a Kickstarter to buy the museum a set of automatic doors and a show controller.
Entering the planetarium is just as spectacular as I remembered. Thankfully the folks at the museum bucked the trend of the tipped dome theater, like what was installed at the California Academy of Science (another disappointing planetarium show). The Zeiss Star Projector hides underneath the floor, allowing you to walk quickly to find your seat.
As the current show Journey to the Stars began, I waited patiently for a favorite moment of the old show (that I remember 12 years later) when, in a burst of carbon dioxide or liquid nitrogen, the star projector dramatically rises from the floor. But that never happened. You see, the new show doesn’t use the Zeiss star projector at all.
How did we go from taking the hard way to this new star projector free show?
But in housing the Zeiss in its new dome, ‘'We've gone against fashion and taken the harder way,” Ms. Futter said, ‘'to yield a better presentation of the cosmos.” The museum rejected the recent worldwide trend among planetariums to seat visitors in one direction facing a tipped dome that doubles as a revenue-enhancing Imax screen, capable of attracting audiences to 3-D movies.
I know it must be insanely expensive to operate and maintain the star projector and elevator unit. But that’s what made the Hayden Planetarium unique. At this point, it’s no better than a tilted dome show for half the price. (or free as in the case of the California Academy of Science)
I don’t even want to get into the copywriting of the current show. Whoopi Goldberg’s inflection and tone sounds like a mix of under-education and disinterest. Why do we continue to dumb down science? Apparently the world of Yelp disagrees with me, however one reviewer seems to agree…
I’m not sure what’s going on at the American Museum of Natural History. But it seems like a shame to go through all the trouble of having Zeiss reengineer the Milky Way so that it can be seen on one Tuesday a month.