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Scroll Back

Gaming study by itaykeren looks at the subject of how scrolling works in 2D video games, the hidden design methods which control the presentation of levels around the playable character:

 … I was quite surprised that camera work, a subject with more than 30 years of history in games, was hardly discussed.

Scrolling or Panning refers to any attempt to display a scene that is larger than what fits in a single screen. There are many potential challenges with scrolling, like choosing what the player needs to see, what we as designers would like the player to focus on, and how to do it in a way that’s fluid and comfortable for the player.

While I’m going to focus on 2D camera systems, many of these general concepts apply to 3D as well.

The study provides various GIF examples like the ones above, and should be of interest to anyone involved with Game Design.

More Here

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Reality Editor

Augmented interface project from the MIT Fluid Interfaces Group lets you connect and program objects in the real world to perform alternative functions:

The Reality Editor is a new kind of tool for empowering you to connect and manipulate the functionality of physical objects. Just point the camera of your smartphone at an object and its invisible capabilities will become visible for you to edit. Drag a virtual line from one object to another and create a new relationship between these objects. With this simplicity, you are able to master the entire scope of connected objects.

The Reality Editor is a result of three years of MIT research. The goal of our research is the creation of technology that grants the user maximum control by leveraging human strength such as spatial coordination, muscle memory and tool-making. For example, that light switch in your bedroom you always need to stand up in order to turn off—just point the Reality Editor at an object next to your bed and draw a line to the light. You have just customized your home to serve your convenience. From now on you will use your spatial coordination and muscle memory to easily operate the object next to your bed as a tool for controlling the light. If you want a timer linked to the light, just borrow the functionality of an object with a timer, such as a TV, by drawing a line from it to the light. Another example is the interior of a car – sometimes it may be too warm in the summer or too cold in the winter when the engine is started. Just point the Reality Editor at your bed and then connect it to the temperature system in your car – when  you wake up, the car sets the correct temperature for you to drive to work.

More Here

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MIT Tangible Group: Kinetic Blocks

Two years ago, the Tangible Media Group (MIT) presented the inForm display - a dynamic shape display - that can render 3D content physically using movable pins.

Last week, Philipp Schoessler, Daniel Windham, Daniel Leithinger, Sean Follmer and Hiroshi Ishii published a new paper called “Kinetic Blocks - Actuated Constructive Assembly for lnteraction and Display” and introduced a much more advanced sucessor: Kinetic Blocks.

Pin-based shape displays not only give physical form to digital information, they have the inherent ability to accurately move and manipulate objects placed on top of them. In this paper we focus on such object manipulation: we present ideas and techniques that use the underlying shape change to give kinetic ability to otherwise inanimate objects. First, we describe the shape display’s ability to assemble, disassemble, and reassemble structures from simple passive building blocks through stacking, scaffolding, and catapulting. A technical evaluation demonstrates the reliability of the presented techniques. Second, we introduce special kinematic blocks that are actuated and sensed through the underlying pins. These blocks translate vertical pin movements into other degrees of freedom like rotation or horizontal movement. This interplay of the shape display with objects on its surface allows us to render otherwise inaccessible forms, like overhangs, and enables richer input and output.

Still mindblowing. Can’t wait for the first consumer devices. See more of the kinetic blocks in the video below:

[Kinetic Blocks] [paper]

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How to design doors to be less confusing

You’ve encountered a door like this. One that looks like you should pull on it, but really you’re supposed to push. Those doors you hate have a name: “Norman doors.”

They’re named after Don Norman, a UC San Diego cognitive scientist, who identified this phenomena in his book “The Design of Everyday Things.”

According to Norman, pushing on a door that says “pull” isn’t necessarily your fault. It is just poorly designed. 

So what’s the solution to this mess?

Norman explains two principles of design that make objects, including doors, more intuitive to use.

One is discoverability — that is, just by looking at the door, you should be able to detect what you could do with it. So a door with only a flap would be more intuitively interpreted as something you push on rather than pull.

A well-designed object should also provide you feedback while using it.

Feedback involves any visible, tactile, auditory or sensible reactions that help signal whether your attempted use of the object was successful. In the case of doors, the twistable knobs would signal to you whether the door is locked or not.

And perhaps the true test of a well-designed door may be whether your family cat can open it with ease.

Watch the full @vox video on Norman doors (and human-centered design) 

Researchers have developed a self-healing flexible sensor consisting of stretchable chemiresistor. This new design in sensor technology will pave the way for smart skin, an electronic layer of skin that could give the term “wearables” entirely new meaning. The current problem with flexible smart skin is that it easily scratches, so scientists solved that problem by creating chemiresistors, which mimic the self-healing properties of human skin. Molecularly modified gold nanoparticles give the device the ability to heal, as the polymer substrate of the sensor becomes sensitive to volatile organic compounds. #tech #skin #wearable #technology by @tech

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