Saturday, 29 November 2014

Intro to motors

28 November 2014, 9.30am - 12.30pm
Instructor’s name: David McGoran

This was a half day workshop - an introduction to electric motors and how they could be used in our work - the workshop started going over some examples of artists who use motors in their work then going through the different types of motors before being shown how to use the power supplies safely and testing wiring up some of the motors.

Types of motors we covered
  • Small DC motors 
  • Large powerful DC motors 
  • Stepper motors
  • Servo Motors 
  • Solenoids
  • Voice coils
Understanding electricity
  • Voltage, Current and Resistance
  • Using Power supplies safely 
  • Wiring and connecting motors to power
  • Batteries

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Movement and Mechanisms

20 November 2014, 9.30am - 4.30pm
Instructor’s name: David McGoran

A full day workshop as an introduction to the Kinetic Arts. Think animatronics, popup books, automata and dynamic sculpture which all share the same fundamental mechanics and dynamics of movement.

As usual the workshop was a good balance between being talked at (theory) and hands on work (practice). The theory side of things started with a powerpoint of some great examples of kintetic artwork, some of the most impressive was the animatronics and puppetry. Dave brought our attention to Royale Deluxe - a French mechanical marionette street theatre company I'd love to see these pieces in person.

This continued into an introduction to numerous mechanisms that we could perhaps use in our work. Gears and leavers, mass and inertia, mechanical transference and passive dynamics were all briefly explained with examples.

After this it was time to put some of the theory to practice with use of the laser cut prototyping kit for this workshop. The kit was basically a peg board which we could bolt in the different gears and levers to start playing with out own mechanical systems. We were encouraged to start simple but start building to make more complex pieces.


Following lunch we started out own prototypes with the bits and pieces available in the tech lab. As with the interaction workshop we were encouraged to prototype using cardboard and tape to make quick versions and proof of concepts.

I decided to take the opportunity again to explore pinball flippers, as it ties into my main project.  I wanted to start simple with the project and make something like mechanical flippers so I set about using some of the workshop kit and some cardboard. 





After a few trial attempts I got a basic working flipper - the addition of elastic to make it spring back into its original place made me realise the flipper was not powerful enough to make the ball go very far. So after some explanation by Dave I realised the linkage from the lever to the flipper was too big and that I was exerting lots of force but not getting a strong output when it should be the other way around.



Some tinkering later I put together the two flippers and had a working version. Great to see what can be done in an afternoon. Plenty more prototyping to be done by the looks of it.

Mechanical flippers prototype #pinball

A video posted by Jono Sandilands (@jonosandilands) on

Friday, 14 November 2014

Advanced user of lasers

14 November 2014, 9.30am - 4.30pm
Instructor’s name: Sarah Barnes

Introduction
Ok this workshop was quite a bit to take in, and it doesn't make sense for me to document everything here, so to summarise the first part of the day and the main part of becoming a dedicated user:

  • Access times
  • Starting up - power, compressor, extraction, cooling, safety
  • Run through of each laser machine - each is slightly different
  • Setting up the material in the lasers and focusing
  • Software - ApsEthos - working with different drawings/images and material settings
  • Lots of other little tips picked up through the day - including registration of images
Samples
After the introduction we're now to test it all out for ourselves with the aim to make samples of our own work. I used the time to try out a few things using paper as it is something I have not utelised laser cut for yet. First, a set of stamps for the Crimewatch project.

Test piece, tweeking the settings each time to get desired reults
I am using a mix of photographic images and vector drawing. Above the process of multiple test pieces altering the settings in very small steps each time. This process is documented on a sample sheet and pieces are numbered to make comparisons and of course so you don't have to go through that process again when you go too far the wrong way!


The original files placed together - vector lines and photographic images

The original files probably had a bit too much detail in them and this is why quite a lot of experimentation was required to obtain the desired results in the final image. Really it was a case of finding a happy medium between being able to see the text I had placed over the image and the definition in the photographs.

Final set of 4 stamps on Somerset paper
This said I think going through that process and documenting the setting was a really good excercise, I couldn't have had a better set of images to use for the workshop. I'm very pleased with the outcomes so might try some more work on paper.

Next was the Hole book/zine - which was to have a hole cut through the entirety of a 16 page screenprinted book. My original idea was to use a compass/circle cutter to cut the holes before folding the book, but upon folding, the registration of the holes were a bit skewiff, so I thought laser cutting could be more precise option. I wasn't sure how it would work at first but after speaking with Sarah we realised we just needed to have the software set to a normal paper setting, then to take multiple passes at the book, resetting the focus each time.

The file itself was very simple this time, I actually just drew it right in the ApsEthos software instead of bothering to waste time in Illustrator as it is just one circle which needs to cut through the material.

The cut book and the holes by the side. These are supplied with the book.
I'm cutting the book after folding but before trimming the edges, I think this is the best way as the book is kept together and has a lot more strength than after trimming.

So the process is to get the laser cutter registered to the location of the hole, I then focus on the top/first page and set the machine to cut at the lower setting (the aim to cut one or two sheets per pass). Then without moving the book (it's weighed down on one side to help) I remove the cut holes, refocus and repeat the cut, working my way through the book in a total of maybe 3-5 cuts.
Close up of the laser cut hole. Note some soot - as expected - but nice clean cuts
I had originally though the book may catch fire or have more burnt edges, but in keeping on a lower setting and working the way through the book slowly I reduce the risk of burning and unwanted damage. There will be a final set of around 20-30 of these so I need to find an afternoon to complete the set.

This ended up being quite a productive workshop! Lets keep this up now :D

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Zorbinball

Zorbing (globe-riding, sphereing, orbing) is the recreation or sport of rolling downhill inside an orb, generally made of transparent plastic

Pinball is a type of arcade game, usually coin-operated, in which points are scored by a player manipulating one or more steel balls on a play field inside a glass-covered cabinet called a pinball machine
Zorbing and Pinball combine to create a huge scale, full-body immersive pinball machine.

A player becomes the ball. Instead of being in control of the ball you go inside the ball in order to feel what it's really like to be plunged, flipped and bumped around.

Another player is required to operate the large mechanical flippers - it will take great skill to be able to control the inflatable human-filled ball to aim at the targets dotted around the hill in order to score the highest points during a day of Zorbinball or Pinzorbing.

The twist is the other player is not in the same location as the player who is in the ball. The game flippers are controlled from another location by a specially built machine, which at first appears to be a normal pinball machine, but the playfield is in fact a digital screen broadcasting a live aerial view from the play field. Upon pressing the flipper buttons the signal is sent from the machine to the flippers.

Whats this all about?
This post is from my journal on MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking
I am currently proposing a project based around arcade games - this is one of my early sketchbook ideas and thought it would be fun to share.

Is this a really stupid idea? Do you have any suggestions? Please let me know by commenting, tweeting or getting in contact.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Interaction design with circuits, sensors & motors

10 November 2014, 9.30am - 4.30pm
Instructor’s name: James Ashwell



An all day course using Arduino to bring work to life enabling active relationships between our creations, people and the environment.

I have done a bit with Arduino in the past but I have never attended a workshop on the subject, on a project basis in past I have learned from the Ardunio website which has some great lerning resources including Getting Started with Arduino and what I always find most helpful in learning the examples. In fact these pages are so good James repeatedly referred us to them throughout the day. So good to know I was on the right track with my previous projects using Arduino.

But what I had not had is someone taking me through the basics of Arduino, it's so easy when working by yourself to jump right into something more complex and especially when you are working on a specific project I had been skipping important parts. Of course when I got my first kit I went through some of the basic tutorials but I'd say I didn't take it in as well as during this workshop.

The workshop was well structured with time to go over a powerpoint of the different types of work that artists are making with arduino. Then we got to move on to an introduction to the Arduino platform and the kits which we were going to use, in our kit was an Arduino, a sensor, a servo, a LED, resistor and a bread board. Of course all the wires cut & stripped to short lengths too.


First was when Arduino is plugged into the computer you need to tell it which serial port it is located to allow the computer to talk to the board. On PC it is always the highest number for the serial port, however if working on mac it is something like /dev/tty.usbmodem (see here).

The first tutorial is of course blink! basically making an LED blink on a set time, we were then told to play and customise the code, so we can understand how it is structured and written.

James explained a bit more about how the digital pins and their signals are basically on or off, 1 or 0, 5v or GND. I knew it in my head but was good to hear it explained.

In terms of how to control the state of each pin you use code and the Arduino Software and we are introduced to integers and floats and further understanding of how to write our own code with help from the learning resources.

Next we were challenged to alter our blinking LED to include an analog infa-red sensor, so that when the sensor detects movement in it's range it will blink the LED. Took a bit of playing around and asking a few questions to include it into the setup, but feel like I learned a lot about further customisation and writing my own code.
 

After lunch next up was an intro to the servo which are used to get things to move. And again we are given some time to write a programe to connect sensors and servos through Arduino.

Next up was a chance to experiment and play with what we have been shown today and prototype our own interactive creation. We're encouraged to use cardboard and the bits and pieces lying around the tech lab to create very primitive prototypes.

A video posted by Jono Sandilands (@jonosandilands) on
I chose to use the time to play with making a very, very basic pinball flipper. However it was clear that using the servo for this was not going to work very well, but it's how to use the materials and equipment we had to hand to being an idea to life. It actually ended up working ok - proof of concept anyway!



Once I got the flipper working, I decided to add the infa-red sensor to count points or score. And the output was displayed via the serial terminal. It was a bit sketchy but good fun!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Keeping it Fun


Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series

With this being the final post in the series of Pervasive Play, I will leave this post open to share developments and different projects I find exciting. So please share projects with me by commenting, tweeting or getting in contact. I would be happy to feature them here.


I see pervasive play becoming included more into our everyday lives, it will reflect in a new way of learning, become parts of our jobs, embedded in architecture, services and our possessions. All of this will lead to happier and more playful people.

The aim of this series is to outline and share my research working towards a project proposal based around games as art. If you are interested or are working on something similar please get in touch.

Exciting & Current Projects


Karen
Blast Theory
http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/karen/

"Karen is an app that mixes gaming and storytelling. Karen is a life coach and she’s happy to help you work through a few things in your life. When you begin, she asks you some questions about your outlook on the world to get an understanding of you. In fact, her questions are drawn from a well established psychological profiling questionnaire called Mood Repair. She – and the software – are profiling you and she gives you advice based on your answers.
As she gets to know you, she gets more and more curious. She seems to know things about you that she shouldn’t. Where exactly is this going to end?"



Play Sandbox
React
http://www.react-hub.org.uk/playsandbox/

Play Sandbox will support six collaborations to develop new products or services for children.
It has been designed to bring together companies, young people and academic researchers to develop prototypes that mobilise play in new and transformative ways.
The prototypes we produce will be relevant to the toys market, to families, to schools and universities. Games, connected objects, the dynamics of social, and knowledge platforms will be combined in new formations. Our teams will foreground the design of the experience over the technology.



Please share projects with me by commenting, tweeting or getting in contact. I would be happy to feature them here.

Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

It's not all fun and games


Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series

With new type of play and experimentation come new issues, whilst sometimes these issues need to be developed and addressed, emerging problems have made artists think differently about how games are played - this changes the future of how games are designed.

Rules

How can rules be delivered effectively in a pervasive game? When complex rules need to be delivered in a concise way to a large group of people - sometimes things get missed.

The video below show a set of rules being delivered for a game called Stag Hunt at Hide&Seek festival in 2008.


Stag Hunt Rules from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

It is possible to learn the rules through observing others at play? Would a game still be as engaging if it was made simple enough for people to start playing without being recited lengthy rulesets?

Players may try to break the rules, instead of seeing this as a negative aspect, we could look at it as the players imagination and inventiveness to complete a task. Players are creating their own response to the game, their own play within a game. This is most commonly known as cheating.

Bystanders
"Imagine the reaction of the average bystander if, say, a hundred people spontaneously broke into a coordinated dance in a public area. Now imagine how a bystander may react to seeing a Killer player brandish a realistic looking toy gun in a crowded park and run after another player. In the former scenario, bystanders might react with pleasure and surprise; in the latter bystanders could respond with fear, alarm, anger, or even seek to prevent the perceived attack from taking place." (Patton, 2014)

Due to the public locations of some games, it is no surprise that non players will get caught up in the gameplay. They may not realise a game is being played and could be shocking depending on the nature of the game. Bystanders may not be happy about gameplay if it affects their day to day lives. It comes down to common sense and playtesting.

But what if they want to join in? Who is then responsible for them? Do they know how to play? Do they know the rules? Depending on the type of play there may have to be some ‘play police’, but does this say more about our society than the actual game that is being played? Why is it not possible for everyone to join in?

Technology limitations

We are not at a place where we can rely on technology to form the completely reliable part of a pervasive game. I really don’t think this is a bad place to be, the day that we fully rely on technology I believe the world will lose something in the creativity that comes out of the issues it causes. Issues mean a game has to be playful to work around them. Limitations make us develop the use of technology and how it fits into a game in a way which adds value - not just there for the sake of being there.

The most obvious issue is the battery life of a device, but how is changing a battery any different that say, reloading a gun in a ‘shoot-em-up’ computer game?

Device reception, GPS and wifi signals when perceived to be all around us, do tend to be quite unreliable. Players could use these dips in signal to ‘hide in the shadows’.

Calibration / Jitter (2009) Nikki Pugh
In 2009 Nikki Pugh wrote this blog post about testing GPS signals - by walking a set path with two devices and recording the traced path on a map to get an idea of how much deflection there is from buildings and how much the body disrupts the signal. Makes a quite interesting drawing but clearly shows how unreliable it is for exact tracking of location.



The issues have been observed out of my initial research, these are meant to be posed as questions which are not answered in this series, perhaps all areas of future research, but are certainly areas which are currently being researched and developed by artists.

Read more at Part IX – Keeping it Fun

Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series

Reference
Gramazio, H., The Soho Stag Hunt. Available from: http://severalbees.com/staghunt

Patton, A., (2014) Why Pervasive Games ar Dangerousl [online]. Available from: http://thegamehaschanged.net/why-pervasive-games-are-dangerous/[Accessed 4 Nov 2014].

Pugh, N., (2009) Drift [online] Available from: http://npugh.co.uk/blog/drift/ [Accessed 4 Nov 2014].

Image
Nikki Pugh (2009) calibration / jitter [photograph]. At: http://npugh.co.uk/images/blog/2009/winter/calibration.jpg [Accessed 4 Nov 2014].

Monday, 3 November 2014

Big Games


Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series

Using a device to track player location as they move through an urban environment, turning cities into the game board.
Fig. 13. pacmanhattan (2005)

Fig. 14. Ghost Op One (Pac Manhattan) (2008)

Earlier games such as Pac-Manhattan (2004) remapped arcade games onto the streets of Manhattan, when players physically run in the streets with a device (see fig. 13). Live wifi signals are sent over the internet to control their character in the virtual game. The game becomes a broadcast to a group of people viewing the virtual representation at the game headquarters (see fig. 14).

Fig. 15. 2.8 Hours Later (2010)
More contemporary storytelling games like 2.8 Hours Later (2010, see fig. 15) by Bristol based Slingshot is a large game of zombie themed chase for adults. This type of game is good when initially describing a pervasive game. However, it does not bring together physical and digital. Adding a digital layer into a game like this would not add any extra meaning to the game. As an example of how the definition of pervasive play is arguable, 2.8 Hours still utelises social media by asking people to review, share and post pictures of experiences building marketing to new audiences online. To me this does not fully define a pervasive game (in terms of my research), yet these types of platforms are important to make this sort of gaming accepted in public places.

A documentary about social and pervasive gaming filmed in the UK by Pop Up Playground's Robert Reid and Sayraphim Lothian:


Big games are usually only suited to adults, due to the nature of safety of being in a public space. But in our busy stressful lives - a place for adults to play is very important and should become more frequent.

Uncle Roy All Around You

Uncle Roy All Around You from Blast Theory on Vimeo.

Uncle Roy All Around You (2003) by Brighton based Blast Theory is an early example of this idea of big games.

Players on the street (see fig. 16) and online (see fig. 17) play together at the same time to direct the street player to find Uncle Roy’s office, much like a scavenger hunt. The street player is given a GPS tracking device which also has the ability to send and receive text, sound and video messages both from Uncle Roy and the online players.

Online players can move around a virtual version of the city playboard to help track down the office and then attempt to guide the street player in the right direction.

Once the street player reaches the destination there are a set of questions directed both at the online and offline players, these questions are structured in a way to perhaps physically bring the players together in real life, and remind us we have been interacting with real people.
Fig. 16. Uncle Roy All Around You, Participant (2003)

Fig. 17. Uncle Roy All Around You, Interface (2003)

Uncle Roy All Around You is an experiment how players online and offline can work together to reach a final goal.

It is interesting to see how bystanders react to the gaming in environments not designed for play. In this situation it works quite well due to the location, an area of London that is busy with tourists, so asking for directions would not be out of the ordinary - the player wouldn’t feel out of place or in any danger out on their own. If there was a different goal to the game, or the game was played at night, there may be different structures required to make the game work.

Yet, to me there is a sense of loneliness in this game, more recent examples by Blast Theory including I’d Hide You (2012) show a much more social aspect to the games. However I chose this example as it displays the fundamentals of what these types of games are striving to achieve.

There are lots of examples although none have reached a better place to explain and discuss the idea of big games. So much are in an extremely experimental phase with testing both how to deliver a game like this, and also how to use technology as an advantage of the game.

Read more at Part VIII – It's Not All Fun & Games

Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series


Reference 
Giannachi, G., Rowland, D., Benford, S., Foster, J., Adams, M. and Chamberlain, A. (2008) Blast Theory's Rider Spoke, Its Documentation and the Making of Its Replay Archive. Contemporary Theatre Review. 20 (3), pp.219-257. Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10486801.2010.489047#.U2EstMdO1NU [Accessed 14 March 2014].

Montola, M., Stenros, J. and Wr̆n, A. (2009) Pervasive Games: Theory and Design [online]. Amsterdam; London: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann. [Accessed 13 March 2014].

Salen, K. and Zimmerman, E. (2004) Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. London: MIT Press.


Images
Figure 13. Crowley, D. (2005) pacmanhattan [Photograph] At: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/pacmanhattan/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).

Figure 14. Ghost Op One (2008) [Photograph] At: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/pacmanhattan/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).


Figure 15. 2.8 Hours Later (2010) [Photograph] At: http://2.8hourslater.com/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).

Figure 16. Blast Theory (2003) Uncle Roy All Around You, Particpant [Photograph] At: http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/uncle-roy-all-around-you/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).

Figure 17. Blast Theory (2003) Uncle Roy All Around You, Interface [Photograph] At: http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/uncle-roy-all-around-you/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Around the Table


Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series
“Preserve the rich social interaction of traditional board games, while adding the power of technology" (Li, 2007)
This social aspect to tabletop games, opens direct interaction and connections between players, which is becoming increasingly rare as we rely more and more on devices to make connections virtually.

Figure 9. A touch sensitive table surface displaying the KnightMage game board.

There are examples of pervasive tabletop games such as KnightMage where the playing board is a digital display but retains tactile playing pieces (see fig. 9). The display acts as the board much like a classic board game, but it is enhanced with an interactive and navigable world, unrestricted by what is dictated in a printed, static board.

An example in the previous post, Brainball (2003) is also a tabletop game, showing that there can be interesting crossover to create new themes.

Noisy Jelly
Fig. 10. Noisy Jelly (2012)
Fig. 11. Noisy Jelly (2012)
Fig. 12. Noisy Jelly (2012)

Noisy Jelly (2012, see fig. 10) by Marianne Cauvard and Raphaƫl Pluvinage does not rely on a digital display to enrich the play experience, but still requires touch and technology.

The players are instructed to cook and prepare the jelly in the moulds provided (see fig. 11). When the jelly sets it looks and feels like normal jelly. It is even edible as demonstrated by Pluvinage in the presentation at TEDxTalks (2012). However, what has actually been prepared, is not dessert, but a tactile musical play material. By placing the jelly on the conductive game board then touching (see fig. 12), the player activates different tones of sound and instruments. The colour and strength of the mixture, as well as location of touch can alter the sound output.


NOISY JELLY from Raphaƫl Pluvinage on Vimeo.

The artists research observed the strange growing layer of technology and devices in our lives, questioning and comparing the cold, hard tactile and visual aesthetics of a device to dynamic, textured aesthetics of food as inspiration to make an interface, in a search for a new electronic aesthetic.


Cauvard and Pluvinage have created something which evokes senses which are not always associated with play. It takes play into unknown territories, seeing technology and food in a different way.

This looks like an incredibly pleasing way to interact with an interface, much of our touch interaction with technology consists of illuminated screens behind glass or plastic, meaning we can never really know what it is like to touch and feel something. It brings so much excitement that our future of touch devices are more playful and tactile.

Jelly will melt and break during play, instead of becoming unusable it actually creates more possibilities to make new sounds, expanding the play. When the jelly is no longer usable, the player only has to cook more to start play again.

The number one rule for Noisy Jelly is to play with your food, questioning dinner table etiquette, a ruleset which is part of our everyday lives - perhaps this plays with the idea that our lives are actually no more than a big game, with rules and activities which we have formed into a routine and careers.

Read more at Part VII – Big Games

Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series


Reference 
Li, K. , Counts, S. (2007) Exploring Social Interactions and Attributes of Casual Multiplayer Mobile Gaming. Proceedings of the 4th international conference on mobile technology, applications, and systems and the 1st international symposium on Computer human interaction in mobile technology, September 10-12, 2007, Singapore. Available from: http://www.kevinli.net/momentus.pdf [Accessed 26 April 2014].

TEDxTalks. (2012) Noisy Jelly: Marianne Cauvard & Raphael Pluvinage at TEDxHanzeUniversity, [online]. HanzeUniversity (Groningen, NL): Available from: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Noisy-Jelly-Marianne-Cauvard-Ra/ [Accessed 20 Mar 2014].


Images
Figure 9. KnightMage A touch sensitive table surface displaying the KnightMage game board. [Photograph] In: Magerkurth, C.; Engelke, T. ; Memisoglu, M. Augmenting the virtual domain with physical and social elements. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Advancements in Computer Entertainment Technology (Singapore, June 3–5, 2004). ACM Press, NY, p. 170.

Figure 10. Huyghe, V. (2012) Noisy Jelly [Photograph] At: https://www.flickr.com/photos/raphaelplu/sets/72157629621382055/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).
 

Figure 11. Huyghe, V. (2012) Noisy Jelly [Photograph] At: https://www.flickr.com/photos/raphaelplu/sets/72157629621382055/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).
 

Figure 12. Huyghe, V. (2012) Noisy Jelly [Photograph] At: https://www.flickr.com/photos/raphaelplu/sets/72157629621382055/ (Accessed on 29 April 2014).

 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Affective Gaming


Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series
“Affective gaming refers to the new generation of games in which the players’ behaviour directly affects the game objectives and gameplay.” (Kotsia, 2013, p. 663)
Being aware of the emotional or physical state of the player could be a huge benefit to how further gameplay is structured. Say a player is not engaged as much as another player is, the technology would be aware of this and alter the next steps in an attempt to motivate that player more.

This is technologically the most difficult type of data to input and to analyse. How can software possibly record the mental state of a human? The easiest way would be to ask, however players may lie and it would not be accurate. Another way is by adding sensors to the body to record things such as heart rate, breathing, precipitation and brain activity.

A less intrusive way to monitor human behaviour during play is by motion tracking. Hardware such as XBox Kinect, a motion sensing input device for the XBox games consoles as well as Windows, Linux and Mac, has already become accepted by computer gamers. The great thing about the device is that it is available to use outwith its intended use of commercial XBox games, meaning that artists have access to this cheap hardware in their own software instead of having to build their own or looking to more expensive alternatives.

Kinect can track motion, 3D depth and sound. The latest version expands including facial expression recognition. This could be used to judge your mood based on your facial expression and to check if you are engaged with the game. There is also an estimation of the players heart rate. Although this is unintrusive off body sensing, it is arguable how reliable this is just now. Either way it is a glimpse at what we can expect in future as technology develops.

Brainball

Fig. 8. Brainball (2003)
Brainball (2003 see fig. 8) by The Interactive Institute Sweden consists of a table, a ball and headbands which monitors EEG signals from the brain. The two player game is very simple, the ball starts in the centre, the aim is roll the ball to the opponents side of the table. To do this you do not need to be well trained, the headbands monitor who is most relaxed and moves the ball towards their opponent. The aim is to do as little as possible. In the paper by the artist which analyses Brainball (Hjelm, S. 2003), television presenter and journalist Jon Snow reportedly states, "What makes this game so very different is that all the old skills, like tactical thinking and hand-eye coordination, count for nothing."

Brainball could be seen to be a social gaming experiment, saying something about current game platforms in our everyday lives. Traditional games usually require the player to invoke some sort of physical or mental stress to the body. Our everyday lives is full of stresses with work and travel, so Brainball takes players out of all of those areas and forces them to relax and play.

The addition of sensors on a body is not ideal as these could have an influence on how players act. Ironically for Brainball the sensors may cause extra stress to the situation for players.

Due to the experimental nature of these affective games, there is ongoing research and development and thus a huge part is testing and gathering feedback from players. Some players said that they would prefer sensors that they have more control over, such as breathing or heart rate (Hjelm, S. 2003).

Reacting to real human emotions or actions is a continuing developing area in gaming, this is very much dictated as with many aspects of our lives with the developments of technology.

Read more at Part VI – Around the Table

Part of a series exploring Pervasive Play - see the other posts in the series


Reference 
Hjelm, S., (2003) The Making of Brainball [online]. Report number: CID- 235.Stockholm, Sweden: CID, Centre for User Oriented IT Design. Available from: http://cid.nada.kth.se/pdf/CID-235.pdf [Accessed 27 April 2014].

Kotsia, I. , Zafeiriou, S. , Fotopoulos, S. (2012) Affective Gaming: Beyond using Sensors. Rome, 2-4 May 2012. Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Communications, Control and Signal Processing, ISCCSP 2012, Rome, Italy, 2-4 May 2012. Available from: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=6217768 [Accessed 26 April 2014].
 
Images
Figure 8. Swedish Interactive Institute (2003) Brainball pose [Photograph] At: https://www.tii.se/projects/brainball (Accessed on 29 April 2014).