Japanese professor Hiroshi Ishiguro from Osaka University has quite a track record of threading the uncanny valley. Remember his Doppelgänger Robot and Geminoid Female? His current proposal brings new dimensions to mobile communications: Humanoid dimensions.
Although our human body language is one the most effective and natural channels for communication, it plays no role in mobile communication so far. Hence Hiroshi Ishiguro teamed up with NTT Docomo and Qualcomm to develop a humanoid shaped phone, called Elfoid, which adds an element of realism to long-distance communication by recreating the physical presence of a remote person.
The fleshy urethane skinned prototype has a deliberate genderless and ageless appearance, as this should allow for the projection of the personality of any caller. Equipped with a camera and motion-capture system, the Elfoid phone will be able to watch the user’s face and transmit motion data to another Elfoid phone, which should then reproduce the face and head movements in real-time.
The Elfoid phone immediately reminded us of the voodoo communication device for lovers, conceptualized by Yu Yu Chien some years ago. Although some of the negative connotations of voodoo are better avoided, projecting a remote person in a hand held doll, has proven to provide for a powerful psychological effect. Contrary to many of Ishiguro’s earlier humanoids the Elfoid phone combines human realism with a strong symbolic quality that could turn out to be a winning team.
Say hello to teacher Engkey!
The city of Daegu — South Korea, introduced 29 robot teachers in 19 elementary schools as part of a large scale project to robotize teaching. The ambitious effort envisioned robots in all 8,400 kindergartens in Korea by 2013. Source: Tim Hornyak for news.cnet.com Read more
The Neighborhood’s DNA
I’ve noticed DNA spray notices springing up around Amsterdam. I assumed it was a fairly standard anti-theft device: A crime is committed, a little nozzle is activated by the offended shop owner, and the criminal is coated in a long-lasting UV-dye. So far, a more advanced update of the standard ‘exploding ink in a wad of money’ trick, but nothing unusual. The DNA angle seemed like a marketing ploy to make a banal technology sound bio-futuristic.
The Institute for Digital Biology
“The Institute for Digital Biology researches next steps in the evolution of the internet, where websites and services develop into living creatures.”
This scenario lives in the mind of Walewijn den Boer, graduated from KABK in 2010.
During the exhibition, visitors were able to feed a colony of microscopical pop-up creatures, save Chinese websites from a pageview-shortage, preserve an Amazone tribe from extinction by subscribing to its homepage and view a short documentary on how the living internet established itself.
Urban intervention, naughty boy-style! The public media interventionists of VR/Urban have designed a cool tool to intervene into next nature: the SMSlingshot. A wooden, embedded interaction device –equipped with an ultra-high frequency radio, a hacked Arduino board, laser and batteries – to shoot your own message directly onto a building or media facade. With some tucked away beamers, it works like magic. Reclaim the screens!
Clouding the brain
Man is a flexible species. We tend to adapt quite rapidly to new environments. But how fast can these adaptations turn to new evolutionary traits? For instance: to what extent is the internet changing our cognitive capabilities?
Back in the day, the story goes, we could remember whole bible stories. We could even sing entire newspapers. Because there weren’t any, we had to remember it all. That changed with the invention of book printing. Remembering became less important and instead, as philosopher Walter Ong claimed, our brains could focus more on comparing and analyzing. So our analytical skills grew.
Traces of Everyday Embedded in Textile
Reading the Body: Finger Length Ratio Predicts Athletic Ability
The human body is increasingly recognized as a biometric source of information for a wide spectrum of issues, including security, psychopathology, personality and health. Earlier we reported that job interviews might be replaced by brain scans within five years and denoted this news as a modern technological incarnation of occult palm reading. Now it turns out that palm reading itself has found a new incarnation – it’s in the ratio of your fingers.