Monday, April 30, 2012

The Ways of a Game Controller

Game controllers are not just for your game console anymore. Several creative people have hacked game controllers into whatever their heart desires. In a blog by Jean Aws, he describes that he had two of his own projects using the Kinect. His Robotic Mimicry uses the Kinect to interact with machines. It senses his hand in 3d and the data is transferred to the robot which mimics the hand's motions. The other kRC, the Kinect switched places of a typical remote control for a helicopter.

Another interesting use for a game controller is what Tots on Bots team at Ithaca College came up with only using a baby chair, a Wii Balance Board, and a small mobile robot. Sitting in the baby chair the child can lean in any  direction and the Wii Balance Board can sense which direction to move the robot. When the child relaxes the robot stops.

In Moullines's Catalina video, graphics were made using software with the 3d data set from Kinect. Music has been made using the WiiMote and a little hacking. The Kinect has a 3d camera where you can scan or photograph an object for 3d printing.
The data collected can then be 3d printed into a souvenir such as Be our Own Souvenir by Blablalab. The same data can be used by a DSLR camera creating amazing abstract photography.

One other fascinating idea is the use of Playstation Move controllers and custom software. The brains of coders, hackers and designers have given capability of writing with eye movement with their design Playstation Eye was attached to a pair of glasses for tracking. The uses for gaming controllers are endless with a little imagination.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Subway Living Green

Not only are you eating fresh, Subway customers get a high-tech experience with an eco-friendly feel in Indiana. In Kokomo Indiana, a Subway franchise became the states’ first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for its use of technology for saving energy and for its green-building design. Together the franchisee, the Chief Sustainability Officer at Indiana-based real estate development firm, and Huston Electric created the eco-restaurant. The Subway franchise uses a Control14 automation system that allows the building to act and react automatically to fixed commands. The building has installed programmable light switches, thermostats, motion sensors, daylight sensors, and an eGauge energy monitoring device that communicates wirelessly with the system. The exterior lights switch on and off based on opening and closing hours. The bathroom and kitchen lights function based upon occupancy. There are two exterior light level sensors that gather daylight to automatically conserve power. When the sensors reach a certain percentage of light, the dining room lights on the side room will shut off, using only the natural light coming into the dinning room. Thermostats were also programmed to rise or drop automatically based on business hours alongside an in-ceiling ERV air recovery unit. 

An in-ceiling ERV is a fully ducted ventilator designed to ventilate any domestic, commercial or institutional building. It will remove stale air from the indoor air space and replace it with fresh air which has been pre-conditioned to have minimal impact on the indoor air temperature and humidity. Continuously ventilating the indoor space prevents the occurrence of buildup of allergens, mould, dust mites and other chemical pollutants, providing a healthier living and working environment.  A monitor in the lobby displays the Control14 system with the Eragy App in real time, as an educational and informational display for customers to enjoy and disuse. Eragy is a smart energy software application and service that are able to monitor the building’s overall power usage. The Eragy system monitors electrical usage throughout the restaurant so that it can be tracked and accessed remotely. This allows the restaurant staff to recognize projected monthly energy costs sooner, allowing them to make adjustments as needed. Hurrah for fresh food and living green Indiana!

Subway didn’t start in Indiana, they actually have several other eco-stores in North Carolina alone. The eco-restarants building materials where used from sustainable sources and extensive use of recycled products and furnishings such as LED interior and exterior signage, recycled floor tile, high-efficiency Energy Star-rated HVAC system, remote condensing units for refrigeration and ice-making equipment, low flow and flush fixtures in public restrooms, less lighting power and more natural light for customers as well as a recycling collection of post-consumer recyclable waste generated in-store.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bjorn's... Just Bjorn's

Have you ever dreamed about having your own personal theater? I had the pleasure of going and seeing my dream in reality at Bjorn’s. I have never seen such a store of audio video home theater before. On Bjorns website it states “Bjorn’s… just Bjorn’s” and they are right, there is nothing quit like it. 

You first walk into an outstanding open show room, displaying all of the best in audio video home theater equipment. There is even a waterfall running down their SunBrite television. (Don’t worry its waterproof and weatherproof) There is several side rooms completely set up in different home style theaters, but there is one that stands out from the rest and Bjorn’s call it “The Ultimate Room”,  I call it heaven for entertainment.

The “Ultimate Room” was designed by Tomlinson Holman aka “TH” in “THX” and Mr. Bjorn himself and neither one leaving anything out. When you open the 600 pound entry door to their home theater, which has the newest entertainment technology known to man; you will start to understand why they choose its name. Upon being greeted, I asked for the Ultimate 3D experience and what I received was so much more. The representative had me sit in the front row in the D-Box chair while he explained the specs of the room.

 The room has a surround sound system that incorporates ten discrete channels of full-range audio system of 14 speakers and including two discrete subwoofer channels for music. With the Audyssey MultEQ system the audio system is calibrated to the acoustics of the room giving every seat “the best seat in the house”.

The flooring was even designed just for the D-Box experience in mind. I have tried the D-Box experience before in a theater but those seats don’t have anything on Bjorn’s D-Box seats. Using their Kaleidescape system, a server and controller system that stores all software digitally with an interactive on-screen user interface, the rep chose a 6 minute clip of Avatar in 3D. I reclined my seat with a touch of a button and begun to move and even at times seemed to float with the scenes of the movie. The screen was able to open and close for different viewing options and with their 3D glasses the movie jumped off the screen. The next clip that was shown to me was from Lord of The Rings, shown just for Bjorn’s D-Box seats. It was a great clip to show the intensity, I honestly felt, I was on the battle field with giant elephants stomping up the ground. The cost of this Ultimate room you may ask, well it’s about the same as an average home in America, only it was designed for no sound to come in or get out.

At Bjorn’s they are more than happy to give demonstrations. It takes about 20 minutes for a demo of the 10.2 channel surround sound system of Tomlinson Holman and between 15-20 minutes for the video system demo. Together the demonstration can be around 30 minutes, they do have quicker versions of the demo but believe me you are going to want to experience the entire 30 minute demonstration. As they say “The Ultimate Room’ Simply amazing.”

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Bjorn's... Just Bjorn's