Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's About Time!

Femto Photography can capture the motion of light.
Since the introduction of digital photography, researchers have focused on increasing spatial resolution. With more megapixels of data from the sensor, a camera can better simulate the human optical system. Today, when every smart phone has a high resolution sensor, researchers are moving beyond resolution and capturing images that explore other dimensions.  One of the new dimensions discussed at SIGGRAPH this month was time.

Ramesh Raskar and a team of scientists at MIT have developed Femto Photography, a method to capture images with an exposure of a trillionth of a second. This capture is fast enough to track the propagation of light through a scene.  When a series of these frames are assembled into a slow motion video, we can actually see the path of the light.

One of the interesting potential applications for Femto-Photography is medical imaging. As light travels into a semi-transparent surface, like human skin, the light scatters beneath the surface and some of it reflects back in the direction of the camera. Analysis of this sub-surface scattering could reveal the composition of the tissue below the surface.

The method can also be used to see around corners. Light which bounces off of a door into a room will travel different distances to each of the items in the room. By comparing the times when the photons bounce back to the camera, the positions of everything in the room can be computed.

Time is just one of many new dimensions that can be explored using computational imaging. What would you like to see?


Ramesh Raskar explains Femto Photograhy at TED 2012

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Regrets!

Jane McGonigal at SIGGRAPH 2012
 This year at SIGGRAPH, game designer Jane McGonigal delivered the first top-secret, death-defying, life-change, world-record-breaking keynote presentation that I have ever heard. McGonigal, the author of Reality is Broken, is committed to developing and promoting the development of games that make a positive impact on how people behave in real life.

She pointed out that the most common criticism she hears about her work is that people will eventually regret the time that they "wasted" playing video games. Using the Top Five Regrets People Have on Their Deathbeds that have been published by palliative care professional and blogger Bronnie Ware, McGonigal proceeded to show that playing a video game with a family member or friend is exactly the kind of activity that people will wish they had done more often.

Here are a few of the interesting results of playing video games:

  • Children that play video games are more creative
  • ADHD symptoms disappear when playing games
  • Those who play social games are more likely to help others
  • Gamers with autism show increased social intelligence
  • Casual games outperform pharmaceuticals for treating depression and anxiety

Anticipating skepticism, she provided a link to the actual scientific evidence supporting each claim. You can check it out for yourself at www.ShowMeTheScience.com.

Which games will you regret not playing enough?

 

An interview with Jane McGonigal from SIGGRAPH 2012



Jane McGonigal at TED in 2010

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The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.






Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stuck in the 20th Century?

20th Century Fox logo is a registered trademark of News Corporation


We are only twelve years into the 21st century, but there has already been a dramatic shift in the technology and media we use to keep informed and communicate with each other.

Here are some examples:

Keeping current with events in the 20th century:  Television  news, newspapers and magazines.

Keeping current now: streaming apps, blogs, Flipboard, Twitter.

Formats for reading books in the 20th century: hard back or softcover.

Formats for books now: Kindle or Nook.

Ways to send a short message in the 20th century: postcard, telephone or email.

Short messages now: text, Tweet or Facebook message.

Listening in the car in the 20th century: radio, cassettes or CDs.

Listening in the car now: Pandora, Spotify, iTunes or Audible.

Finding your way in the 20th century: folded maps or asking for directions.

Finding your way today: Google Maps or Garmin App.

Movies at home in the 20th century: Turner, VHS or DVD.

Movies at home now: Blu-ray, Netflix or Vudu.

Finding a job in the 20th century: classified ads, resumes and applications.

Finding a job today: LinkedIn, personal blog and twitter feed.

The world has changed rapidly and the rate of change is accelerating. However, many of us still use many of the older methods. I am certainly guilty of picking up the phone from time to time and still consume some printed content from traditional fiber-based substrates. Sometimes I even walk over to someone's office for a traditional analog, non-video conference. Generally though, I greatly appreciate the new media and thrive on the increased volume and speed of data.

How about you? Have you embraced most of the 21st century communication tools, or are you still mostly stuck in the 20th century?



The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Would Bond Do?

James Bond, copyright Metro Goldwyn Meyer
We come into this world with very limited social skills.  We can smile or cry, but just about everything else has to be learned. In our early years, we are shaped by our parents and close family, but we soon start assimilating characters from the wider culture as our role models.

When we read stories about fictional heroes or watch great movies or television shows, we unconsciously identify with certain characters and the dialog and action in the story can be a rehearsal for similar situations in real life.

We may not realize it, but we often ask ourselves "What would James Bond do in this situation?" Or Harry Potter, or Hermione Granger, or Buffy Summers or Katniss Everdeen. "What would they do in this situation?"

If the stories we read serve as a rehearsal for real life, it follows that those who read and watch a wider variety of stories have more practice navigating a complex social society. That is why it is important to include heroic fiction and biographies in our reading and viewing list.

My fictional heroes have usually been people who are smart, good with technology (or magic), and often work behind the scenes to make the world (or the universe) a better place; Will Robinson, Merlin (the T.H. White and Mary Stewart versions), Spock, Data, Willow Rosenberg, Hermione Granger, The Doctor and James Bond. Bond doesn't exactly fit the pattern, but it is important to do the tech thing with a little bit of style and flair.

Who are your heroes?






The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.




Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gateway to the Artistic!

Emma and Elsie from A Beautiful Mess
The weather isn't the only thing that's hot in Missouri.  The show-me state is home to wonderful art, craft and design bloggers. Here are some of the best:

A Beautiful Mess - Elsie and Emma believe in taking time each day to make something pretty. They believe in lifelong learning. Most of all, they believe that life doesn't need to be perfect to be beautiful. On A Beautiful Mess you'll find daily inspiration for crafts, recipes, fashion and decor.

Whitney Scott Photography - Once there was a girl who loved photography (but for some reason felt she should deny her artistic inclinations and pursue a Masters degree in Psychology) One day while surfing the internet when she should have been working, she met a boy (who wasn’t into photography, but was into computers… hence, the internet). Together David and Whitney are magic and their blog is filled with amazing images and insights.

One Canoe Two - Carrie and Beth are childhood friends who always loved to draw. Now the two are all grown-up and work together as professional illustrators, designers and printers. The name 1canoe2 comes from years of the two dreaming up big ideas around a campfire and floating down a spring-fed Missouri river in a canoe. Two girls, one canoe. One canoe, two.

Paper Muse Press - Dedicated to all the lovely things that surround and inspire, Emily, Sarah and Rowena are constantly on the hunt for pretty, inspirational things.  Their blog features DIY tutorials, indie finds, event inspiration, art and illustrations, recipes, and a lot of other lovely things.

Hammerpress - Founded in 1994 by Brady Vest after attending the Kansas City Art Institute, they make all sorts of really nice letterpress greeting cards, posters, art prints and other paper goods.

Ampersand Design Studio - Carrie & Morgan's mission is always to create looks and lives that are creative, harmonious and happy. Their shared aesthetic — fresh, innovative, and energized by shots of surprising color—infuses everything they do.

Skunkboy -  Here you will find fashion, crafty things, music, and more.  Katie hopes to always leave people feeling inspired and encouraged when they pop by her corner of the internet.

Sincerely, Kinsey - Kinsey is a photographer planted knee deep in the Midwest. At Sincerely Kinsey you can expect to find photographs from recent shoots, craft projects and fashion inspiration. Her goal is to inspire individuals who aspire to live a creative lifestyle.

Danny Joe Gibson - Danny is a fine artist in Missouri and this Tumblr page is 100% visual and presents his art and inspiration through a set of unique and quirky eyes.

Handmaker of Things - Emily specializes in floral design and jewelry and accessory design. On her blog, she shares her latest work, things that inspire her and a peek into her everyday world.

These are only a few of the craft and design blogs in Missouri.  Do you have a favorite?




The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.