Category — Interactive/ Technology
Last weekend marked the 21st annual World Oceans Day, a time to commemorate that blue part of the planet that covers 70% of the earth’s surface and represents our planet’s largest habitat. And while this vast area supports nearly 50% of all species on Earth, some of those species are increasingly in danger due to overfishing: catching fish faster than they can reproduce.
Watch as the soulful octopus sings a sad song of overfishing:
One day captured in the net
Next day sold in the market
Today all of the ships wrecked
Tomorrow fishes are dead
Ocean is lonely because you are hungry
Recognize the voice? That’s Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof.
June 11, 2013 No Comments
Last month Will.i.am, the hip-hop bohemian-turned-dancehall-music-captain, unveiled his video for #thatPOWER (embedding disabled), a track from his new album #willpower. It was shot mostly in Japan earlier this year and features will.i.am and his posse dancing through some recognizable and some more obscure architectural landmarks. Oh, and it also features a hologram of Justin Bieber.
Will.i.am dancing under the seizure-inducing kaleidoscope mirrors of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando.
Will.i.am dancing in front of Florian Claar’s “Fragment No.5” at Tokyo Midtown
Will.i.am dancing in front of Tokyo Big Sight, Japan’s largest convention center.
Will.i.am dancing in front of a ubiquitous Japanese street lined with pubs.
Will.i.am dancing in front of “The Eye of Shinjuku,” created by Yoshihiko Miyashita in 1969.
Seasoned YouTube connoisseurs will recognize the slow-motion dancing style to be that of mixed-martial-artist-turned-buddhist-internet-dancing-sensation Genki Sudo. It’s certainly a sign of the times when hip hop artists are turning to Asians for dance lessons.
When the video premiered, many were quick to jump the gun, assuming that Genki Sudo and his dance unit World Order had indeed given lessons, collaborating with the U.S. pop stars on their dance moves. No one believed that will.i.am had the audacity and gall to not only appropriate Sudo’s moves but to perform them in Japan. However, a statement by the group denied all rumors of any prior agreement, prompting publications like tvgroove.com to edit their article and issue an apology. So I guess will.i.am did indeed have the audacity and gall?
In a tweet, Sudo also wrote, “It looks a lot like World Order (LOL). Thanks for using, Justin & Will…”
May 6, 2013 2 Comments
The Japanese musical trio Clammbon, known for their quirky, jazzy, upbeat tunes, released a music video late last year titled “Rough & Laugh.” The music video, illustrated with fantastic bursts of color and abstract shapes flying in and out the screen, is the work of TYMOTE, an 8-member Tokyo-based design studio with the tagline “pirates of design.” The MV was supposed to be a limited offer, airing just during the month of November, at which point it would be vaulted, never to see the light of day again.
But feedback was so enormous that those involved decided to throw it back up on vimeo. So here it is.
The track was originally created for Shirokuma Café, a popular animated series about a polar bear who runs a café. How great is that!?
May 2, 2013 Comments Off
Sixteen different kanji do a little dance together in this animation that uses the Japanese characters as ideograms. The kanji for objects like tree, river, temple and gate move across the screen as your given a “textual” guide to the city of Kyoto.
May 1, 2013 Comments Off
Using his background in computer graphics and illustration, media artist Makoto Murayama creates technical, scientific blueprints of flowers that look like they belong in a manual for semiconductors. In fact, his work has just been selected as part of the solaé art gallery project, an initiative to bring art into the offices of Tokyo Electron, one of Japan’s largest semiconductor companies.
It’s no surprise that these incredibly detailed renderings are made from an incredibly scientific process. The 29-year old Murayama begins by collecting and studying different flowers. The artist then begins sketching them over and over, literally dissecting every petal under a microscope to identify its structure. Murayama then turns to his computer, where he carefully models and renders out the prints. I would love to have one of these on my wall!
“My inspirations come from Yoshihiro Inomoto (a master of automobile illustration) and Tomitaro Makino (a pioneer in Japanese botanical illustration),” says Murayama in an interview.
April 24, 2013 Comments Off
At a press conference earlier this month Fujitsu unveiled a working prototype that they called a “Next-Generation User Interface for Intuitive Touch-Based Operations.” That’s a very long name. Put another way: a device that allows you to copy and digitize tangible documents using your finger. Or, another way: a fancy scanner.
Accordingly, they’re working towards making this commercially available by 2014. But is it just me or does this technology already feel almost obsolete? Admittedly it would be fun to copy quotes from books like this to save them for later. But then again, if that’s all I wanted I’d probably just get a kindle.
April 18, 2013 Comments Off
Tokyo’s subway system is arguably one of the most complex in the world. The map itself can be an immediate turn-off for any unfamiliarized straphangar. But exactly how do all these lines run underground, overlapping as they carry hundreds of thousands of passengers each day?
Tokyo University graduate student Takatsugu Kuriyama decided to answer that question be recreating an accurate three-dimensional model of Tokyo’s lifeline by using multi-colored tubes strung with wire. Different color liquids pulsate throughout all 18 lines, creating a staggering picture of what goes on below the streets of Tokyo every day.
(To be honest, I’m not sure about the accuracy of this model. some of those dips look more like roller coaster rides, rather than public transportation.)
There’s been some understandable questions raised about the map’s accuracy given the volatile dips and turns. @tokyoreporter pointed me to this graphical map that was done in 2003, illustrating the depths of some of the metro lines. As you can see, the two maps share many of the roller-coaster-qualities. I think what’s happening is that the magnitude of the dips and twirls are being exacerbated when they’re compressed onto a small plane.
Tenmei, a blogger and self-described train nerd wrote a lengthy blog post (JP) about the 3D model. He seems to agree with the big-picture but has a few problems with the way the depth of the train stations were measured, which turns out to be “counting the steps leading down to the platform.”
April 7, 2013 1 Comment
In Japan, March is a time of new leaves, both in a figurative and literal sense. Cherry blossoms are blooming and students are graduating. And despite all the joyous celebrations brought on by warmer weather and new opportunities, it can also be a stressful season for those who have yet to line up a job.
Tokyo University of the Arts student Maho Yoshida beautifully illustrates all the anxieties of shu-katsu, an abbreviated term for job hunting. In the 7 and a half minute video the protagonist, which seems to be Yoshida herself, is peacefully enjoying school life when she begins to notice that her friends are behaving oddly. Before realizing it, she is suddenly swept up in the whirlpool that is, “Japanese ceremonial job hunting.”
There’s no dialogue so you don’t have to understand Japanese to appreciate this animated gem.
[spoiler alert] Ok, I lied. You do have to know a bit of Japanese. In the final scene she gets a message on her phone that reads “rejected.”
March 28, 2013 1 Comment
Tokyo Institute of Technology developed a crazy system for anyone wanting to train and improve their cooking skills. In Japan, there is no shortage of good food. After all, Tokyo leads the world as the city with the most Michelin Three-Star restaurants. Now, Japan is applying their technology to the culinary art of training.
What a surprise today to discover that there is no more need for chefs to train their protege. The 3D simulator is the new teacher and teaches chefs-to-be everything they need to know.
The simulator calculates the heat transfer from the pan to the meat or vegetables that are being cooked and displays the visible changes caused by heating. The frypan interface allows for three-dimensional input and as well as moving the frying pan to aid the cooking process. The simulator can feed back the weight of the ingredients combined with the tactile feeling of frying them.
I guess that only thing it can’t do is simulate the smell of burnt food when you mess up.
source: soon soon soon
March 13, 2013 2 Comments
The NHK education television series “Design Ah!” seeks to teach children about the wonder of design. This spring they take the program out of the screen and into the museum with an art exhibition at 21_21 Design Sight, Tokyo Midtown’s innovative art gallery.
From the start you are invited to stretch your “Design Mind” and literally become part of the exhibition. Almost every work on display is interactive, and children and adults alike will have fun getting their hands on the art. Motion-capture video screens project your image on the wall, crayons and paper are available to design your own “Ah!” for a chance to be displayed in the exhibition, and deconstructed sushi blocks let you pretend to be Jiro for a day. Photographs in the exhibition are encouraged, and Instagram and Twitter messages tagged with #design_ah are fed into an online image gallery.
It is hard not to feel inspired at an exhibition like this. Whatever your medium — photography or toy blocks — art and expression are applauded here. “Design Ah!” is on display until June 2, 2013.
March 1, 2013 Comments Off