We have a number of exciting updates to share; We’ve begun on site installation of our new Fort Collins experience, our CEO Ethan Bach and CSO Paul Elsberg have submitted two exciting topics for this year’s Denver Startup Week and Elsberg will be leading an ongoing Hackster.IO workshop. Let’s go into detail on each.
Fort Collin Museum of Discovery
We left off last in excited conceptualization of how this project would take place. Since then the test version of our Fort Collins installation has taken wings; We’re now ready to reveal the beta version of our newest creation: An interactive audio/visual exhibit which allows visitors to create music simply by walking into the space.
We achieve this with 4 Epson projectors, 6 Behringer speakers and 2 Kinect sensors mounted to the ceiling, 1 SkyLake 6700 Quad Core and 1 Lenovo ThinkCenter M715Q AMD Pro computer. The audio/visual elements are generated through a system utilizing TouchDesigner, Processing and Max/MSP. Processing both passes data to TouchDesigner 1. Through OSC and Max/MSP and 2. Video to Spout, an inter application video program.
Learning a new instrument can be difficult for a number of people. The aim of this exhibit is to provide an easier approach to musical creation, lowering the barrier to entry for visitors to participate.
Based on our surveys we’ve observed a mix of behaviors among visitors of the space. Age, gender, family and group size, exhibit, etc. play a part in determining preference towards individual or group interaction, and desired amount of time spent interacting.
Our vision is to bring diverse groups of people together who may never meet, all within a whole new context of creativity. Our goal is to make it as easy and pleasurable for those familiar with music to enjoy it in a new way and create an easier approach for newcomers. Housed within the audio exhibits, we aim to provide a unique gathering point for visitors to interact with each other in a brand new way.
As you step inside the space waves of color glide across the floor, mirrored by traces of light dancing across the wall, beckoning you to enter. A red dot appears below your feet as you realize that your position is being tracked from above. Beats and tones are generated, waves feathering past you and into the distance. The wall ebbs and shifts to your movement on the floor. Speakers covers you with a song that is made of your movement. As more begin to follow inside, the space reacts as you create music in synchronization.
On Monday, May 22nd we began the on site installation at the museum. The first day entailed physical preparation of the space, placement of projectors and Kinects, and computer calibration. Today we plan to install the Behringer speakers all to create a truly immersive and interactive experience. We’re aiming for a soft public launch on June 9th.
We also announce Paul Elsberg as an instructor of a continuous Hackster.io Meetup sponsored by DATA and Alt Ethos. Hackster is an online community dedicated to learning hardware. By this they mean building analog systems which connect human action to digital reaction. In their own words:
Hackster helps people everywhere learn how to design, create and program Internet-connected hardware. By bringing together our network of close to 200,000 engineers, makers and hackers, 90 technology partners, and 100 Hackster Live ambassadors, we hope to support the creation of technologies that impact meaningful issues, such as a healthy environment, wildlife preservation, and our own welfare.
Both our CEO, Ethan Bach and CSE, Paul Elsberg have submitted talks for Denver Startup Week. Both are seeking votes for the opportunity to present these talks. Denver Startup Week is an open week celebrating and enhancing entrepreneurship beginning September 25th which we are proud to be a part of for our second year.
Building A New Paradigm with Collaborative Business Models
Creating a self-driving supportive organization that fosters leadership and personal evolution to achieve the highest success for the company is one of the drivers behind Bach’s joint venture organizations. Backed by over thirty years of experience in personal transformation, mentorship, and leadership, Bach sets out to create a new kind of company culture where the focus is as much on vision and inspiration as professional development and deliverables. Bach offers real-life strategies and solutions followed by an open dialogue driven by unanswered questions around creating a new paradigm in business. Vote for Bach’s talk here: https://www.denverstartupweek.org/panel-picker/3298-building-a-new-paradigm-with-collaborative-business-models
Designing with Art and Technology for Local Communities!
What if artful expressions of technology could strengthen our sense of community, bringing us together in local areas rather than fragmenting us further into our digital lives? To captivate with creative technology requires an understanding of the vision, context, users, and interactions that connect communities to spaces. At the forefront of emergent media, a panel of explorers will discuss how experiential design is essential to their creative process as a means to navigate an ever growing landscape of technological possibilities. Vote for Elsberg’s talk here: https://www.denverstartupweek.org/panel-picker/3264-designing-with-art-and-technology-for-local-communities
Matt Maes is a Denver animator focused on immersive and interactive technology. He is Chief Influence Officer ofAlt Ethos, Ltd and is also an executive member of the nonprofit organization Denver Arts and Technology Advancement (D.A.T.A.)
It is with great pride that we announce our most recent work with an organization with which we’ve shared a close bond and rich history: The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery or FCMoD as it’s most commonly known is a partnership merged between the Fort Collins Museum and Science Discovery Center in 2008 for the purpose of inspiring scientific education through creative, engaging educational experiences, all under one roof.
The museum’s layout tells their focus on creating experiences which balance education with interactive audio play in an open format through various applications and specialties. Walk through the front doors, past the lobby and you’ll witness an interior aid out with strategically placed installations meant to evoke interactive sound based experiences between groups of all ages. The museum maintains a reputation for its exhibits which encourage self-learning, requiring little to no prior instruction.
The museum brings in many families with children who naturally gravitate towards the most fun exhibits such as the Reactable and Build Your Own Horn. We later asked how many mouth pieces get washed every day at the Build Your Own Horn exhibit: Over 300. We’re gonna try and avoid that for ours.
Walk past the Build Your Own Horn exhibit and you may pass right by a dark unassuming semicircle room lined with a couch facing a tv which felt like a small lounge. Think about that: An underused, empty lounge with everyone else outside playing at the exhibits.
Our job is to create an experience which marries sound and motion in a way which makes approaching a musical instrument as smooth a process as possible, a visual ensemble which binds humans to the act of play upon entering the room. In our case the most sensible approach is to position Kinect sensors and projection overhead, ensuring no damage to the equipment or disruption of the intended experience. Given the most common users are children these exhibits see a great amount of use and misuse. With this in mind we’ve planned to create an experience which anyone can enjoy without a great risk of damage to either our equipment or museum visitors.
We arrived at 9:30 armed with a Ben Q and Optoma projector with the intent of measuring the space and testing throw distance from above. We wanted to gain a scope of our projector capabilities before the meeting. A matter of minutes into testing and we see a child walk inside wide-eyed at our feed video. Ben kindly shooed him out and we laughingly told the story later.
At 10:00 on March 31st our team had the pleasure of sitting down with Ben Gondrez – Digital Dome Manager, Ben Griswold – Exhibit Manager, Nick Duarte – Music Curator and Brent Carmack – Associate Director, the main players in our discussion of the function, parameters, application and overall purpose of this installation.
Climb the stairs next to the front door and you’ll reach the Otterbox Digital Dome Theatre, Ben Gondrez’ domain. The Digital Dome showcases international animations on an immersive format, a practice which has accelerated in recent years in place of strictly educational displays.
In a music oriented town such as Fort Collins Nick Duarte is the most knowledgeable of music theory and most passionate about the witnessing the joy moments which comes over those in a trance of musical play.
In the Discovery meeting Ben Griswold illuminated how the combination of the history and the science museums into one entity defines a lot of their legacy and ideology as a hybrid institution, one that can see history from the lens of science and science through the lens of history. This man’s vision is true north in the purpose of FCMoD’s exhibits.
Brent Carmack has overseen projects which characterize the museum as a landmark of Fort Collins such as the FC150, a project which called for submissions of what makes Fort Collins, Fort Collins. His attention to the “what if” questions spoke of his extensive experience with the museum.
Today was our first impression of each party meeting as a group. We set the tone with a few improv exercises to immerse ourselves into a childlike mindset. In the first game one person moves any way they choose and the rest of the group makes onomatopoeias matching with their movements. The second was a game of charades; One person acts out an audio term to the best of their ability and the group guesses the term. This proved to be quite a fitting approach to begin discussing an installation designed to inspire a discussion which ultimately ended up crossing the globe in terms of how human beings interact with sound.
The tone was immediately set as we dove into why this creation is important:
Music can be created in many more ways than traditional instruments, broadening our understanding of the ways that sound can be created as a metaphor for uncovering new possibilities in how to navigate through the sonic environments that are essential to our experience of the world.
The next question is “How can we make this possible?” We began discussion of scope and parameters including technical capabilities. Through overhead Kinect sensors and projection we’re able to capture data from above which can be interpreted in multiple ways: Based on our survey of the space, stakeholders and museum patrons we provided three concepts catering to specific effects on the user, providing sketches illustrating each from different perspectives:
Ripples: Colored ripples represent different expressions of instrumentation allowing users to create compositions. The ability to change the placement and sonic qualities of ripple generators and record your intersections, thus creating loops fosters both individuals and groups to create a wide range of musical forms.
Hopscotch: The room is broken into segments representing musical instruments. You step in and based on your position trigger pitch and frequency. If you stand still long enough lily pads of color light up your position and paths you can jump to. For example: If you’re in the drum section you can hop to the kick drum or snare, building a song as you go.
Mirrors : Mirror uses the same elements as either “Hopscotch” or “Ripples” to create sound with movement. There are three distinct differences: 1. Each patron is represented through a digital abstraction / object to give reference to their spatial movement in the room. 2. The patterns are only represented in the digital space. and 3. The mirrored virtual back wall is a virtual landscape/design that bends, reshapes, and distorts with the music and movement.
Amidst snacks we poured over the three concepts, imagining each detail in formation of our approach. By the end of the day all parties left in rabid anticipation to see this project come to life.
Before leaving we returned to the empty room for final measurements. As we were wrapping up our measurements we heard a small child who had wandered inside say “There’s nothing in here”. He turned as his mother guided him away as we smiled and remarked that that reaction is about to change very quickly.
Matt Maes is a Denver animator focused on immersive and interactive technology. He is Chief Influence Officer of Alt Ethos, Ltdand is also an executive member of the nonprofit organization Denver Arts and Technology Advancement (D.A.T.A.)