May 18, 2010

Interplay 2010

Interplay 2010

Event type: Conference

Date: 2010-05-18


Earlier this evening I went along to the Innovation Park on Edge Lane to attend the opening of Interplay 2010. It's the graduate showcase for the 2010 Interactive Media students at Liverpool John Moores University.

It's interactive media, so there was a fair bit of flash involved, but plenty of examples of it being used in interesting and fun ways. From a look through the exhibition guide that I picked up it seems I missed a couple of the pieces, and I'm afraid that some of them looked to require a longer time investment than I was prepared to make this evening. Sorry. Right, a whistle-stop tour through the things that I liked...

Augmented reality made a couple of appearances, with Stephen West pushing the limits of the FLAR toolkit to let people build their own AR theatre set. It seems that FLAR doesn't cope particularly well with lots of markers on screen at once, but it was a nice idea to let users manipulate the characters and pieces of scenery in their play in the physical space, and have it translate into an online scene. The other AR piece was from Nick Thomson, who used AR to show a jumbled misfits mask and combined it with pressure-sensitive floor mats to let you choose the different mask components.

The pressure-sensitive mats were hooked up to the computer using Phidget boards, which made a number of appearances in the students work. As well as his AR piece, Stephen West had a lovely physical box puzzle that combined light, heat and magnetic sensors as the inputs to unlock the doors in the accompanying computer maze. Solving the final puzzle in the computer maze opened a physical hatch to reveal a key which would unlock the box to reveal a stuffed toy version of the character you'd been guiding through the online maze.

Anthony Otten was using Phidgets to activate the segments in his narrative piece. He's built a model ferris wheel out of Meccano, and each gondola has an RFID tag hidden on the underside. As the gondola passes the low-point of the wheel the tag is read by an RFID reader which triggers the playing of a particular section of audio and video.

There was only one mobile app on show, presumably because the course didn't cover such devices (an assumption borne out by the fact that this piece was just a mock-up in Flash). Ben Potts has produced a well thought-out and visually beautiful app for festival-goers (in this case Glastonbury) including a schedule, latest news, video clips of the bands and a zoomable map of the site.

Daniel Kington's Mood Room was an interesting piece thinking about what the room of the (near-) future could be like when digital ink is much cheaper and so your whole wall could be a display. It's something I remember discussing with Jeff Veit a few years back - he's been looking forward to the day when redecorating his house involves clicking a button for a while now. It's a bit of a shame (but quite possibly a side-effect of how he had to submit his work) that Daniel hadn't tried projecting the video directly onto the wall of the room it was in. Instead he was projecting a big picture of an example room - with 3D-modelled digital versions of the same chair and table, but I felt it missed the opportunity to give you a real sense of what such a room would be like and as a result better explore how such technology might affect our lives.

Last, but by no means least, is Andy Kelly's drum-machine controlled space invaders game. It was through Andy (indirectly) that I found out about the show, as I'd spotted a re-tweet of his message about it on Twitter. I'd unknowingly spotted another piece of Andy's work at the Arduino workshop I ran at LJMU last week - the papercraft NES controller on the Interplay flyer, but I hadn't paid enough attention to realise what the flyer was promoting. I scored a pretty dismal 1175 on the game, but luckily was along early enough that I made it onto the high-score table for a short while.

The show is on for the next two days, from 10am to 4pm, so if you're quick you can still see it for yourself.

  • Tags: ljmu interactive media graduates interplay 2010

    Posted by Adrian at May 18, 2010 09:20 PM | TrackBack

    This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

    You can receive updates whenever a new post is written by subscribing to the recent posts RSS feed or

    Post a comment

    Remember personal info?

    Note: I'm running the MT-Keystrokes plugin to filter out spam comments, which unfortunately means you have to have Javascript turned on to be able to comment.