Monday, April 30, 2007

Sumotori Dreams

This is amazing. It's a physically simulated sumo wrestling game. You provide simple high-level control signals (walk forward, push, etc.) in order to defeat your opponent, and the wrestlers try to do those actions while maintaining their balance. It's as if they have their own reflexive control systems to stand up straight without falling over, and it works fairly well. It's loads of fun to watch and play. And it's incredibly small... collision detection, physics (with shattering blocks, even), sound effects, music, graphics code (with shadows), textures, etc. all fits in an 87k executable.

HCI Forum/Emerging Technology Conference 2007

My graduate program just had our annual open house event last week (ETC 2007). Speakers included Don Norman, Neal Stephenson, Guy Kawasaki, and Raghu Ramakrishnan.

We unveiled the newly-upgraded C6, a 6-sided VR cave display with 100 million pixels of total resolution (4096 x 4096 per wall)... double that with stereo enabled. For this event we've been working on a tropical island demo. Here's a picture of Tom Batkiewicz running the app:

Monday, April 16, 2007

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

This is a great talk by Sir Ken Robinson on how we are educated out of creativity. He says we are taught to be afraid to make mistakes, which I think is very true and very frustrating.

"Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we've strip-mine the earth for a particular commodity."

Why I Love The Matrix

I love The Matrix, and it's not because of the action scenes or special effects. (If those were the movie's best attributes, I probably would have watched it only a couple of times.) I love The Matrix because it represents very advanced forms of three crucial ideas: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and education.