It’s truly amazing, the wealth of information we all have at our fingertips — that is, of course, unless your fingertips are how you have to access that information. An innovative new tablet that uses magnetically configurable bumps may prove to be a powerful tool for translating information like maps and other imagery to a modality more easily accessed by the visually impaired.The tablet, unnamed as yet, has evolved and improved over the past few years as part of Europe’s BlindPAD project, which aims to create a cheap, portable alternative to touchscreen devices. READ MORE: BlindPAD’s tablet makes visual information tactile for the vision-impaired | TechCrunch
For all the hype around augmented reality, Google’s Tango technology hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. In fact, the second handset to support the tech – the ASUS ZenFone AR — was only announced last week at CES.But there’s certainly a chance for Tango to have life beyond the consumer space. The Detroit Institute of Arts is looking to the tech as a way to engage museum-goers, following in the footsteps of last year’s MWC-tied play by Barcelona’s Museum Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. READ MORE: A Detroit art museum is leveraging Google Tango for an AR history lesson | TechCrunch
Film and TV show locations around the world | Business Insider
[I]nteractive map shows you where your favourite films and TV shows were filmed — including ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Game of Thrones.’
Beautiful Maps Let You Explore How Your City Sounds | Gizmodo
The urban aural landscape has a huge impact on our lives—from the roar of traffic and clatter of jackhammer, to the groove of music and lullaby of birdsong. These maps roll that information together to let you explore how cities around the world sound.
Download 67,000 Historic Maps (in High Resolution) from the Wonderful David Rumsey Map Collection | Open Culture
The historical map collection has over 67,000 maps and images online. The collection includes rare 16th through 21st century maps of America, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific and the World.
There’s also a new feature for many maps called “Georeferencing,” which matches the map’s contours with other historic maps or with more accurate, modern satellite images.
It began as an audacious side project. Three dads and an uncle got together to make a personalized book for children. The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name, in which any child’s name, thanks to some nifty algorithms, dictates the plot turns, became a surprise hit. It was the bestselling picture book in the U.K. last year. This week, it topped a million copies sold worldwide (to actual customers, mind you, not retailers).
How do you follow up that sort of debut? Lost My Name, the London startup that grew out of the project—part tech company, part book publisher, and backed by Google Ventures and others—just launched its second personalized tale, The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home. READ MORE: Is This The Most Technologically Advanced Book Ever Published? | FastCompany
THE PICKLE INDEX tells the tale of an incompetent circus troupe that sets out to rescue its ringmaster, Zloty Kornblatt, from a dystopian, brine-obsessed government. If that doesn’t pique your interest, maybe this will: The Pickle Index is a paperback. But it’s also a beautifully illustrated, hardcover set of two volumes that tell the story in tandem. Oh, and it’s also an app. Not an e-book, mind you—an app, where a user’s “Citizenship Quotient” points are allocated based on how often you upload actual pickle recipes. Confused? Good. That’s kind of the point.
The fact is, The Pickle Index is not a traditional novel, nor is it a conventional app. When Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn set out to create the multimedia storytelling experience, they made a conscious decision to eschew hallmarks of design like accessibility and ease of use. Instead, they provide multiple entry-points into an intricate and immersive world. In doing so, they’ve reimagined what a digital literary experience can be.
CREATING EVEN A few seconds of a hand-drawn animation—think old-school Looney Tunes, or earlier Disney films like Snow White—is a painstaking process that requires artists to draw hundreds, if not thousands, of frames. Over the years, advances in digital animation tools have streamlined that process and, in doing so, created a new aesthetic best seen in the faces of Pixar’s canon of characters.
Microsoft Research, along with the University of Hong Kong and the University of Tokyo, just unveiled a proof-of-concept technology that could bring back the charm of older, hand-drawn cartoons, with the speed and fluidity of today’s animation software. “Autocomplete hand-drawn animations” debuted at the Siggraph Asia conference, and it’s an interactive system that watches what the artist draws and then predicts what frame or line might come next. READ MORE: Microsoft’s Dope New Tool Is Like Autocomplete for Drawing | WIRED
For Voss, Wall, and their colleague Nick Haber, a Stanford post-doc, the idea is that their Glass software will help autistic children recognize and understand facial expressions and, through them, emotions. It operates like a game or, as Voss calls it, an “interactive learning experience.” Through the Google Glass eyewear, children are asked to, say, find someone who is happy. When they look at someone who is smiling, the app recognizes this and awards “points.” The system also records what the child does for later review. “You can plot, as they wear the glasses, how they’re improving, where they’re improving,” Wall says. “You can look at video to understand why.” READ MORE: Clinical Trial Will Test if Google Glass Can Help Kids with Autism | WIRED
Researchers in Jaron Lanier’s lab at Microsoft are exploring ways for people to share the experience of mixed reality. READ MORE: Microsoft Researchers Test Multi-Person Mixed Reality | MIT Technology Review
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new artificially intelligent system that crowdsources plots for interactive stories, which are popular in video games and let players choose different branching story options. READ MORE: GT | Georgia Institute of Technology | News Center | Georgia Tech Uses Artificial Intelligence to Crowdsource Interactive Fiction
With its Color Alive line, Crayola was the first company to merge coloring books and apps so kids could bring their on-page creations to life. But Disney Research is taking that idea one step further by letting kids see a coloring book character move in 3D while they’re still coloring it. It’s all made possible by a new augmented reality app that Disney Research has developed that’s able to track and capture real-time images from a mobile device’s camera, and then map them onto any 3D deformable surface. READ MORE: Disney Has Invented 3D Coloring Books | Gizmodo