Field Module #2 – The Real and Virtual Internet of Things

Our first meeting for the module comprised of a session of mini lectures or introductory talks by the 3 tutors teaching the module, Jon Counsell, Ingrid Murphy and Alexandros Kontargeorgakopoulos. At fist I was a little surprised at the splitting into 3 different areas, but it became clear how inter-related they all are (or at least have the potential to be!), the tutors are obviously passionate and hugely knowledgeable about their areas and are also all very inter-disciplinary. There was a short introduction of persons and their ideas from all us students, there is quite a varied amount of ideas and directions in the group. The group is small with no more than 10 I think. This is good as it should equate to more tutor time per person….perhaps…

With regards to my ideas, I do not yet have any one specific idea or theme that I know I want to pursue wholly. Rather I would gather a rigorous understanding of all the main subjects to add to my skill pile and thus have them to call upon. I intend to get an X-box Kinect module to use as a 3D scanner for use with AR and also for experimenting more with 3D printing. I have already downloaded most of the programmes that I need for the module and will hopefully get a chance to use them all before the workshops that we have. I hope this will help with formation of ideas and concepts earlier on so that these can be explored and developed in session with my tutors. I have already found several AR tutorials on-line with varying degrees of sophistication between them all. They all seem to use different methods, programmes and approaches so that will be interesting to explore the breadth of techniques and processes out there, as well as applications of AR.

I now own a Raspberry Pi, I was a lucky chap and got one for Christmas. I now what to learn python, just to get a basic level of understanding in python programming is my goal at present. I am not yet sure whether I am of programmer material or not and whether I would use it in application with my physical making. One aspect of my desire to learn how to code is that we are in super technological times, and with the forecast of greater technological influence over our lives and indeed world in the future, I want to know how it all works. Or to gain some kind of idea at least would be good. Being able to control and manipulate the digital is becoming more important as it all becomes further and further removed and complicated and easier to use passively without being actively involved with the code.

There are lots of projects for me to try with the Raspberry Pi (RPi) and plenty that can be done in conjunction with the arduino. I certainly will not be short of ideas and inspiration (intended to be the subject of a future post!). The area of RFID and interconnected objects could become a focus, these tie in well with some of my subject work. But at the moment, as I said earlier,  I want to remain open and accumulate more knowledge and skills before diving into something.

Some of my personal goals are continuing from my previous field module before Christmas (which I feel I met), these are to rigorously and carefully time manage, try and employ effective and ongoing self motivation strategies and to ensure that I come out of the module with a completed and quality outcome. These goals where decided on in a discussion with Jon Pigott  before starting first term field.

I am happy that I have made the right choice of second term field module and am excited to get cracking at the projects.

This is the module description summery.

“This project explores how bridges can be formed between physical and digital domains through the use of augmented reality and the Internet of Things. The outcomes would lead to Interactive art works and artefacts, or the design of interconnected products. There is a growing technological evolution that provides digital identities to physical objects and actuators so that actions can be triggered without direct human intervention. Most current examples may be actuated by human presence, intervention or a specific sensor but are not fully ‘intuitively’ responsive. There has been much research into new ways of blending the physical and the virtual. For this to be effective physical objects and artefacts require virtual presence. This is often referred to as the emerging ‘internet of things’, or now is also described as M2M (machine 2 machine). Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) are another instance of this. Related terms are: pervasive computing; ubiquitous computing; smart objects; and ambient intelligence.

Augmented reality enables us to overlay digital content onto physical artefacts, imagery or environments; it can form a bridge between the real and the virtual creating a more immersive or layered experience for a viewer or user.

The “‘Internet of Things’ describes the trend for environments, buildings, vehicles, clothing , portable devices and other objects to have more and more information associated with them and/or the ability to sense , communicate, network and produce new information. A widespread Internet of Things could transform how we live in our cities, how we travel, how we manage our lives sustainably, how we age, and how services and entertainment accompany us and adapt as our surroundings change.

While this is a focus for multi-national corporations there are also grass roots organisations and communities melding open content, open software and open hardware. Similarly artists have developed for example : motion activated art pieces ; interactive clothing that changes light patterns depending on proximity to other nearby wearers; heart-beat activated displays ; interactive sound installations for audio-visual performance using bodies as interfaces , robot puppets.

Students last academic year described that they had gained ‘a new language’ from this project. You will similarly gain hands-on experience of: augmented reality and its application (Aurasma; Augment AR); interactive narrative (Twine); interconnected products and their design (Raspberry Pi, Python and sensors). Interactive outcomes from this project will be selected for exhibition at MADE gallery Cardiff.”


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