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How the Millennium Falcon Got Its Hyperdrive Malfunction Sound

Old pipes? A vintage airplane? Mechanical equipment? Ben Burtt, Hollywood’s master sound designer, is remarkable for his economy and resourcefulness. That’s evident in this charming video in which he demonstrates how he evoked breaking machinery to realize the sound of the Millenium Falcon… not going into hyperdrive. The cinematic challenge is significant. It’s a bit joke, a running gag, but it has to simultaneously build tension in the film. And like the rest of Star Wars, the future is evoked by the past. (It is, after all, a galaxy long ago – and to impact audiences, couldn’t in fact be …

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Bluetooth LE Will Make Minority Report a Creepy Reality, But Also Arduino Cooler

PSFK – Adaptive storefront prototype from + rehabstudio on Vimeo. After years of failing to demonstrate compelling applications, Bluetooth is back with a vengeance. If you haven’t yet used a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) device, it’s a completely different experience. Pairing and range and latency work better (the result of years of learning how to make these better). Battery drain is barely noticeable. You can expect BLE to power lots of clever new applications – and it’s nice to see it showing up on DIY electronics. Oh, yeah, and it can creep the hell out of you, privacy-wise, by making …

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A Sci-Fi Band and Music Made from Ozone Data: Elektron Drum Machine, Sax Sonification

In a new touring piece by an electrified audiovisual band, the musical score is data. Space F!ght, off to tour London on Sunday, are a multi-media ensemble inspired by the greatest writers in science fiction. But science fact is the source of their latest piece, as they collaborate with the Stockholm Environment Institute and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to turn ozone data into the materials of their performance. That data has a message, as ozone levels directly impact human health. See the video at the top for a look at how the whole system works. Dr. Radek Rudnicki, …

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The Music of 2071, As Imagined in 1964: Fischinger Lumigraph to Lumichord

Finishing research for a talk at Genève’s Mapping Festival, I came across this gem from comments on Create Digital Motion. It’s the innovative Lumigraph, an interactive light experiment by visionary film and animation pioneer Oskar Fischinger. The sci-fi film looked ahead to what the music of 2071 might be like, in 1964’s The Time Travelers. To their credit, goofy love lounge aside, the reuse of Fischinger’s abstract light project isn’t far off from music in 2013. (And, hey, whatever puts you in the mood.) Fischinger, for his part, almost certainly wasn’t thrilled with the use of his creation in this …

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Greebles, Nurnies, Wiggets, and Eyeball Kicks: Roughing Up Digital Realities

A “greebled” cube, (CC-BY-SA) Gargaj / Conspiracy on Wikimedia. Ah, digital geometry: as if caught eternally in a sterile, detail-less vacuum, the problem with virtual models can be that they’re too perfect, too abstract. So, following on the use of model kitbashing techniques to make more convincing graphics in the game Hawken, as we saw this week, here’s more on the idea. Wikipedia (somewhat surprisingly) has a great article on the use of “greebles” to make (physical) models look less bare. Model-makers, whether working with physical models or virtual, run into the same problem – and can employ the same …

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Low-Budget, High-Creativity Tribute: Star Wars Uncut From 15-Second Fan-Made Clips

If it’s not already “viral”, I’m sure it will be soon. Less than a year ago, Casey Pugh – then a developer at Vimeo – invited people to join him in remaking Star Wars, 15 seconds at a time. The final scene was completed on the 25th of February, and they’ve just released “The Escape”, a teaser from the project. Star Wars Uncut “The Escape” from Casey Pugh on Vimeo. This has so much awesomeness going on, I just don’t know where to start. There’s so much inventiveness, creativity, and pure fun displayed in this trailer, I can’t wait to …

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"Let's Enhance!" Montage Views Image Processing Through Hollywood's Eyes

There is technology, and then there is the popular imagination of that technology. Even in our increasingly-tech-savvy society, there’s often a gap between the two, conscious and subconscious. The imagination of how image processing might work, though, is especially incredible. If you haven’t seen the video above, it’s hilarious – and familiar. Perhaps the greatest gap between how technology works and how we fantasize it could work has to do with our own intelligence. We’re able to “zoom” our perception on tiny details, so why shouldn’t digital imaging? We have powers of speech, analysis, and logic, so why shouldn’t super-intelligent …

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“Let’s Enhance!” Montage Views Image Processing Through Hollywood’s Eyes

There is technology, and then there is the popular imagination of that technology. Even in our increasingly-tech-savvy society, there’s often a gap between the two, conscious and subconscious. The imagination of how image processing might work, though, is especially incredible. If you haven’t seen the video above, it’s hilarious – and familiar. Perhaps the greatest gap between how technology works and how we fantasize it could work has to do with our own intelligence. We’re able to “zoom” our perception on tiny details, so why shouldn’t digital imaging? We have powers of speech, analysis, and logic, so why shouldn’t super-intelligent …

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More on Project Natal: Latency Concerns, Johnny Chung Lee, Freaky Interactions with a Fake Kid

Microsoft’s Project Natal unveiling for Xbox 360 was no question a blockbuster of technology presentations, nothing short of sheer magic in a games industry that has lately looked somewhat backward-looking. The combination of a 3D-capable camera with facial and object recognition and vocal recognition and mic interaction takes already-smart elements and puts them together into something bigger. But demos are just that – it’s the reality of what’s happening in interaction design that’s interesting. So, some more details on Project Natal: Latency? Note that the video in the post yesterday carries a significant disclaimer: it’s essentially a conceptual mockup, not …

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The Star Trek Studio: DIY Dragon MIDI Touchscreens Control Cubase

Touchscreens are often compared to the ground-breaking – if imaginary – designs of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But Brazilian Paulo Egidio Silva must be a real Trekker. His elaborate touchscreen panel configuration really looks like the LCARS computer system simulated on the TV show. Of course, that isn’t to say this isn’t a practical system. By making extensive use of the MIDI SDK for Cubase, the Dragon MIDI rig controls every element of a Cubase session, from mixing to routing to adjusting plug-in parameters. It actually has three elements: 1. A multi-screen touchscreen for selecting mix and send settings …

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