As part of the GVU Research Showcase, the Digital Media program at Georgia Tech presented innovations in its three core areas of Arts and Entertainment, Civic Media and Knowledge & Creativity on October 26th.
Students and researchers presented their projects that are pushing the boundaries of the future of Digital Media. Below the Lab’s explain their goals and project that they presented to further those goals:
The Adaptive Media Lab explores how to create digital media experiences that tailor themselves to individual users. These adaptations may occur for dramatic purposes (e.g. interactive narrative), educational purposes (e.g. serious games), and / or purely for entertainment. This research involves work in design, artificial intelligence, and human computer interaction.
Director: Brian Magerko
Faculty: Mark Riedl, Jason Freeman
Drawing Apprentice: Co-Creative Drawing PartnerResearch Focus Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science
Collaboration is known to push creative boundaries and help individuals sustain creative engagement, explore a more diverse conceptual space, and synthesize new ideas. While the benefits of human collaboration may seem obvious, the cognitive mechanism and processes involved in open-ended improvisational collaboration are active areas of research. Our research group has developed a co-creative drawing partner called the Drawing Apprentice to investigate creative collaboration in the domain of abstract drawing. The Drawing Apprentice draws with users in real time by analyzing their input lines and responding with lines of its own. With this prototype, we study the interaction dynamics of artistic collaboration and explore how a co-creative agent might be designed to effectively collaborate with both novices and expert artists. The prototype serves as a technical probe to investigate new human-computer interaction concepts in this new domain of human-computer collaboration, such as methods of feedback to facilitate learning and coordination (for both the user and system), turn taking patterns, and the role control and ambiguity plays in effective collaboration.
LuminAI: An Exploration of Human-AI Movement Improvisation
Research Focus Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, New Media
LuminAI is an interactive art installation that explores the improvisation of proto-narrative movement between humans and virtual AI agents using full body, expressive, movement-based interaction. Interactors can co-create movement with an autonomous virtual agent that learns movement, response, and improvisation directly from interacting with human teachers. It analyses their movement using Viewpoints movement theory.
Space Table: The life of a star
Research Focus Areas: Educational Technologies
The Space Table is an interactive informal experience to teach children about the formation of solar systems and how gravity, and mass play a role in their creation. Additionally, the project will explore the concepts of different celestial bodies such as stars, planets, asteroids, neutron stars, black holes and others. The installation will make use of three tangibles, one for a different star size. Participants will use the tangibles to “stamp” a star on the table, which will spawn a digital star. After the star is created, participants will be able to create asteroids and other space debris by sliding their fingers on the screen, which will in turn create bigger objects (such as moons or planets) when they collide with other small celestial bodies. Once the system is created, the expectation is for particioants to experiment with the celestial bodies, leading them to the discovery of cosmological concepts.
Design and Social Interaction Studio
Design and Social Interaction Studio brings an interdisciplinary group of faculty and
students together to examine the experiential and participatory dimensions of digital media and their relationship to establishing and supporting democratic forms of social interaction. Research at the studio spans both theoretical inquiry and experimental design, situated at the intersection of Design, the Humanities, and Human Computer Interaction. We design and investigate a variety of design products and services (e.g., locative media, visualizations and mapping, policy media, social and educational media) drawing on a range of design methods and strategies, most notably participatory and co-design methods, ethnographic methods, and experimental designs. Projects are often in collaboration with other units on campus, other schools, as well as local non-profit organizations. Among current collaborators are Schools of Public Policy and Electrical Engineering at Georgia Tech; the iSchool at the University of British Columbia; Mayo Clinic; and local organizations such as Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Fulton County Department of Health, and Central Atlanta Progress.
Director: Nassim JafariNaimi
(T)racing Eyes and Hearts: An Installation to Explore the Physiology of Empathy Research Focus Areas: Human-Computer Interaction, Information Visualization, Perception
Eyes darting, or maintaining a steady gaze straight ahead. Heartbeat racing, or maintaining a slow, even rhythm. If we encounter these phenomena in another, how do we respond – not just affectively, but physiologically? Eye movements and heartbeats are among the most intuitively meaningful physiological characteristics that humans observe in one another.
Without necessarily consciously realizing it, we often respond empathetically. This project brings together humanities scholars and physiology scholars to create an art installation that uses representation, tracking, and visualization to investigate and reflect upon the physiology of empathy. The installation renders video of eye movements and audio of heart rate of a virtual person, and tracks the eye movements and heart rate of an observing user. We anticipate a mirroring, empathetic physiological response from the user, in which their heart rate also speeds and slows in conjunction with the virtual person. Immediately after the experience, the user will be provided a visual and auditory representation of the data, in order to see and reflect on this empathetic engagement, and also provided with a link to a copy of the video by email if they so choose. The playback could be either in real time, or in a time that is set to either the virtual person or the user’s heart rate as a metronome, to allow a distinctively human-centered exploration of the data.
Our Driverless Futures: Through the Lens of Speculative Moral Algorithms
Research Focus Areas: Human-Computer Interaction, New Media
Autonomous vehicles, more popularly known as self-driving cars, have recently entered public imagination as the next frontier in safer and more efficient transportation. With heavy investments from tech companies such as Google, Tesla, and Uber, self-driving cars seem to be inevitable. Yet, the technology is far from perfect. Among unresolved issues are ethical questions of how cars might/must react in situations of an unavoidable accident. Should the car protect its passengers at all costs? Or should it sacrifice the life of one to benefit a few? Proponents argue that these questions will be eventually addressed through the design of “moral algorithms”, or algorithms that are designed to make ethical decisions. In this project, my goal is to combine speculative design and design research approaches to portray potential scenarios for driverless cars, with artifacts that simulate a driverless future. These artifacts serve two purposes: first, to be presented to potential users with the intent of generating feedback on the implications of moral algorithms; second, to elicit discussion on the role of algorithms and institutions in managing our lives and their ‘solutionist’ strategies for civic problems. Finally, the design of these artifacts will be informed by a literature review of the social properties of algorithms. By combining both speculative design and design research approaches to imagine probable future scenarios, my aim is to further broaden the terms of discourse around moral technologies, their inherent limitations, and palpable consequences. The demo will include my initial sketches and early prototypes in this direction.
Sweet Auburn Digital Media Initiative
Research Focus Areas: Augmented Reality, Civic Computing, Information VisualizationCan locative media (Augmented and Mixed Reality, web applications, and social networking) serve as a platform for preservation of cultural heritage, informal education, and civic engagement? This is the question at the heart of the Auburn Avenue Research Project, a project that brings together researchers from variety of disciplines – including media theory, design studies, and human-computer interaction – to engage the above question in theory and practice. Through the creation of a tiered media strategy, the Auburn Avenue Research Project takes advantage of real world development project (e.g., new physical signage, street car) and potentials of digital technology to raise awareness of Auburn Avenue’s history an future trajectory, to increase the number of visitors to the neighborhood, and to support community preservation and revitalization efforts. Project objectives include: To explore the usage of locative media forms for their potential to increase civic engagement among visitors and residents. To make the rich cultural heritage and history of Auburn accessible to people by integrating new and old representational media.
Digital World and Image Group
The Digital World and Image Group focuses on two main areas: virtual spaces and real-time imagery gathered from them. We see game spaces and game media as important forms of self-expression. That is why we work to improve creative access and the expressive range available in interactive digital media such as games. Research is conducted in a combination of theory, analysis, and practical experimentation.
Faculty: Michael Nitsche
Prototyping Puppets – Teaching Circuitry
Research Focus Areas: Educational Technologies
We combine craft and performance art to teach early middle school students basic prototyping skills. We develop informal STEM workshops for puppetry that combine narrative framing, craft-inspired building, and performance. This key approach combines craft, art, and basic hardware prototyping to attract new audiences to STEM. It is a collaboration between Georgia Tech and at the Center for Puppetry Arts funded by the NSF.
Using AR in Comic Art: Attention as a Commodity
Research Focus Areas: Augmented Reality, Human-Computer Interaction
How can we use AR in combination with Comic Artwork to shift attention from the page to the screen and back? The project combines HCI with the nineth art: comics. It applies design criteria from comic scholars and practitioners such as Will Eisner and Scott McCloud to develop effective AR designs for hybrid comic pieces. We will presented a prototype sample of this project at work.
Experimental Television Lab
Georgia Tech’s ETV Lab explores the future of narrative forms in the new digital medium that is emerging as TV converges with computational formats. The lab prototypes applications on current and hypothetical platforms, using narrative material drawn from actual and planned television shows and by creating its own narratives specifically designed for interactivity. Drawing on students in the Georgia Tech’s graduate program in Digital Media, the group has prototyped interactive video applications for delivery on the internet, dvd, and consumer TV platforms.
Faculty: Janet Murray
AquaRium Tour: Georgia Aquarium tour experience design
Research Focus Areas: Augmented Reality, Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing, New Media
This project integrates augmented reality to redesign the Georgia Aquarium tour experience. Based on the existing digital contents from Georgia Aquarium, AquaRium Tour features user-centered interaction to facilitate the aquarium tour experience, incorporating the functions of navigation, providing knowledge about aquatic life as well as sharing and other social features.
Research Focus Areas: Gaming, Human-Computer Interaction, Virtual Reality
In a race against the clock, players embark on a dangerous adventure. Within moments, the journey goes haywire. Lost and alone, the player finds themselves stranded. In this VR interactive narrative, players fight to survive the dangerous landscape. Utilizing Oculus Rift, Unity, and unique interaction paradigms, Ares explores a wide range of new techniques in VR storytelling. This distinctive, immersive experience will test user’s survival skills and offer an exciting challenge.
Bridging Cultural Differences
Research Focus Areas: Educational Technologies, Human-Computer Interaction, Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing
In the era of globalization, the ordinary viewer is exposed to cinematography from different countries and cultures, but does one understand the cultural context portrayed by the artists? In this project I intend to use interactive television as a medium, that helps the viewer to gain a deeper understanding of a movie, by exposing him/her to its cultural layers.
Research Focus Areas: New Media, Online Communities, Social Computing
ClipLine—A social sharing mobile platform that helps users turn their favorite TV scenes into customized GIFs and instantly share them with their friends and the outside world. Voting up the best GIFs, re-clipping, and following other accounts will also be main features of ClipLine.
Escape Room VR
Research Focus Areas: Human-Computer Interaction, Virtual Reality
Moving from 2D and digital to 3D and virtual, Escape Room VR explores the opportunities for computers to communicate with humans more effectively in the medium of virtual reality. This is a short demo that will ignite your curiosity of your surroundings and encourage the discovery of playful interactions. Real-time, 3D, and highly interactive, are you ready to escape the room?
Research Focus Areas: Gaming, Perception, Virtual Reality
StrangVR Things is a VR prototype that crafts an immersive and engaging experience within the narrative world of Netflix’s original series, Stranger Things. The user takes on the role of Eleven and must escape a hostile environment by leveraging her telekinetic powers. Our design aims to allow show viewers to explore the dangers of the Stranger Things world through Eleven’s eyes and endow viewers with the same mysterious powers.