Sunday, November 29, 2009

BPN 1405 Europrix 09 winners (6)

Category Interactive Installations

akustisch – sound producing multitouch gestures
Produced by: Balz Rittmeyer
Country: Switzerland

‘akustisch’ is a new approach to producing, controlling and manipulating digital sound. Designed to allow digital performers maximum gestural expression, akustisch’s multitouch surface eliminates the need for traditional electronic music ‘controllers’ such as knobs and faders. Complex hand gestures can be made on the multitouch surface, the movement being interpreted as gestural input by an algorithm on the screen. As soon as a recognizable gesture is executed, a specific sound output is generated. As all ten fingers can be used for sound manipulation, the graphical user interface is split vertically into right and left-hand areas to allow for parallel initialization of two gestures at the same time; one for each hand. ‘akustisch’ enables complex compositions which result in captivating performances.

My comment: Complex and specific application for manipulating digital sound, but interesting for using in new compositions.

CRISTAL (Control of Remotely Interfaced Systems using Touch-based Actions in Living spaces)
Produced by: Florian Perteneder Christian Rendl
Country: Austria

The amount of digital appliances and media found in domestic environments has risen drastically over the last decade. Digital TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, digital picture frames, cleaning robots and other such devices have become part of our daily lives. Controlling these devices often requires a large number of remote controls that often lack intuitive interfaces. CRISTAL has been designed to simplify the control of our digital devices in and around the living room. An interactive tabletop system poses as a coffee table, and provides an intuitive interface by displaying real-time video footage from a ceiling mounted camera. The user can control the room’s devices by using multi-touch gestures directly on their digital projection. Lights can be controlled by making sliding gestures or movies can be watched by simply dragging them onto the TV screen. This way the interface allows a more natural and intuitive interaction experience.

My comment: A central table top to control home electronics appliances. Of course a link will be needed from the iPhone to the table top to start up processes before arriving home.

Category winner: Oz, the intelligent alarm clock
Produced by: Thibault Perret Léna Mazilu Adèle Leyris Romain Prache Jean-Michel Saulnier
Country: France

Oz, the intelligent and user-friendly alarm clock, has been designed to ease that often unpleasant transition between sleep and awakening. Easy to use and interactive, Oz will supply precise guidelines as to when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s time to get up, by calculating the amount of sleep your body needs according to your daily routine. The device consists of two parts: a portable 7-inch touch screen, and a base on which the battery is charged. A built-in miniaturized computer enables the device to be connected to the internet. Wake up to music from personal playlists or to a sunrise simulating light fader, or keep track of your dreams by tapping them into the touch screen. For insomniacs, Oz will suggest relaxation applications, such as soothing games, permitting a gradual descent into sleep. These - and many more - unique features will ensure that you always get up on the right side of the bed.

My comment: Another application of digital life from morning to night. Can't wait to buy it. Again a brilliant application from the Ecole de Gobelins.

Blog Posting Number: 1405

Tags: interactive installations

Friday, November 27, 2009

BPN 1404 Eurorpix 09 winners (5)

Catgorie: Content Tools & Interactive Design

Produced by: Adrian Lienhard Andrea Brühlmann Christoph Wysseier Christian Lauener Felix Hofmann Genc Rashiti Jan Beco Nik Lutz Simon Raess Stefan Reichhart
Country: Switzerland

Taking web authoring to a new level, cmsbox combines the latest web technology with an elegant yet simple interface concept. Unlike existing products, cmsbox enables users to create and edit websites instantly: all content can be arranged and customized directly on the final layout. Just one extra line of controls is all that is required to turn a website into a web authoring environment. Simple to get to grips with, all kinds of content can be edited with ease. Content is integrated with pre-defined style sheets to maintain a consistent corporate design, producing high-quality websites. The application is highly user-friendly, its clever design almost going unnoticed in its simplicity.

My comment: CMS systems are not new, but this one up to date, simple and easy to use. I will look into the possibility of applying it.

Category winner: Flow-er
Produced by: Eran Ayalon Ephrat Beloosesky
Country: Israel

Flow-er is a system designed for hi-tech oriented companies to enhance the office environment of their employees by streamlining daily and administrative work. The interface is a smart, intuition-based timeline showing perspective visions of three time periods: past, present and future. This timeline displays ‘flowers’ – workload bundles configured by the employee or manager, which contain all aspects of information relevant to specific projects. The flowers provide the employee with a clear daily overview of tasks requiring completion, with saved tasks forming the petals. The petals can be dragged to and from the time line – such simple navigation saving valuable time by eliminating the need to search for related information through endless files and applications. In addition to the timeline tool, Flow-er provides an “office” application which overrides traditional office suites, to provide employees with all their office needs. It assures an enhanced office experience.

My comment: Interesting application for organising your work flow into petals and so in understandable bundles. It is not organised in file types such as text processing files, pdfs and image files.
Produced by: Mikko Nurminen Antti Ala-Ilkka
Country: Finland

Moogo offers a new way to produce high-quality web-based services. Faster than conventional methods and using fewer resources, Moogo enables its customers to produce their own web services with ease and without any programming expertise. The service is foolproof: it takes just a few minutes to get up and running, and no previous experience with creating or updating websites is needed. Moogo offers a one-week, no-obligation, free trial period, during which the user may subscribe to the service in order to keep their website
running. This self-service concept and the automated invoicing and background systems create a basis on which to profitably serve large groups of customers at low-cost prices.

My comment: This entry was probably too mature for the Europrix competition. With a company making 2 million euro turn over from the package.

Blog Posting Number: 1403

Tags: content tool, interactive design

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

BPN 1402 Europrix 09 winners (4)

Categorie: Interactive Computer Graphics

Clavilux 2000
Produced by: Jonas Heuer
Country: Germany

The Clavilux 2000 is an audiovisual instrument enabling reactive visualization of piano music in realtime. Via a connected computer vvvv patch, music played on the full 88-key digital piano with midi output is translated into a 2 or 3D permanent visual representation on a vertical projection above the keyboard. The concept is quite simple: for every note played on the keyboard, a new visual element appears in the form of a vertical bar; its dimensions, position and colour depending on the way in which the key is struck. This visual documentation of note length, velocity and harmonic relations can be referred to long after the music itself has faded away, giving an insight into the structure and composition of the music. Which notes were played most often? How harmonic was the piece? Clavilux 2000 has all the answers.

My comment: music generating beautiful vizualisation; a real competitor of vuvox

Category winner: vuvox
Produced by: Eyal Richter Ephrat Beloosesky
Country: Isreal

Express music visually with Vuvox – a performance tool designed to be used with a MIDI keyboard, sustain pedal and a webcam. Vuvox comprises both an audio input mode, which picks up sounds from the surrounding environment, and midem input from a keyboard. The higher the quality of music input, the more consistent, flowing and visually sophisticated the images appearing on the webcam screen become. The use of the Vuvox component therefore not only visually enhances and enriches the music performance for both performers and the audience; it can also serve as a feedback tool for amateurs learning to play an instrument.

My comment: another approach of making music visual, made by a musician.

Blog Posting Number: 1402

Tags: computer graphics

Monday, November 23, 2009

BPN 1401 Europrix 09 winners (3)

Category: Games

Produced by: Daniel Lutz
Country: Switzerland

Created for the iPhone or iPod Touch, Monospace is a puzzle game requiring players to think in 2 and 3D dimensions. Its goal lies in maneuvering a blue box within a cube, in order to eliminate surrounding white boxes. But it’s not as simple as all that: not only are there rules governing how and when the boxes can be shifted, Monospace complicates the matter even further by switching the perspective. Each level begins with a 3D view; double-tap the screen though, and the stage collapses into a 2D image. It’s in this flat view that white cubes can be victimized by the little blue box. By changing the perspective, Monospace transforms simple puzzles into complex, mind-bending special riddles. The mechanics of play remain simple,
yet finding solutions to the more advanced arrangements can be mentally taxing.

My comment: Keeps you busy for a while. Play first the light version, to be downloaded from the app store.

Category and Overall winner
Swords & Soldiers
Produced by: Joost van Dongen Fabian Akker Gijs Hermans Jasper Koning Martijn Thieme Olivier Thijssen Ralph Rademakers
Country: The Netherlands

“Swords & Soldiers” is a 2D side-scrolling real-time strategy game for the Nintendo Wii and a wonderful and fresh mix of Real Time Strategy gameplay, with the graphical presentation of a traditional side-scrolling arcade game. In each level, two armies fight for victory by building up their numbers, upgrading their castles, gathering gold and casting spells. The game can be played either in single-player or split-screen multiplayer mode, and features three different factions: the strong Vikings, the devious Aztecs and the cunning Chinese. Each faction possesses a diversity of qualities, skills and tactics. A series of challenging mini-games can be unlocked as players progress through their chosen campaign. Comical graphical style and strategic depth are inherent to this game, which can be downloaded from the Wii shop.

Comment: To me the looked rather classic and Mario-like with side scrolling and various levels. Appearantly the jury members could not be dragged away.

Underwater Mayhem 2
Produced by: Robert Träffe Martin Barreby Tomas Hertz Orre
Country: Sweden

High speeds, sharp corners, water and weapons! Challenge up to 8 players to a race in this fun underwater PC internet game, customizing your vehicle to suit your playing style. Zoom with great precision through targets, twisting and turning, and collect weapons from special rings, which will also give you an energy boost or refill. In order to win, you must master the hazards and either shoot down all other players, or race to be first past the post. Level design, sound, graphics, controls and gameplay all work consistently together to make “Underwater Mayhem” a professional, exciting and balanced project.

Comment: Too fast for me, this game.

Blog Posting Number: 1401

Tags: games

Sunday, November 22, 2009

BPN 1400 Europrix 09 winners (2)

Category: Mobile Applications

Produced by: Gerald Madlmayr Andreas Jakl
Country: Austria

Life is becoming mobile in more than one way in emerging market countries; not only do more and more citizens own mobile phones – people are now on the move like never before. And this leads to busy roads, where traffic safety is low, and accidents a regular occurrence. Mobile Doctor has been designed to enable injured road-accident victims to instantly seek medical help via an application on their mobile phones. Navigation is simple and picture based, enabling people, including illiterates, to describe their condition and seek the most local relevant expertise. Once participating medicine-men and hospitals set their mobile status to “available”, their location is constantly broadcasted to the web, along with information from a database concerning their areas of specialisation. Accident victims are presented with a list of the most relevant help, and are directed there via GPS. In situations where every second counts, Mobile Doctor could prove to be vital.

My comment: The application looks like a simple solution. Yet the application will need more context and inbedding as well as support from the medical world and doctors’ associations.

Category winner: showtime!
Produced by: Kathrin Probst Christian Grossauer Christoph Engelmayer
Country: Austria

showtime! is a mobile application for interactive control of Microsoft Office PowerPoint slideshows via an iPhone or iPod Touch client. Designed to provide lecturers with optimal flexibility during slideshow-supported presentations, it enables freedom of movement and independence from the restrictions of stationary computers. Its intuitive handling via touch display supports the usage of slideshows as visual aids, and enables users to break away from the strictly sequential nature of traditional PowerPoint presentations. In addition, showtime! offers new features, such as a timer displayed on the mobile device, to help keep track of the overall presentation progress, and the option of viewing personal notes. All this is achieved through intuitive horizontal or vertical swipe gestures over the device screen – ensuring that eye contact is never broken between lecturer and audience.

My comment: showtime! Is a fabulous application for presentors. It will give them the opportunity to stay in contact with their audience without turning their back on them. Can’t wait to pick it up in the app store and use it in my next presentation. Should look really cool.

toBed – interactive bedtime stories for iPhone and iPod touch
Produced by: Marc-André Weibezahn
Country: Germany

”toBed” is a concept for a platform for interactive bedtime stories on the iPhone. It exploits the device’s innovative input methods, such as multi-touch gestures, accelerometer and localization, to create new ways of interactive narration on an intuitive and almost invisible interface. The product offers a simple interactive experience, moving away from the fast-paced nature of PC video games and instead providing a glimpse of poetry on a user friendly device. By purchasing additional stories within the application itself, users can build their own collections of interactive bedtime stories.

My comment: A nice application, if you can’t get to sleep. But it will not be spent on me as I read business literature on an e-reader.

Blog Posting Number: 140

Tags: Mobile

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BPN 1399 Europrix 09 winners (1)

Category: Online/Web projects

The Cordless Show ‘Online Music Show’
Produced by: Dominic Dadson, Matthew Dadson, Aylwin Steele, Joe Newman
Country: United Kingdom

Up-and-coming musicians need no longer struggle to get recognized, thanks to this internet-based video music show. The Cordless Show creates a platform for unsigned British singers, MCs, bands and musicians of all genres to showcase their talent to thousands of music fans from around the globe, thereby helping to propel them to the next stage of their careers. Each month, five new artists are professionally filmed giving live performances and interviews, which are then streamed live on the internet and documented on the artists’ individual pages on the site. Not only are users and fans able to view the videos; they can also comment on the content, and even download the videos and mp3s. All profits are shared with the artists on a 50/50 basis – ensuring that everyone’s a winner. A feast for eyes
and ears, this web-based show will literally create fame.

My comment: Looks very professional. The team had high video and sound standards from the beginning. The team is talking to the BBC and Channel 4 for cooperation.


Category winner: Donkeypedia
Produced by: Joost van Eeden, Cristian Bettini, Pieter Crucq, Thijs van den Akker, Wytze Voerman
Country: The Netherlands

Asino the Donkey has already made a physical pilgrimage around the Netherlands and is about to embark on a walk around Europe, in Donkeypedia’s quest to document the identities of the continent’s youngsters. Laden with a solarpowered laptop and camera, Asino and his owner are digitally directed - by means of a website, GPS and a mobile platform - by local children from village to city, province to province, nation to nation, completing tasks and collecting stories, pictures and objects which represent the people and places they encounter along the way. Asino’s whereabouts can be tracked live on the Donkeypedia website, onto which images from his head-mounted ‘Donkeycam’ are constantly uploaded. These ‘memories’ can be tagged by children on a virtual online map, resulting in an ever-growing Internet kaleidoscope that reveals the European identity step by step.

My comment: Nice cross media project. The format can be applied to various countries and various animals such as: elephantpedia in India, rendeerpedia in Lapland, cowpedia in The Netherlands and kangeroopedia in Australia. Just to name a few options.


mite. Sleek time tracking for teams & freelancers
Produced by: Sebastian Munz, Julia Soergel
Country: Germany

Time tracking is vital for invoicing, accounting, and scheduling. This sleek web-based time tracking tool enables accurate tracking of every single minute of the working day. Using data collected from web-based platforms, iPhones, Macs, or a command-line interface, mite generates detailed visual company reports, to which flexible filters can be applied to squeeze out any information that matters. Time entries can be assigned to customers, projects, and services, and hours can be tracked manually or with the help of the built-in timer. On a daily basis, mite answers crucial questions concerning, for example, current company workload, over-time payment, and project duration, and additionally, points out areas requiring attention. Reports can be shared with customers, or printed or exported to a variety of file formats, and via an open API, developers can hack their workflow into the system.

My comment: Would love to have the program. You can try the program for free for a period of time. Think that the creators should have a business model of selling the software to companies for internal use.


Blog Posting Number: 1399

Tags: web, online

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BPN 1398 Europrix 2009 winners

(c) Sjoerd Wanrooij, 2009

The Utrecht development team of the Nintendo game Swords & Soldiers has been awarded the award in the category games, but also the allover award of the Europrix 2009. Besides this Dutch entry the project Donkeypedia project received the award in the category Online/Web projects. The awards were handed out on the Gala night of the Europrix 2009 in Graz (Austria). More than 350 entries from the European Union and associated countries competed for the prestigious Europrix award. Just 20 projects were nominated for the award, of which 7 projects were crowned in their category and one of the 7 as overall winner.

Category winners

Category Online/Web projects
Winner: Donkeypedia, Netherlands

Category Mobile applications
Winner: showtime!, Austria

Category Games
Winner: Swords & Soldiers, Netherlands

Category Interactive Computer Graphics
Winner: Vuvox, Israel

Category Content Tools & Interface Design
Winner: Flow-er, Israel

Category Interactive installations
Winner: akustisch, Switserland

Category Digital Video & Animations
Winner: desconstruct, a stereoscopic experiment, Germany

Overall winner
Winner: Winner: Swords & Soldiers, Netherlands

Special Award for the project with the best business potential, Ideakone Ltd, FI

Special Jury Mention for a game with a high level of interactive storytelling
The Adventures of Tinger, David Scharf, GER

More on the Europrix Festival in later blogs.

Blog Posting Number: 1398

Tags: multimedia

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

BPN 1397 Dutch government: new approach to copyright on internet

The Dutch government is seeking a new approach to copyright on internet. Two main measures are forthcoming: abolishing a surcharge on physical media and a ban on downloading content from an illegal source. Other measures are a better supervision of collecting societies and an improvement in the position of authors and artists. The measures are a reaction to the recommendations of parliamentary working party on copyright.

The government has concluded that the surcharge on physical media or the so called levy for the home copy has grown out of fashion due to the memory expansion of computers. This coupled to the download capacity of internet, it is more proper to download content than to buy an information carrier. It hardly does matter where and when a movie is viewed, music is listened to and games are played.

So paying for making a copy of a protected work should be organised differently. In fact it is better to organise this through the market parties such as the copyright owners, consumer organisations, entertainment industry and internet providers. They can best develop business models which are closer to the consumers and copyright owners such as monthly subscriptions for listening to music. The government is willing to support this trend in lieu for a ban on illegal activities for enrichment. In this way the government sees an opportunity to establish a market in which consumer buy content in a legal way and copyright holders are insured of revenues. This will imply that not only in the case of illegal uploading of protected content action can be taken, but also in the case of downloading from an evidently illegal source. The government will take out three years in order to work out the legal measures. The Dutch government makes clear that the ban on downloading is not to hassle individual internet users, but to ban activities of commercial parties.

The Dutch government will come with a bill to improve the contractual position of authors and performing artists. The supervision of collecting societies will be strengthened on good governance, financial management, investment policy and renumeration.

The collecting societies have been under fire recently as they have suggested surcharges on many items. The collecting society for physical media had suggested a levy on MP3. The collecting society on music copyrights had suggested unreasonable tariffs for using music on private sites such as blogs. A wave of indignation gathered strength and in hardly two weeks time the collecting society BUMA/STEMRA retracted the proposal for private sites.

Blog Posting Number: 1397

Tags: copyright, collecting societies

Monday, November 02, 2009

BPN 1396 E-readers in the pipeline

In the past weeks e-readers have been at the center of attention. has gone international with the sales of its e-reader, at last. And Barnes & Noble has introduced its e-reader with two screens. But now announcements are coming from different nooks (!): tire manufacturer Bridgestone, hardware/software manufacturer Creative Labs and consumer electronics manufacturer LG. In the meantime, Apple is still quiet about its iBook or iTablet.

Yesterday at the first Grand Prix Formula 1 race in Abu Dabhi the name of Bridgestone as tire preferred manufacturer was all over the dazzling race circuit. But Bridgestone will stop with Formula 1 as it is changing its business direction. Part of this change was announced as Bridgestone is working on an e-reader with colour screen. The e-reader will have a 13,1 inch touch screen with 4096 colours grades and have a refreshing time of 0,8 seconds (as opposed to 15 seconds with E-Ink screens). Not only the screen, but also the substrate will be made of flexible material. There is no date of issue nor a set price or the names of any e-reader developers.

Also hopping on the bandwagon of e-readers is Creative Labs, the hardware/software manufacturer for music and graphics The company has shown a working model of its first e-book reader, tentatively named the MediaBook. The device reportedly has a touch screen, text-to-speech function, and an SD memory card slot. It will run on Creative's Zii System-On-Chip technology and will be Internet-enabled. It will run videos, pictures, text, and services in one device. Creative is talking to 10 international and local publishers to provide content for the MediaBook, with fiction, newspaper, magazines, education materials, and textbooks. No word on pricing and availability.

Another development has been shown by consumer electronics manufacturer LG. They have provided the e-reader with solar cells. Take your e-reader in the sun for four or five hours and you extend the battery life with one day. Again no word on pricing and availability.

And so far no word about the iBook or iTablet of Apple. It is said that Apple has an e-reader in the pipeline, but the crucial element of the e-reader is the colour screen. Given the announcement of Bridgestone the colour screen should not be too far off nor the iBook or the iTablet.

But with the appearance of colour screens and high refreshment rates, it also means that the function of the e-reader will be widened. A colour coffee table book can be published for the e-reader. But with the fast refreshing rate also colour video clips can be shown. And will a book than still be a book or a newspaper a newspaper.? Or will we just have an all in one tablet for games, movies, books and newspaper?

Blog Posting Number: 1396

Tags: e-books, e-readers