Dorkbot Newcastle (17th November 2009)


Robyn Taylor, Guy Schofield, John Shearer

Our team is composed of artists, musicians, and computer scientists.  We are based in Culture Lab at Newcastle University.  Our method of research uses art to explore human-computer interaction, drawing on the traditions of improvisation and busking to engage passersby in creative interaction with designed artefacts.  Our current project,Humanaquarium, is a movable performance space where the relationship  between performer and audience is made visible, legible and direct.  Humanaquarium is a large cube, a carefully neutral but mysterious object designed to entice the viewer to look inside. The front face is a perspex window, through which the performers can be seen, illuminated by the light of a video projector. FTIR (Frustrated Total InternalReflection) technology is used to detect the position of audience members’ hands on the window and this data is translated to directly change the output of the performers’ instruments, changing timbre, instrumentation and vocal effects.


Brendan Ratliff

‘Tracking’ is a technique of composing computer music that dates back to the mid-80s and machines like Commodore’s C64 and Amiga, using software tools called trackers.  Trackers produce binary music files (called ‘modules’) which are typically very lightweight compared to ‘rendered’ formats such as wav and mp3 – they contain notation data, effects code and sometimes samples, which are reconstituted by replayer programs, and are great for collaborative composition without large files having to be passed between musicians. Another great feature of these retro formats is that they’re full of interesting data that can be used to synchronise visual effects to music in other programs – something I’ll exemplify with a quick Processing sketch. I’d also like to show my work-in-progress ‘DJ’ module player, also made in Processing (with some raw Java), which has a whole load of interaction features and allows for creative reimagining and mixing of tunes on the fly.


Cassim Ladha, Karim Ladha, Wayne Smith

Touchscape is a newstart company in the North East exploiting its own implementation of multi-touch technology.  The company was set up to cater for both creative practitioners and end users of multi-touch and has already created quite a stir within the community.  So far the company has focused its development efforts on maturing its FTIR hardware technology and later this year hopes to release a multi-leveled SDK to cater for both application developers and creative practitioners. Touchscape products range from full end products to components as well as bespoke software to accompany both.

Come along meet other people interested in making stuff, or seeing what others make, and let me know if there is a project you are involved in that you’d like to talk about at a future Dorkbot Newcastle

Date – 17 November

Time – 7.30pm

Venue – Lifelab Welcome Room, Centre for Life (enter via Lifelab entrance )

Entry – Free

There will be a pay bar.

This entry was posted in Dorkbot, Events and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.