Archive for the ‘Method PLAY’ Category
Light painting is a photographic technique in which photographs are captured at long exposures with a moving light source.
In our London studio, we decided to dedicate a Method PLAY to exploring this technique.
The results were beautiful– from alphabets to beautiful patterns, ghostly pictures to creating a scene out of a superhero movie. It was an interesting approach to creativity photography, which required a bit of trial and error and a rather meticulously calculated formula of timing, camera exposure, and the positioning of the light source in space.
At the expense of looking a bit ridiculous waving tiny LED’s in the air – the excitement of seeing the results was very much worth it. Every image was a surprise and no two images were the same. It was probably one of the most fun and engaging Method PLAY sessions we have had so far.
Check out some of the results below!
Screenprinting can be a fairly low production, low cost activity. Our New York studio set out to screenprint a set of customized totes and bags in the office. With some totes from our friends at BAGGU, we hosted on our own in-studio screenprinting Method Play. Here’s how:
We began by creating the designs, keeping in mind that these designs had to allow for one color and for the size of the printing medium (for us, bags). We customized a design one of our colleagues in London (thanks Tomi!) created to correspond with the cities Method’s studios are in.
We then printed out the designs in black and white on a standard printer and brought them to a local art store (for those in New York, Pearl Paint on Canal St.). We bought screens and the art store burned the designs onto them for us.
Turning the screen facedown on top of the printing medium, we dabbed ink across the top of the screen and used the squeegee to drag the ink down. Note: you might need to do this a few times to see how well the ink transfers.
We were sure to lift the screen straight up to avoid smearing. We washed the screens with water between colors and didn’t let the ink dry on the screen to avoid damaging it.
We then let the printed materials dry for 10-20 minutes and heat set them on low heat with an iron.
It was a fun process and made for a great Method Play session. Check out the video above, edited by Daniel Jack Clark. Let us know if you have a hand at a screenprinting session for your studio. Tweet us and send pics at @method_inc.
Last week, we headed to San Mateo for Maker Faire, an annual event put on by the folks at Maker Magazine, where technology, DIY, and steam punk meets robots, corn dogs, and fire arts!
We saw our favorites who show up every year, like the Mentos/ Diet Coke guys, and discovered new favorites, too, like the soldering classes, pedal cars, a robot petting zoo, an area on education and robotics, Tesla coils, drivable cupcake cars, the world record holder of paper airplane flights, and amateur chemistry. Last but not least were the turkey legs and the omnipresent display of meat vs. man.
We began the day with an exciting presentation by Chris Anderson, the Editor of Wired Magazine and his company, DIY Drones. Chris started making remote control drones by wanting to build one with his kids. After realizing that this wasn’t an amateur task, he went down the path of creating an easier, more accessible way for all of us to build these amazing, easy to fly quad, hex or octo-copters. These remote-controlled copters use an Arduino-based flight controller to self stabilize.
From the ground, the pilot is able to see a live video stream along with an artificial horizon and other flight gauges to man the mission. The DIY Drone controller allows the drone to know if it is being hit by a gust of wind or an engine fails and recover itself automatically. The quad version is strong enough to carry a Gopro camera for capturing HD video and stills and the octo-copter is strong enough to carry a DSLR camera. We also caught a glimpse at a remote-controlled compartment that could release toy parachutes or …um… eggs.
Although letting the drone leave your line of sight or fly in populated areas breaks FAA regulations, the drone has a 1.5 mile range and some configurations can go up to 35 mph. Chris explained a scenario for using the drone for recording yourself doing sports like windsurfing. Since the drone can be connected to a GPS unit you could signal the drone to take off from the shore while you are windsurfing. The drone could be programed to follow and video you and then return to shore on your command. The drone is even smart enough to know to return itself safely when it is running out of power.
We’re already planning to make one, so keep an eye out for the Method Drone!
Our new love of drones could have satisfied us for the rest of the day, but we had to keep exploring. We headed into an educational lecture, put on by Oracle, about two Java products: Alice and project Greenfoot.
Alice is a java/visual based software that allows drag and drop interaction to build 3d environments. Alice 3.0 is underwritten by Electronic Arts and uses characters from their SIMS game. Greenfoot, an interactive java based platform, allows students to easily learn to make 2D animations and games. It uses a visual based or traditional written code to create animations. The rest of the lecture pointed towards other applications of Java, some known, like Minecraft, and some not so known.
Once we left the lecture hall, we stuffed our faces with funnel cake and gyros, and then honed our lock picking skills thanks to the folks at the College of Lock Picking. We hesitantly agreed to the first rule of lock picking (“Never pick a lock that doesn’t belong to you”), and proceeded to learn this fine art. As you can see, locking picking is now fun for the whole family. A family that lock picks together, stays together.
After that, we entered the massive exhibition floor and began a dizzying roam through the creative booths. The projects and products for sale spanned the gamut, but this year’s hot items were 3D printers. If you haven’t seen or heard of these devices, think of a two-foot square box that allows you to “print” dimensional plastic toys, parts, or pieces of anything you can dream up. For $500+ you can buy a Printerbot kit that you assemble. This printer uses ABS plastic and an additive process to create toys, parts, or any sort of physical prototype you design.
In our opinion, the Thing-o-Matic by Maker produced the best quality printing. The examples we saw were smooth and solid. Our overall pick for the day (Nancy’s is on order) was by Zen Tool Works. For around $1200 you can build a CNC and 3D printer in one device. By simply swapping out a couple of parts you go from 3D additive printing to CNC reductive cutting. Ooh lala.
Also on the floor was one of Method’s newest and loved clients, TechShop. These guys came in full force with their booth, showing off some of their member-made projects, including bamboo bicycles and custom-built electric motorcycles. There are no limits to what you can do at TechShop. The designers in our San Francisco office are all pretty excited about getting some time in the SF Techshop.
Last but not least, on our way out we ran into Gerard who is the proud owner and builder of a remote controlled R2D2. Method has no short on Star Wars fans, so we were quick to drill him with questions. Gerard gave us an amazing 1-on-1 demo of his R2 unit. This remote controlled robot is machined mostly out of aluminum and plastics. It plays a dozen different mp3 sounds and is also runs an Arduino board to control some of R2′s lights. Gerald even gave us a look under the hood.
It was a fun day. We left full of food and inspiration.
Method <3s Maker,
Mark Roudebush & Nancy Chui are IxD Designers in Method’s San Francisco Office.
Where would we be without Arduino? The user-friendly, open-source prototyping platform has made a lot possible for us at Method. We’ve created memory bracelets that remind you to perform a certain task, built a screen-based “exquisite corpse” to reflect who we are, and even brought our office plant to digital life, allowing it to tweet when it needs to be watered. All with Arduino!
Imagine our thrill when the co-founder of the Arduino project, Massimo Banzi, dropped by Method SF to lead a private workshop. As an interaction designer, educator, and Open Source Hardware advocate, Massimo has worked as a consultant for clients such as Prada, Whirlpool, and Adidas. He authored the book, “Getting Started with Arduino,” and his articles regularly pop up in the Italian edition of Wired Magazine and Che Futuro, an online magazine about innovation.
Massimo also happens to be a very funny, engaging, and patient instructor, which came in handy during our workshop. Despite our group’s varying degree of knowledge with the Ardunio platform, under Massimo’s excellent guidance, we had our code written and little lights blinking in no time. Soon after, we were on to experimenting with pressure sensors, switches, and push buttons. The fantastic workshop taught us that there’s nothing quite like getting schooled by the master himself.
At Method, there’s always room in the day for playtime. So, when Method’s Director of Interaction Design, Raphael Grignani, invited us to check out the game-themed graduation show for the course he’s been co-teaching with Method alum, Robert Murdock, at the California College of the Arts, we were thrilled to check out the innovative ideas emerging around the concept of play.
Aptly titled “The Game Show,” the industrial design students showcased a variety of thought-provoking creations, including a tearable dog toy that can be reassembled, wearable travel games, rubber band shooters, interactive dance wear, a portable swing, and a game that makes rehabbing an ankle injury fun.
Held at Astro Studios, located a few blocks from the Method SF studio, the show’s vibe was more carnival than art show–there were even live chickens in the room at one point. Fresh kettle corn, hot dogs, and free beers were on hand as the DJ spun vintage soul for the crowd. After bouncing happily from booth to booth, constantly encouraged by the students to interact with their projects, we left feeling inspired and hopeful that we might see our favorite games for sale in the near future.
The digital experiences we build these days depend highly on the transitions of the interface and the visual elements to represent the brand. These transitions or animations not only serve the function of making elements interactive but also add character to those interactive elements, hence speaking the brand language.
With this thought in mind, we decided to explore animations in our most recent Method PLAY at our London studio. Of course the fact that we have the gorgeous new space which is very inviting to the PLAY sessions only made it better. Stop motion animation is one of the techniques of animation which allows exploration without the necessity of great drawing skills.
To cut down the post production time, I researched a few mobile applications and decided to work with iTimelapse Pro for iPhone. It offers flexibility for production (manual, timer, sound initiated picture capture settings) and post production (rendering at desired frame rate or to output desired number of seconds of video from the images captured). It also renders video to a chosen soundtrack.
Check out our mini animations and photos below!
This morning, the San Francisco studio enjoyed a low-key Method PLAY session involving different ongoing User Experience (UX) projects. Fueled by coffee and donuts, we explored using Arduino to make physical controllers for the arcade game Pong and experimented with different Processing libraries to mock up a device that plays music based on ambient information. We also worked on some new sketching and paper prototyping methods, referencing the recently released book Sketching User Experiences. Not a bad way to start a Friday.
On Monday, we hosted a workshop at Etsy Labs in their DUMBO workshop on physical computing. Beginning with a quick introduction to what physical computing is and the platform of choice (Arduino), we quickly broke into small groups to start tinkering with the code, Arduino, and various outputs we provided: LEDs, Piezo buzzers, and motors.
Why Arduino? The open-source prototyping platform has its own simple processing language, has a huge community behind it (and many resources – including code) , and is widely being used currently by designers, technologists, artists, and people looking to prototype and create products for varying uses.
The Etsy community was incredibly enthusiastic about the project, which was to create a memory bracelet that would remind you at intervals if you needed to perform a certain action. For example, if you needed to take a medication every day, check your blood pressure hourly, or even remember to look away from the computer every 20 minutes, the bracelet could light up, buzz, or make a sound to remind you.
To give them a context to work with, we gave them a challenge to program and design a physical therapy bracelet that would alert you would need to perform a certain action – for example, take medication, exercise, or check your blood pressure. We provided the Arduino devices to perform basic outputs – such as a blinking light or a ringing buzzer – and asked the participants to customize the Arduino code to program the outputs to occur on schedule.
The participants took to the challenge with creativity, creating new contexts for the outputs. One group, using additional sensors that we brought to the workshop, programed the blinking lights to respond to motion. Another took a stab at making the technology wearable, creating a shirt that housed the Arduino and wiring so that the shirt could light up.
We are really excited to share a taste of what we have been tinkering with for Method PLAY with the public. View the presentation we shared for an introduction to physical computing and the project, watch a 10-minute demonstration I gave for their live-stream, and learn more from the links included below.