Josh Haas's Web Log

ITP show review

with 2 comments

I got off to a rough start this morning. Went to bed way late last night (was near the end of a book and had to finish!), had really angry dreams and woke up feeling tired and disoriented and much later in the day than I usually get moving. Back when I was an employee, a start like that would have spelled disaster for getting anything accomplished. As I was drinking my coffee this morning, though, and thinking ahead to my morning (afternoon) agenda, I realized that the first thing I would be doing is writing this blog post, and then the second thing I’d be doing is building super-exciting technology for my new startup. Wow. No stress, no unpleasant tasks, just pure creative work on things I love.

Thank you. Thank you to me, my friends, my family, my former employers, everyone who built the infrastructure that my current life rests on. It’s really amazing to be in this place. A bunch of my recent blog posts have been dark or introspective, me wrestling with things I don’t like about myself. My life isn’t perfect and there’s a lot of stuff I experience that’s painful or unpleasant, but I gotta say, big picture right now I’m feeling really grateful for everything.

Last night I went to the ITP winter show where a bunch of NYU graduate students in design, art, and technology were showing off their projects. It’s kind of like going to a children’s tech museum, except 1000 times denser and you can hang out and chat with the people who built the exhibits.

Some of the ones that stood out for me:

  • A fuzzy backpack that pulses, first synchronizing itself with your breathing and then gradually slowing down to get you to releax.
  • A stationary bike where you watch a live video feed created by having a camera pointing at a giant spinning wheel with miniature landscape details (trees, etc.), that is being turned by your pedaling
  • A room-sized musical instrument-cum-sculpture formed by giant sets of bowstrings sweeping across in different directions, and electric bows so you could play on them
  • A music system that monitors tracks your face and plays different notes based on your expression (“sound affects”)
  • Karoake TV: you and your friends get assigned a character, and you each get an iPad that gives you lines to say and acting cues (“fall on the floor writhing”). I played Data in a 5-minute Star Trek episode. It was awesome.
  • A jacket that serves as a full DJ’ing set up (different studs and buttons to create different effects)
  • A twitter-based Zen garden: a plane of sand, with a ball on it, and a magnet below that moves the balls according to coordinates you tweet at it
  • A toilet connected to a video screen that showed some kind of “magic adventure” in response to some kind of tactile input (I wasn’t totally clear on what was going on there, and I’m not sure I really want to know)

I’m sure there were other good ones I’m forgetting, and in total there were at least 50 or 60 projects.

Anyway my point is we’re incredibly lucky as a society right now to have the freedom to be creative. There are people everywhere doing what they love and inventing awesome things to create the future. I’m glad I get to join the party.

Written by jphaas

December 20th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized