The art of tug war

The art of tug war

Not many people have finished Creative Technology already. It is, of course, a new study in a very modern field. The term ‘creative technologist’ does not ring a bell to most people. One of the questions that comes into mind when considering our study is “What’s next?”. Luckily, we CreaTers do not have to look solely at the future. One of the best things of our study is that creating products for ‘the real world’ does not have to wait. You can start turning your ideas from the SmartXP into great projects right now. CreaTers Thomas Beelen, Robert Blaauboer, Noraly Bovenmars, Bob Loos en Lukas Zielonka took their project to the next level and made it to the ACE conference! Device Ambient Screens project One of the courses that gives you a chance to create your own product is Ambient Screens. During this second year course, you are challenged to come up with innovative ways of using screens. This particular project group decided to do something with physical interaction. After brainstorming, they decided on a long-distance tug of war game. The original goal was to make children aware of cultural differences by having them play together, whatever their location may be. Tug of war originally is a game in which two (groups of) people pull the ends of a rope. The strongest group wins. To turn this game into a long distance version, you would need a device with ropes you apply great force on. Due to technical difficulties, the CreaTers decided to make a new game out of it. In two different rooms, two collaborating players were given a box with a rope, serving as a controller for a brick-breaking game. One could pull the paddle to the left, and the other to the right. If one player pulls, the rope of the other player gets pulled into the box.

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This way, both of you control the pad with which you steer a ball into breaking bricks. Academically approved The project got noticed by Dennis Reidsma, who asked them whether they wanted to take the next step and try to write a paper about it. The eventual goal would be the ACE conference 2013 – an international conference about computer entertainment, part of which was hosted in our SmartXP! Through him PhD students Human Media Interaction Gijs Huisman and Robby van Delden got involved. The eventual research goal of the extended team became “Investigating the Influence of Remote Touch on Social Presence in a Distributed Rope Pulling Game”. For a real scientific project there are, however, some extra requirements compared to ‘just’ a CreaTe project. With the help of the new team members, they made some major changes to the original design and set up a whole new user test which to meet the requirements of a real official academical research project. Some changes were made to make it a better representation of a realistic rope pulling game. For example, the wifi through which the prototype boxes were connected, caused a little lag in the game. To avoid this they decided to fake distance by putting the two boxes in adjacent rooms, connected by a direct serial connection wire. The plastic ropes of the prototype were replaced by real ropes. The game itself changed too: instead of a block-breaking game, it became an egg-catching game with an intentionally simple interface. Previously done in Processing, the new game was written in C++. Questionnaires about the effect of the rope pulling game had to be academically approved. For these, questionnaires made for earlier, related research could be used and adjusted to the project. Test participants were acquaintances of the researchers and did not know each other. After sending in the paper to the ACE conference committee, the team received feedback from voluntary peer reviewers. Using this feedback, they were able to improve the article to make it paper-worthy. 1460034_619802601411643_303842985_n ACE Conference The first year Creative Technology students will remember the presentation that was given as a Friday afternoon lecture. This was a try-out for the presentation on the ACE conference. During this presentation the system was explained. The presentation was given by Lukas Zielonka at the actual ACE conference, which lasted from 12 to 15 november. The participants stayed in a hotel for the duration of this four day event. The third day was held in the SmartXP, where you may have seen your fellow students present their work. So what happened afterwards? This project may be used for a bachelor project, or they could take their product to a CreaTe-related company such as KITT engineering. But even if they do not, their work is a great example of what a little extra effort can mean for your career as a creative technologist – not somewhere of the future, but right now, starting in the SmartXP!

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