About my blog
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a Studiolab production.
the wind I am enjoying
Or, in other words, what do I do with my time when I am in TUDelft? This is a question beloved both of supervisors (aka bosses) and parents everywhere. For what pertains my parents, it is enough to say that I am faculty – they have direct experience of what I am talking about. But it is not useless to set down in detail what is cooking in my numerous pots and what knotty threads I am spinning.
At TUDelft I do basically two things: education and research, approximately half and half. Of course, there is also a large amount of time that goes into unspecificied activities, such as filling in timesheets, crunching through email, reorganizing my desk, drinking large amounts of coffee, chatting with visiting academics, chatting with people I don’t recognize but have to pretend I do… but the backbone is really education and research.
yes, I can go into detail…
This is easy to set down: in the past semester I have been a coach in Exploring Interaction (sometimes also known as Exploding Interaction), working in a team with Marieke Sonneveld. I have to find the appropriate wiki to link here, because there is indeed a wiki somewhere. I have also tutored Chris Karthaus in his graduation process (gecongratuleerd, once again!)
In this semester (ending in July) I have a rather full plate, since I am a coach in UTAR and ITD (where I also have an organizational and -shall we say- conceptual role), both courses of the DFI program. I have also committed to being a coach in the Interaction and Electronics course of the BA program. I am running, together with Annemiek van Boeijen, a rather mysterious yet exciting joint master program, taking place between TUDelft and KAIST, and the program is accompagned by a highly embrional and auroral class on Food Design, about which I will soon set up a specific web presence.
Amusingly, I am also going to run the Computer Visualization elective, again in the DFI Master. I am sure I have forgotten something.
In my usual victim-of-circumstances way, I have become a kind of resident expert on the Arduino prototyping system. To make my life more exciting, I am also trying to become an expert on the Foxboard – without dropping into high nerdiness (something that I really like to do), we could say that the Foxboard is the next step in power, complexity, size and storage after the Arduino. And it runs Linux, something that you will find either very exciting or completely opaque. If you think it is exciting, let me know.
What constitutes research? The overall research objective of the faculty for 2012 is "fostering sustainable well-being by exploring, generating and transferring knowledge and technologies for industrial design". Every morning I wake up and I say "I must foster". Every evening I wonder, "Have I fostered enough?". I meet my colleagues and I ask them "How is your fostering going today".
My previous (PhD) research focus was about the cognitive impact of panoramic views of the world in virtual reality, and you will agree that it was very fostersome. You can have a look at the ruins of the wiki I used to keep things together while working at SSSUP. I have still and interest for panoramic images, but now it has to intersect the Studiolab’s focus on the early stages of design.
Currently, the most interesting thing I can show you is an environment for prototyping service backends. I call it SERPE. and the following random picture is being served by a tiny SERPE example.
here is the code (Python, of course):
info("served randomly " + path)
that’s all! tiny, isn’t it?
Then I have an idea for a patent rolling around in my head, but of course I can’t write about it, otherwise it stops being patentable.
One fun thing I have worked on this summer, and I still trying to understand if it is a very smart thing or a completely useless nerd toy, is a formal language for describing heraldry and a tool to automatically generate families of blazons. You can read about it here. It is really nerdiness to the second power: a nerd topic treated in a very nerdy way. Perhaps it would be publishable in a game design context.
I am convinced that there should be a strong link between research and education. With my colleague Aadjan van der Helm and Prof. David Keyson we wrote a methodological paper about a specific brief of 2008’s ITD class:
van der Helm, A., W. Aprile, D. Keyson (2008). "Experience Design for Interactive Products: Designing Technology Augmented Urban Playgrounds for Girls." PSYCHNOLOGY JOURNAL 6(2): 173-188.(PDF)
I went to the Enactive2008 conference, and together with Daniel Saakes and Bernardo de Schepop we presented two demos with accompanying posters, and it was good and it came out on paper, and there was much rejoycing.
I am also interested in architecture, and the ways it intersects interaction and design, so I am constantly looking for ways to collaborate with the fine people from Bouwkunde.
Biennale: this summer I took a small group of students to Biennale 2008 in Venice. We did a rather fancy installation that you can see documented. Entertain yourself with the fantastic video where I mumble my way through an improvised presentation
Going to events and speaking in public is something I enjoy, due no doubt to my show-off nature. In the near future (this summer) I plan to be at the Beyond Media conference in Florence, moderating one of the round tables. If TUDelft people want to go, this is again a good opportunity for international promotion.
I have spent a lot of time and energy on trying to set up an EC-funded research project, we got a proposal together, but it did not work. That was a large FAIL!, but it is the nature of the EC funding game. It was at least a good networking opportunity.
I published a short article about the architecture of Second Life with Eyal Fried in BLOCK (issue #5), an Israeli design magazine. The article was dutifully translated in Hebrew, a language I don’t understand. Now I can only stare at the beautiful font and wonder. It is certainly a nice magazine.
I have a deep interest in how design is communicated, which meshes nicely with my photographic passion. The two things resulted in an article, TU Delft: a report (again with Aadjan and David) that came out in the Domus design magazine in November (number 919). Depending on the type of designer you are, you will consider this a very cool thing or something that is totally out of your conceptual horizon. It is OK either way.
This has been a lot of posturing and preening. I realize that I have written something like a 2008 activities report combined with a sales brochure, but I think that it is useful to look back and say oh, this is what I did, particularly if you multitask heavily.
(hey, I did not know that Bernardo de Schepop has a blog on this fancy platform too! Hi Bernardo!)