Wendy presented two papers at the inaugural Movementis Conference at the Oxford University Examination Rooms in July. The first, “Somability: movement, independence and social engagement for adults with complex needs” reported on the design process and results of Somability, an interactive arts project that aimed to make movement irresistible. The second paper, co-authored with Lise Hansen, “Dancing in data: Representation, repetition and recreation” described our most recent work that examines the potential of computer vision and machine learning to generate novel person-centred, choreographic techniques for processing kinesthetic sensory stimuli. Although the conference had a scientific bias, both papers received positive feedback from those who appreciated the need for a “human” approach to movement research.
This one-day conference brought a diverse range of speakers and delegates together to share research, practical experiences and ideas for technological innovation. Jamie and Lion set the tone for understanding the impact of technology in day-to-day living – for communication, work and leisure.
Our talk offered a journey through our experiences of developing software, focusing on Attention, Perception, Feedback, Repetition and Flow. We used this opportunity to launch the first release of Somatopia, which aims to bridge the gap between genuine innovation and end users who are disenfranchised through perceptions of disability and lack of resources (human and technological).
We hope that by making the software, code and instructions for designing Somatopia apps available to download, Somatopia will appeal to enthusiasts with expert knowledge, and those who enjoy making and tinkering with technology. See more on the Somatopia page.
Wendy has been in Melbourne, Australia during November, sharing both the Somatopia and Somability projects with Scope Victoria, and presenting at the prestigious 50th Anniversary ASID conference. Both events have led to connecting and sharing ideas with some fantastic people, especially excited to meet up with Sensorium Theatre, Perth, and Back to Back Theatre in Melbourne.
Great to share insights and experiences of the “flow state” with Damian Milton at the first NAS design and autism conference. From the earliest days of designing ReacTickles we noticed how anxiety reduced and happiness increased when children were absorbed in their flow of interest, so it was fantastic to hear Damian’s view on this.
Here is a lovely video of the Accolade Awards. The judges were impressed with how the Somability approach to technology could offer new experiences with a traditional service, and cited the project as a “fine example of and co=producing and co-creating”. Here are the judges comments.
We had a great time co-designing interactive artworks with young people from the Noah’s Ark children’s hospice at artsdepot. Using the fabulously accessible Touch Boardfrom Bare Conductive. The participants collaborated in teams to bring their favourite things to life by adding their own sounds to drawings. The culmination of the workshop was a set of paper-prototype “happiness machines” that included tickling, laughter, jokes, music and other references to the things in life that make us happy.
We are thrilled to announce that following interviews with the judges we reported on in a recent blog, Somability is one for three finalists in the “Better outcomes through working together” category of the 2015 Accolade Awards. Today the film crew interviewed staff and service users at Rhondda Cynon Taf, Gadlys Learning Curve in preparation for the Awards ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on Thursday, 18 June.
First ever Cariad Interactive Somatopia Lab in Cardiff FabLab. Four teachers, two pupils and a technical demonstrator joined us for a rich mix of acting, moving, paper prototyping and storyboarding based on five Somatopia themes. Everyone set up their own Raspberry Pi, Pi camera and microphone and learnt how to use openframeworks to create a range of interactions triggered by sound and motion. The best part was getting to work up some of the ideas that emerged for learning some basic code.
After many months of design and development with our friends at Rhondda Cynon Taf, Somability version one is now free for you to download. At this stage we are offering a Windows version which needs a Kinect camera.
To download the Somability for Windows click here and to download the Installation and Usage Instructions right click here and choose “Save As”.
We are all thrilled that Somability has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2015 Accolades. This week we met the judges, who had the opportunity to see Somability in action at the Gadlys Learning Curve Day Centre in Aberdare.