This is a nice short video on how we can “train” our brains to rethink how to think. This is very specific but it’s only a matter of time that new techniques and technologies further this research.
Moran Cerf is a neuroscientist who has shown how to project patients’ thoughts onto a screen in front of their eyes by implanting electrodes deep inside their brains and reading the activity of cells. Oh, and he used to rob banks. “There are at least two people inside our mind.”
Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of The Mission Business and their works (previously ZED.TO and Visitations). One of the Business members, Trevor, gave a talk at TEDxOCADU and it’s now online:
From the video description:
Trevor Haldenby is the imaginative thinker who focuses emerging technologies on exciting ideas.
He has worked as interactive producer and design consultant on a diverse array of digital projects: including the popular virtual world Habbo Hotel, and Earth Rangers’ Bring Back The Wild campaign.
Trevor’s own creative projects have won acclaim and redrawn borders in digital storytelling; including Painting The Myth: The Mystery of Tom Thomson and ZED.TO, an apocalyptic and futuristic transmedia adventure. These projects have been recognized with a 2012 Digi Award for Cross-Platform Fiction, Gold at the National Post Design Exchange Awards, and Best in Show at the Toronto Fringe Festival and World Future Society. Trevor is currently completing a Master’s of Design in Strategic Foresight & Innovation at OCAD University, and is co-founder of experience design collective The Mission Business.
Not too long ago a single item almost brought economic havoc to the MMORPG EVE Online and the makers of the game, CCP, did what they had to do to ensure economic stability. A player found a brilliant way to game the trading algorithms used in the game and got himself a ton of in-game cash (ISK). The PA Report explains what happened.
The ship contained that “useless” item, but the game thought it was worth half a billion ISK. “You get loads of loyalty points, and you cash those in for something good. He completely manipulated the market, and it started having this massive effect on our economy,” Lander said.
This got me thinking more about how the economy of EVE allows for perfect monitoring of transactions and great statistical analysis. Working on a digital economy must be every economists dream as the irregularities and lack of tracking makes real-world economic data hard to capture (and trust).
Dr Eyjó: So with ‘mudflation’, [the term] relates to the old MUD games – multi-user dungeons – that were just text-based games. If you were coming into the game as a new player after other people had played it for a long while, you would never catch up to them. It was just ridiculous because it just kept growing and growing and it was difficult to get there. In EVE we are very much aware that new players need a path in order for them to participate – they don’t need to be the best right away – but they need to participate in the game. So we designed the game in such a way so that it’s beneficial for old players to get new players with them because they can use them as scouts or they can use them as foot soldiers in bigger battles. And that’s really why we don’t think we would have ‘mudflation’ in EVE.
The interview also goes into how how things in game are inspired from the physical world, particularly the economy of Iceland (just look at ISK and ISK), and the economic hilarity that occurred in the past decade:
Dr Eyjó: So, in 2004 to 2007 Iceland was able to acquire a lot of international loans from foreign countries. A lot of money. Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, they were all willing to lend Icelanders Euros or Dollars and different kinds of currencies, because everybody believed that Iceland would just flourish forever. And the money supply in Iceland – because that’s money from the outside pumped into Iceland – just sky-rocketed. And having a sky-rocketing money supply means there’s more money in the system but there’s still the same economic value. So the joke that I was making was very simple: That system blew up. And they should have known it was going to blow up. EVE has a lot of ISK in it because of ten years of history. A lot of ISK in EVE can mean a hell of a lot coming to Dust. And we don’t want that money to move too fast into the [new] game because it will ruin the economy of ‘slow growth’, so we have to know the balance before we completely open it up.
Dekko is a new company that is trying to create an operating system (OS) for augmented reality (AR) glasses and other devices. Importantly, they don’t seem to be working on hardware and are focused on software; similar to Microsoft’s approach with Windows. Gamasutra has a good introduction to Dekko and their plans. They seem to understand the current limits of AR and are directly addressing them:
By the time the technology is released, the aim is to provide the OS with the capability to map surrounding rooms, streets and wherever else you choose to go in full 3D, and use this information to potentially reconstruct surroundings to suit each particular app.
“If a physical marker/image is needed to use the app, no one will use it twice,” explains Miesnieks. “Dekko works anywhere that your camera can see something.”
“The content needs to be truly in the world, not floating on the screen,” he continues. “Dekko’s 3D tracking and reconstruction allows game content to truly be part of the 3D world with occlusion & collisions between digital content and real structures.”
In Canada, there are some efforts to improve the world of AR. In Edmonton there is a company focused on modifying the Moverio (Andriod-based wearable tech) to be used for a training device. Being Edmonton-based they are looking into ways the AR can be used for companies working in the tar sands. Similarly, Vuzix has the same plan to go after industrial training – neither company is looking into gaming.
While we wait for this AR tech to become more accessible, the CBC has a good rundown on what’s going on in Canada when it comes to AR companies.
Thanks to Dave! Who is working a neat AR game (more on that in a couple months).
I’m still looking at fashion and games (previously) and have gained even more apperciation for the art of fashion and the concepts around style.
Without further ado, here’s a hodgepodge of fashion and games stuff:
Console to Closet is a website that catalogs the blending of fashion and video games into stylish and wearable outfits. Pictured is the outfit inspired by Legion from Mass Effect.
There are some fashion elements in video games that make no sense whatsoever like female body armour. Recently, there was a post on TOR.com on the ridiculous design of protective breast plating in games (and other media). Here’s a snippet from the piece which is worth a read.
But that’s not all! Let’s say you even fall onto your boob-conscious armor. The divet separating each breast will dig into your chest, doing you injury. It might even break your breastbone. With a strong enough blow to the chest, it could fracture your sternum entirely, destroying your heart and lungs, instantly killing you. It is literally a death trap—you are wearing armor that acts as a perpetual spear directed at some of your most vulnerable body parts. It’s just not smart.