Open source at the V&A

I had an enjoyable afternoon attending the SAP Digital Design Festival at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Sunday. The festival was a weekend of special events organised to accompany their Decode: Digital Design Sensations exhibition.

I attended a workshop, interacted with some N900 hacks and spoke with their authors. I left the museum feeling quite inspired.

Recode Decode workshop

The Recode Decode workshop given by Karsten Schmidt explained how the digital identity for the Decode exhibition was created and how it can be remixed by the public because it is provided as open source code.

If you live or work in London, you may have seen the digital identity for the exhibition showing on the digital screens in London Underground stations now.

The identity was created using Processing: an open source programming language and environment for programming images, animations and interactive graphics. I’d not come across it before, but after experimenting with it in the workshop I think it deserves to be more famous.

If you want to try remixing it yourself, the code is hosted on Google code and can be fetched using Mercurial (hg clone https://decode.googlecode.com/hg/ decode).

There is more information about the open source identity concept on Karsten’s website.

PUSH N900

 PUSH N900 exhibiting at V&A DECODE

PUSH N900 exhibiting at V&A DECODE

The PUSH N900 exhibit showcased a number of hacks to Nokia’s N900 device.

There was a skateboard fitted with additional sensors to track skateboard tricks communicating via Bluetooth to the N900, a haptic belt that could vibrate to indicate which direction you should go based on turn-by-turn navigation and a motorised Etch-a-Sketch that could draw pictures taken with the camera. You can find out more from the Push N900 website.

However, my favourite was the KAPing with the N900 project: an N900 in a motorised jig attached to a kite that could take aerial photographs controlled by another N900.

The controls used the sensors in the device to move the camera, so you could simply hold the device in your palm and tilt it to the left to angle the camera to the left. Live images from the N900 in the kite are sent using wifi to the N900 used as a controller and the whole thing is written in Python. Brilliant!

We need these type of projects on Symbian too

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