Monthly Archives: April 2011

Smartboards and catwalks at my fingertips S2Ep10

Show ten of this series of The Cool Stuff Collective’s 14 shows is currently airing. The show is one based around Sy Thomas having various hair related problems and a slight fashion vibe. Several of us were roped in to demonstrate some wearable tech. I got to go first. As you can see Sy is sat in a bald wig as a setup for the later gag during my future tech slot.
Catwalk at Cool HQ
I was given a musical t-shirt and asked to camp it up as I strutted on and off. Some how to get the hips wiggling, and because I had to keep hold of the volume control (as the t-shirt was rather sensitive and noisy) I found myself conducting with a swinging right arm. I don’t think I have a future modelling, though I was quite proud of my turn. I just have not developed anything approaching the Zoolander Blue Steel 🙂
After this item monkey gave Sy a magic potion to restore his hair with disastrous results.
This gave a good hook to tap into demonstrating the Smartboard, as I got to use some of the tools on it to show how to fix Sy’s hair.
Bad hair day
The Smartboard we had came from up near bagshot and Jamie came along to help make sure it all worked for us. We had to recalibrate it out the back of the studio, and ended up having to do it again when we moved it on set as it was a bumpy journey.
The Smartboard we had was portable though. As I said in the piece many schools now how these and I know in Predlet 1.0’s school the teachers do use them for more than just showing powerpoint( as I asked at parents evening). I was a little concerned we were going to be showing things that many kids had already seen at school but I hope it will help, via my simple demonstration, for some schools to start to harness the power of the tech more.
I had a picture of Sy on screen and used my catwalk finger to operate the board.
How to use a Smartboard
I showed drawing a gesture square which created a zoom function, then showed doodling and drawing lines. Then it was the piece that I found exciting in delving into some of the mathematical tools.
The story was Sy’s hair needed to be a perfect 39 degrees. The Smartboard software has protractors and set squares in it. You are able to bring up a device, set an angle then lose the device. It draws the angle and lets you use that to measure and adjust things on screen.
Maths, Smartboard and 39 degrees
You can see on the right an active 39 degree angle.
Also anything on the board that appears to be a doodle is a complete actual object in its own right.
So I took the scribble I made at the start of the piece dragged and rotated it to 39 degrees and placed it on Sy as his hair.
Smartboard objects
The future of these boards is of course multi-touch which starts to take more gesture based computing in a multi-user environment.
I was also intrigued to hear (though we did not talk about it as we may do a follow up item) that there is a physics based piece of software that means levers, cogs, gravity etc can be simulated. Draw a boulder and it will drop. I know also there are some virtual world adaptations that have been made to do similar immersive journeys on these boards.
We also did not have time to thread in the use of remote machines to control the Smartboard, though the Fizzbook makes an appearance in the shows later.
We have now finished recording this series, and series 3 is back in the autumn. It was quite a sad, yet exciting record last wednesday. Just a wrap party to survive now.
Don’t worry though there are still four more cracking shows and next weeks future tech is a snowy one !
The wikipedia pages for us all are getting some interesting traffic still.
Cool Stuff gets a lot of comments, Sy Thomas invented Brocolli apparently and mine gets the odd geek fan comment. Of course just comments or abuse tend to get reverted pretty quickly but it is good to see people realising they can contribute. If anyone wants to update things there are some pieces I have left on the talk pages 😉 such as

Five Years of Second Life – Rez Day

It is amazing but I almost missed the fact it was my 5th Rez Day in Second Life. Two years ago I wrote this as I started out on my journey into entrepreneurship without the protection of a giant corporate entity.
My Rez day was actually spent preparing and getting ready to present Opensim on The Cool Stuff Collective TV show! That is quite a bizzare serendipitous coincidence. That show is yet to air so we will have to see how the piece turns out later 🙂
Just for the record again my original post on Second Life just after I had figured out what it was
Postcard from Second Life
Second Life is still there, people are still doing interesting things, Opensim has grown and the whole world has gone social media crazy and is playing angry birds and bejeweled.
I am still a metaverse evangelist, still in the industry and life and loads of my friends and colleagues are too. I would have to say that was FTW 🙂