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TEDxLakeComo -- Roberto Carraro - From multimedia to multisensory digital experience

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(Applause) So I'll start from a slide that represents an event that suprised me, that is Steve Job's presentation, in the contex of the launch of the Ipad 2, of an application conceived in Italy by Applix and developed by the Mondadori company. The fact that the emperor of the digital empire had reached the borders of the empire -- you know we aren't among the world leaders in the digital world -- in order to pick the application made by one of his far-away subjects so as to present it as a symbol of the future developements of his product is surprising. I was astonished, so I tried to understand why he did so. Let's listen to him. Steve Jobs: The things people are doing are amazing. SJ: they are taking advantage of this magical user interface on a much larger canvas SJ: with more resources... Roberto Carraro: Basically he's saying that some surprising interfaces are available. More specifically, one of them enlarges the Ipad screen. Actually our technology, developed in Italy, modifies the usage paradigm of the Ipad and that's probably what suprised Jobs, who somehow wanted to underline the ongoing evolution of Ipad toward augmented reality. This technology is called BubbleViewer and it enables us to build virtual bubbles around ourselves. Here is its quite simple characteristic: it allows us, for instance, to see the Coliseum as it was in the past and as it presently is. Now let' see some applications. Here is again the scene I have just shown you, in which the reconstruction of the Coliseum travels through time. The fundamental characterist of BubbleViewer is that it is able to display many digital worlds in a virtual bubble that surrounds the user. The screen acts as a sort of telescope, and here we see a scene from Pompei in a virtual world, it's the House of Faun, or this painting becoming three dimensional. It's a new way to experience the territory, as we have seen, that enables us to enjoy an engaging experience and to discover the invisible, for instance Hadrian's Mausoleum superimposed on Castel S.Angelo, or industrial applications that could be used in various fields. It's an open window on countless digital worlds: for instance, here we can see the Circus Maximus as it is today and as it was in the past. BubbleViewer fundamental charateristic can be found in its peculiar relation with the cosmos. Thanks to its digital compass, its inclinometer and GPS it can create a world around us. Let's go ahead and analyze what this scenario entails -- and that's rather evident and, I think, obvious to everybody, because of its immediacy. The Post-PC Era, christened and launched by Steve Jobs, defines some new devices that are a prothesis of the brain and of the senses. What we ought to do as designers -- I am a digital designer -- at this point is to design multisensorial experiences, to be experienced either in digital worlds or in worlds that are a composition of digital and real worlds. This slide describes this scenario rather clearly. Steve Jobs invented, or at least imposed the desktop methapor to the market throught the Macintosh, in which the situation of the human being was rather simple: sitting in a office, facing a static screen. Physical interaction was quite limited, just a keyboard and a mouse. What's presently happening, thanks to the new devices imposed by Jobs, basically is that the contexts in which we interact with digital worlds are multiplying. Initially we sat in front of objects similar to desktop objects. So we had a paper bin, some sheets of paper and some folders. Presently we are facing entirely different objects. Simply because of the fact that the window on the digital world is no longer a fixed one, it's no longer in a office, but is now everywhere. Clearly, an extremely interesting scenario,both from a design point of view and from an anthropological point of view, has become available. Basically the human being is standing up and is starting to walk, to use the car, and is mpw even able to lay down and finally it's also possible to read. I never had read books on PC -- actually it's backbone problem, not a technological one. The human being can play, move, interact through his hands. He is now able to consult the world at any time and to interact with reality, through some filters, through some new visors. Kinaesthesia, or motor intelligence, basically is the new element of design. Kinaesthesia is a form of intelligence that is activated when one learns how to ride a bike; a children doesn't know how to ride one. Initially a motor learning phase happens, followed by a kinaesthetic memory that enables him to always know how to ride a bike; therefore it's a form of intelligence as to the logical and visual ones are. This form of intelligence enters the digital world. And it becomes a leading actor in this scenario. Let' see in which contexts, let's have some tangible examples. The latest successes in videogaming present kinaesthetic characteristics. Kiné, kinesti, kinaesthesia, movement.Basically the body enters into the digital world and interacts with it through an object, or even directly through hands. The car.The car is also changing. We are working on a European project on augmented driving, on using augmented reality technologies in cars. Pay attention! We are not in a office, we are operating in a dangerous environment such as a factory floor, or a foundry, in which one may easily get killed. Therefore, before everything else, a designer has the duty of limiting my kinaesthesia, for I must be controlled, my priority must be keeping my eyes on the street to see what's happening. Actually, augmented reality ought to check out for cars, pedestrians or street signs that are giving me signals. But I can't interact. In short, each usage context should produce a specific extension and at times the survival of an human being may depend on it. Indeed we know that, in some instances, using mobile devices while moving may cause accidents. The designer ought to consider this aspect as well. Smartphones. Here is the key challenge. The great "Iphone episode" has introduced, through a mass distributed success, the use of Internet and of the digital world in a device that, in the past, was only a vocal device. In the past we were able to walk while using the cellphone, as we were just talking. Presently,when interacting with it, we must stop, lest we crash, as if we were driving a car. This is an huge opportunity that ought to be studied. Consider that the introduction of the digital world in cellphones will shift, in the next 3-4 years, all Italians toward owning a very powerful prothesis, far more powerful than voice, that will enable us to access a huge wealth of information at any moment. Actually it represents an opportunity to increase intelligence and to have a smarter Italy. Smartphones and tablets as ergonomic revolutions. The fundamental kinaesthesia applied by Jobs to the Iphone is the so called "touch". It consist of a set of patents that describe the movements of fingers. Why fingers? That was the key to success, for touching lowers barriers. On reflection, hands, as eyes and mouth, are one of the key devices through which tought operates on the world. Expecially in arts, for we paint with hands and compose music with hands. Hands are fundamental instruments in materializing a tought into the world. Let's have a look at some applications of the hands in the world of arts. These are some other kinaesthetic experiences developed by us, but quite focused on the use of fingers. In these works, realized in collaboration with Mondadori, we have many manipulable objects of many kinds, that can be turned or interacted with as if they were real objects. Here by using fingers we can add colors to a statue and recover the original colors of the roman works of arts which were, as you know, policromatic. We can also transform works of art, in order to analyze them, to make them dynamic. And that always done through hands, through fingers that explore this world. like, for instance, the Coliseum area, transformed by Nero into the Domus Aurea and later into the Flavius' Amphitheatre. By using fingers we can quickly travel through time, exploring an infinite number of scenarios that are made available to us, so in essence we are holding a world in our hands. One additional tought on this scenario. I am convinced that there is something disquieting or that many among you perceive there is something disquieting in this scenario as, from some perspective, this presence of virtual worlds, that we have experienced in movies such as "The Matrix", is a source of preoccupation, for this aspect is considered to be extremely inhuman. I don't think it is. Let's consider an antrophological aspect. About 35,000 years ago, the Homo Sapiens clearly distinguished himself through some works of art that, in essence, are Bubbles. Let's consider Lascaux. When visiting the palaeolithic paintings in Lascaux essentialy we are going into a Bubble, which probably was a multisensory one for it was animated by rites. Therefore immersive worlds are as old as mankind. We can witness that in Padua, in Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel, or in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. We enter and become immersed in a Bubble, we are immersed in a virtual world. We are working on this path, we are trying to understand how art, that indeed is a multisensory discipline, may enter this scenario and obtain a role in it for what good are the digital worlds, if art can't enter into them? What good are they, if they can't enhance our thinking? Merely good for a chat on Facebook? That's part of the problem, the problem is a challenge in which culture has to undertake new paths, and now we'll see one dedicated to cathedrals. This is a virtual cathedral, representing a new project being developed by us and actually this is a book, not a cathedral; it's a multisensory Bible. After all cathedrals have always been multisensory experiences. They are sacred representation of the Sacred Scriptures. The Genesis can be found on the floors of many churches, as well as the Apocalypse on many vaults. Painting, music, sculpture and architecture converge on this scenario. One hypothesis is to start developing a multisensory art for the digital era; an art that would intrigue the senses, that would create environments that are not inhuman, but actually deeply human and connected to our past. Actually, the presently developing challenge is far less complex than a cathedral, It's the living room, where we watch TV and rest every evening. The PC actually wasn't the dominant media of the last years, the television was. The greatest revolution will not be the one that will modify the PC, but rather the one that will modify the TV from a social point of view. This is the most fascinating and the most imminent scenario, for it's going to happen shortly. New types of vocal interaction with TV sets are being experimented, as well as new types of gestural interaction that, by the way, use technologies that already are available. This is the problem: conceiving a revolution that is not only an ergonomic and techonological one but a political and social one as well. And part of this challenge is also creating jobs, creating a strong innovation that would help us increase the GDP from 2% to 7%, giving work to young people, because this is the scenario in which jobs will be created, expecially for young people. Therefore we must be brave enough to undertake this development, to modify our relation with consolidated contexts that ought to be modified, in order to create new opportunity, expecially for young people. So I would like to point out a path that I regard as interesting, which is the one that may lead to the presence of italian design in the digital world. Let's consider that, in fact, we as Italians have been designing physical object and work of arts for centuries, we have distinguished ourselves thanks to this fact. This discipline was developed in the last decades, and we have managed to become its world leaders and it has designed any kind of object, certainly physical objects. The challenge for the new century is bringing this experience, which also contains a lifestyle envied by everybody, into the digital experience. For the digital experience is a scenario too important to be neglected. What I mean to convey is that it's more important than designing a chair, a sofa or a car. Actually, far more is at stake. And we can play this game. And maybe have an important role as well. Goodbye. (Applause) Translation and Subs: [email protected] , Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 2012

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 29 seconds
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Producer: TEDx
Director: Gerolamo Saibene
Views: 70
Posted by: tradottiinitaliano on Dec 18, 2011

Considered, along with his brother Gualtiero, as one of the pioneers of multimedia in Italy (www.codexart.net). Together they have developed advanced research in the areas of iconic language ​​and virtual and immersive reality, transformed into patents and production of digital works which have won several international awards, such as Rome App Virtual History, presented by Steve Jobs in the event of worldwide launch of iPad2.

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