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A subjective overview of the TEI 2011 conference

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Finally organizing the documentation after arriving home, here's a set of visual notes that present the Hug@ree point of view of TEI’11 in Madeira » TEI 2011 conference overview [Flickr set]

A big hug saying *congrats* and *thanks* to everyone involved in this great event, especially Valentina, Ian, Ellen, Mark, Pedro, Amon, Edward, Denzil, Mayur, and Ricardo, who contributed to make the whole experience to become possible and wonderful!


Hug@ree at TEI Art Exploration session!

The big day is here, Hug@ree was showcased at TEI2011 but first we had to contend with something completely unexpected. The normally sunny weather in Madeira turned its back on us and treated us to some cold wind and rain. Not the the perfect conditions to get people to go outside and hug our tree :/


At the showcase room, the day started early and the room assigned to us at the exhibition space was quickly crowded with nice people setting up their very interesting projects. Hug@ree was in good company :) :) :) :) :)


First we went about calibrating our multitouch display for the exhibition. Our improvised DI setup worked but turned out to be kind of fiddly to set up and a bit unstable in the tracking. In the end it worked out OK for demoing the concept but needs some work to be of any future use.


At half past three, visitors started to arrive and we demoed the installation to them.


At a certain point we received the vist of a local film crew, that was very interested in hearing about our project. They filmed it from every angle and were even captured in our surveillance camera :)



We also received some illustrious visitors that were attending the conference, like UT Austin-Portugal Program's Professor Sharon Strover and MIT's Professor Hirosi Ishii:


The rain made it hard for people to go outside to hug our tree, so we had to go out and do it ourselves, plus a very few brave palm tree huggers, including the student volunteer Ricardo and the The Chameleon Girl herself :) :)


By the end of the showcase we didn't have as many hugs as we expected on our unique Madeira palm tree, but we got some very interesting surprises, like a lightning triggering the sensors and getting captured on video or the quaint lights that the hotel lit up by nightfall:


All in all it was a very rewarding experience. We met a lot of interesting people and got some really nice feedback. If you like, you can check the whole photo set of our adventures at TEI2011.

See you guys next year?


The Hug@ree Madness Session

"Have you ever...?"


... no, had never made a 25'' presentation before ;) Got it, at TEI 2011 madness session – frantic!

So here's the presentation at TEI


Hug@ree palm tree #TEI2011


After testing all kinds of trees and connections at the TEI conference venue CS Madeira, we finally got to this framework! Ah, and don't worry about the scarce foliage... we'll manage to make it spread its leaves with live hugs {[( )]}

... so here's the plan:


Hug@ree setup at TEI2011

Right after we arrived at Madeira island, we headed off to the TEI2011 venue and got busy setting up Hug@ree for the Art Explorations showcase next Tuesday.

Just a couple of days before we left Lisbon, we had a setback. Our friend Tiago's professionally built multitouch display had to be used for an unexpected theater play, so being unavailable for the exhibition, we had to improvise fast.

We scavenged a flexible diffuse plastic sheet out of Nuno's IMG lab and bought some lightweight metal profiles along with some nuts and bolts. Maurício lent us a couple of infrared LED emitters and Guilherme lent us his modded PS3 camera.
In the end we had a DI multitouch setup that would fit on a small plastic tube, normally used to carry posters.

Assembling the frame took about twenty minutes and fixing the diffuse plastic sheet onto it took about an hour and lots of gorilla tape :)


We then setup the surveillance camera lent by the the UT Austin-Portugal Program already used at Popup and went outside to scout the best tree we could find that was visible from our exhibition room. We hugged a lot of very nice trees but had to choose only one :)



By then it was time to go back inside and setup the enclosure that would house our improvised multitouch projection screen. After a quick trip to the local hardware store we repurposed some PVC sheets normally used for wall proofing and once again abused the powers of the gorilla tape to hold everything together as securely as possible.



Next up ws the task of instrumenting our tree. Back outside we measured the XBee radio's range and signal strength and hooked up the capacitive sensor wires and their controller box to the tree.



... then the outdoor caption:

... followed by hug tests:IMG_1621

And that was it. After a super busy day, our installation setup was ready. Tomorrow we'll start with the lighting and multitouch calibration and install the final version of the software that will run our exhibit.


If you're attending TEI2011, come see us on Tuesday afternoon and don't miss the Madness session first thing in the morning.


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