Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chaos Communication Camp 2007, Day 4

There was a brief rain shower in the morning. Although Chichan and I were outside eating when the rain came, we were able to get in to a bunker being used as the "Art And Beauty Area" before getting too wet. While we waited for the rain to stop we played virtual air hockey on a multitouch screen. It was sufficiently interesting that I shall describe the set up below.

Air hockey is a game that was popular before my time. It consists of a table with hundreds of hole drilled in, through which come jets of air. A small plastic disc floats on the air, and two players each use a larger plastic disc to knock the small disc into each other's goal, located at either end of the table.

Multitouch screens are touch screens which can recognise several points or even sets of points at the same time. They typically work by using a camera to see where the points(eg. your fingers) are, and a projector to provide the display.

After a few games of virtual air hockey we went to the hackcentre, where we found Mitch Altman catching up with his emails. Mitch kindly said he would get one of his "Brain Machines" for us to try out. We tried it. It rocked.

Mitch Altman's Brain Machine consists of a pair of glasses with an LED mounted in each eyepiece, and a pair of headphones which plugs into a small circuit board on the side of the glasses. The Brain Machine runs a 14 minute program of flashing lights and strange sounds. The lights and sounds are emitted at brain wave frequencies. Your brain syncs up to the light and sound, but as the brain waves are external it doesn't know what to do, so you can get some very nice hallucinations...

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