Looma from VillageTech Solutions

Update: Music videos for primary learners completed, preview here

I have recently learned about a small non-profit that is working to deliver ICT support to rural educators in Nepal.

LoomaLady
Nepali educators learning about the Looma.

That’s right, Information & Communication Technology in the villages and classrooms of the Himalayas. VillageTech Solutions have designed Looma, a
standalone audio-visual device that

  • is self-powered (solar-rechargeable batter)
  • is operated with a wireless “wand”
  • has a built-in audio system
  • comes loaded with CC-Licensed content (games, videos, songs, etc.)

The device projects the “desktop” onto a wall and comes with a hand-held mouse (the “wand”) to navigate.

The prototype has been field tested and now they are looking for volunteers to help search for—and evaluate—content that can be loaded into the drive. (Most classrooms in rural Nepal have no electricity, much less an Internet connection.)

I would write a bit more; but, I am up to my elbows producing some educational content…gotta go. Holler at “azwaldo” at gmail dot com, anytime.

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moose-faw (a click of the mouse)

BrownMouse_IMG_0276_Flickr_crwr
One brown mouse. (image by Flickr user: crwr)
moose-faw {mousetrap; Scots dialect}
Sub-title: “plans laid best”

Often, when meant to be on study for undergraduate exams, I found myself walking the library to track down pieces of prose. Several times, it was the work of Robert Burns kept me from what I ought ‘been doing…keen to find another hidden bit of truth.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s win’s ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!
—excerpt of a poem by Robert Burns

So much to learn, so little time. Those were the good old days.

Now, the Internet puts a wider world at our fingertips. Not only is grammar made tidy, and translated texts lay side by side,

Your small house, too, in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December’s winds coming,
Both bitter and keen!
—same excerpt,in Simple English

…but we can watch an animated Robert Burns, reciting the same song…and in the brogue, no less
(see lyrics [link], and see embedded video, below; or watch it here [link]).

So, I wake with “One Brown Mouse” (a a Jethro Tull song) tappin’ in my noggin, ready to tackle an old task, one which finds its fullness. It is a note to my eldest son, started many weeks past. I open the draft, begin a review, paring down familiar themes when…

…that old tune taps me on the shoulder, and I’m off on the chase.

A moment later, punching keys to find the lyric, I learn that the title of John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men is taken from the Burns poem, excerpted above. And still, the song keeps me tapping along. No fretting over lyrics, either, because they are there in an instant…

Puff warm breath on your tiny hands.
You wish you were a man
who every day can turn another page.
Behind your glass you sit and look
at my ever-open book:
One brown mouse sitting in a cage.
—lyrical fragment from a Jethro Tull song

with a click of the mouse.

‘Tis lost in time that I might be
Oh aye, my lad, alake anee
for there is still so – much – to – see.

More augmented reality links…

Hope to be around for the convergence of augmented reality, wearable computing, and haptics…

Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision (article)

“Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time used manufacturing techniques at microscopic scales to combine a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights.”
University of Washington Office of News and Information

Haptic Laptop Installation (video from June 2006)

marbles appear to be loose in a laptop display

CNET: Novint Falcon (video)

new gaming device delivers tactile feedback (see also: Novint Falcon Haptics Controller)

Four Angry Men experience (video)

“Four Angry Men is a first-person immersive experience based on the American courtroom drama ’12 Angry Men’. In this experience, participants see video-based virtual jurors through a head-mounted display and can switch between different points of view by physically moving between chairs.” Posted by Steven Dow, doctoral student in the Augmented Environments Laboratory of the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing

Augmented Reality (video demos)

“Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data…most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and ‘augmented’ by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”
– Wikipedia

Physics and Augmented Reality – Part 1

AR demonstration of physics enabled interactivity; virtual spheres fall to – and bounce off of – an actual object on actual tabletop

Physics and Augmented Reality – Part 2

Similar to Part 1 video, manual interaction with a virtual car on a tabletop

Parallel Tracking and Mapping for Small AR Worspaces – extra

Demonstration of real-world image tracking for overlaying of virtual objects. (Research of Georg Klein)

Augmented Architecture

“Application of Augmented Reality in Architecture and Urban Space – Architecture thesis project by Quck Zhong Yi,” (in which a virtual Mario Brothers game is projected on an urban street.

Second Life as a Platform for Augmented Reality

AR using modified Second Life viewer which places a live SL avatar within the image of the real world

TOTAL IMMERSION

Link to video gallery for a company developing AR for theme parks and entertainment, events, retail, and mobile phone operators

Wearable technology in the news

Brain control headset for gamers (BBC)

“Gamers will soon be able to interact with the virtual world using their thoughts and emotions alone. A neuro-headset which interprets the interaction of neurons in the brain will go on sale later this year.”

Video glasses

“22Moo has unveiled a new range of video eyewear and Bluetooth accessories for Apple’s iPod and iPhone that includes a pair of sub-$200 35-inch video glasses…”

Integrated Circuits

“A wireless silicon monitor that can be worn like a Band-Aid and then thrown away. A chip that could become one of the first commercial retina replacements. A device that measures waveforms still being discovered deep within the brain.”

A metaverse looms

3pointD points to an article at ComputerworldUK describing a virtual world summit…

IBM is set to debate these issues on Friday at a virtual worlds event it is co-hosting with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge.

Among others, academics and companies including Toyota and PepsiCo are meeting, perhaps to explore a path toward interoperability standards according to Bob Sutor. In his series of posts describing his virtual world requirements, Sutor explains some of what is necessary for interconnected VR grids to allow for a user to travel between.