CSTI – Creative Space for Technical Innovations at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences

The CSTI – Creative Space for Technical Innovations is an interdisciplinary platform for research and knowledge transfer in areas such as human-computer-interaction (HCI) or smart systems at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. The lab is part of the Computer Science department and collaborates with areas such as mechatronics, design, art, social and culture studies. It takes part in a network of other facilities at Hamburg universities, e.g. base.camp at Hamburg University, TUHH Lab at Hamburg University of Technology and the City Science Lab at HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab.

 

CSTI logo

 

The main goal of the lab is to provide a workspace for development of innovative ideas and agile prototyping in collaboration with small and medium sized enterprises (SME). The main fields of research are virtual reality / augmented reality, smart objects / user interface, machine learning / data mining or science and technology studies. Furthermore the lab focusses on design methods and reflective discussion of “digital transformation” phenomena. The CSTI Academy offers workshops, hackathons, keynotes and seminars with a special focus on STEM promotion (MINT in German) and education among others.


Design Fiction

In 2016 I collaborated with Jessica Broscheit and Hannes Sieg on a design fiction prototype that is associated to the CSTI lab. The Air Mask was developed to measure environmental data in realtime in context of open data paradigms, decentralised data mining and data driven narratives. I have written about the project before. Jessica ist now part of the CSTI team as a research associate and furthers her work in speculative design. One of her latest smart object projects is called Ivory and again deals with environmental data and tangible interfaces.


Digital Transformation Phenomena

As a reflective contention of digital transformation, my current PhD project about entrepreneurial ecosystems, public policy agendas and sociotechnical imaginaries is also associated with the CSTI lab. The study is done in collaboration with the University of West Scotland (UWS) School of Business & Enterprise and builds on previous entrepreneurship policy research done at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and University of New South Wales (UNSW) Business School in Sydney, Australia.

Generative Art Created By Your Heart Beat With heart/work iOS App

heart/work iOS app generates original interactive artworks based on unique health information and real time workout data collected on the Apple Watch. Bridging the gap between wellbeing and health data, heart/work creates a new type of data visualisation. It uses meditative breathing exercises, real time heartbeat data and environmental information.

The app was developed by a group of students during one of the many challenges at the Apple Developer Academy in Napoli, Italy. It is available for free on the Apple iTunes App Store with In-App-Purchase premium features.

heart/work icon


Why Generative Art?

Health is not a number. Anyone should be able to easily understand the insights hidden in quantified self data sets. In-depth understanding of medical and biometric data is very complicated. No matter how beautiful charts and numbers are presented, people still have to know which graph should have an upward or downward trajectory and what certain numbers mean in relation to others. Most prominently, the activity rings on the Apple Watch are often referred to as the most engaging activity tracker.  Still, despite providing relevant and most salient information, the rings are limited for an overall perception of wellbeing.

health data vs. wellbeing

With this reference in mind and a rapidly growing global market for mindfulness and meditation apps, heart/work attempts to take a more data driven approach to mediation, while providing a different, more visual and exploratory experience. As the only app on the iOS platform, heart/work is taking heart rate data recorded in real-time on the Apple Watch into account to measure the progression through a guided breathing exercise. The goal is to lower the heart rate during the session, which is claimed to improve the heart rate variability (HRV) and considered to be beneficial to overall health and the ability to deal with everyday stress.

The team developed a visual language to translate the recorded health and exercise data into interactive graphic scenes where visual elements, shapes and colour represent distinct insights derived from the data. These generative artworks are created by the data and human behaviour and provides an immersive and highly personal experience.

heart/work - approach


Using heart/work

The heart/work app’s highly intuitive and user friendly interface design focuses entirely on the breathing exercise, while all required information are collected and computed in background. The strong focus on a meaningful user experience combined with a thoughtful user guide and the immersive artworks created by the app’s algorithms positions heart/work far beyond the many applications in the wellbeing scenario. Every new exercise creates a new and totally unique representation of health and wellbeing.

 

In the unexplored space of generative artwork within the health context, heart/work provides a toolset for both meditation veterans as well as skeptics and novices. It successfully bridges the gap between the perception of wellbeing and health data by translating the information into a visually appealing artwork that is suited to raise awareness for everyone.

To see the immersive and interactive artworks created by heart/work, try the free app yourself. It requires and Apple Watch and access to your HealthKit information as well as location information to work. No personal data is ever stored outside the app.


Created With Love At The Apple Developer Academy

heart/work was created by a group of fellow students (Marco Falanga, Ottavio Gelone, Baldev Ghelani, Giselle Katics, Mikey T. Krieger) and myself during one of the various challenges during the master class at Apple Developer Academy 2017/2018 in Napoli, Italy. It’s totally unique and original visual language for transitionary state of health and wellbeing data fuels an engine for generative artwork that is truly one of its kind. For more information about the app itself, the data it gathers or some of the media coverage visit heartwork.app.

heartwork.app team

Noise Pollution Made Visible With NoiseGate iOS App

Something to try: NoiseGate is the only iOS application that focuses exclusively on the dangerous impact of noise pollution on health and mental wellbeing. The app was developed by a group of master class students during one of the many challenges at the Apple Developer Academy in Napoli, Italy, and is available for free on the Apple iTunes App Store as the first app published in the 2017/2018 academy alumni. 

noisegate.co


Why Noise Pollution?

To date, noise pollution is one of the most dangerous forms of pollution because it is silent. Most sounds around us are random or unpleasant. That’s why we call it noise and we tend to ignore them. As a recent review published in the European Heart Journal pointed out, the role of noise as an environmental pollutant and its impact on health are increasingly recognized.

Beyond its effects on the auditory system, noise causes discomfort, disturbs sleep and compromises cognitive performance. Furthermore, evidence from epidemiological studies show that environmental noise is associated with an increased incidence of arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke.

The victims of this form of pollution is practically anyone in any urban environment in the world. The NoiseGate app allows users to be more aware of their noise exposure and to contribute to a better understanding of noise pollution as a common problem.

Users can measure and calculate the actual noise level in their current position and obtain further analysis to make better decisions on how to avoid high noise levels over time. Simultaneously, all users contribute as “citizen scientists” to the creation of a global map of noise level distribution.

noisegate.co - be aware and escape the noise


Using NoiseGate

With an intuitive design and a user friendly interface, it is very easy to analyze the noise level in real time or dig deeper into the knowledge of the problem thanks to the thermal noise maps that allows to view the distribution of noise all over the world. The strong focus on a simple but meaningful user experience, combined with a colorblind-proof design pushes the app far beyond the many applications in the utility and health categories.

In addition, NoiseGate is the “first mover” app in an unexplored segment of the iOS ecosystem that provides a toolset for solving an individual issue and translating it into an awareness community.

 


Created With Love At The Apple Developer Academy 

NoiseGate was created by a group of fellow master class students (Lucas Assis Rodrigues, Rany Azevedo, Maddalena Granata, Giovanni Monaco, Giselle Katics) and myself during one of the various challenges during the master class at Apple Developer Academy 2017/2018 in Napoli, Italy. For more information about the app itself, the data it gathers or some of the media coverage visit noisegate.co.

noisegate.co - team

How Will We Breathe Tomorrow? – Working with Open Government Data

As mentioned before, Jessica Broscheit is conducting a workshop about air quality and urban data at the Creative Space for Technical Innovations at Hamburg’s University of Applied Sciences. It’s called “How Will We Breathe Tomorrow” and is part of the A/D/A Hamburg 2016, a conference about future utopias for today’s urban citizen. During the workshop people can learn about government efforts to collect and share air quality data in open government data platforms and develop their own air quality monitoring device to experiment with visual, haptic and acoustic ways to explore data.


AIR MASK

Last year I worked with Jessica Broscheit und Hannes Sieg on another project within the “Next Media” master program at the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg (HAW Hamburg), called “Air Mask”. It involved research into air quality data and open government data platforms and lead to the development of a design fiction prototype of an air mask used for monitoring environmental data.

The collected data can be compared globally through a developed standardisation process and local air quality data was visualised on the mask itself in an easy to understand 3-colored alarm system. Just recently, Jessica created a website to document these projects.

Air Mask from Jessica Broscheit on Vimeo.

 

Building iAds with Apple’s iAd Producer

Apple has introduced a new software tool for developers: iAd Producer. It enables anyone to create iAd banners without any coding experience. The tool is available to members of the iOS developer program.

iAd Producer makes it easy for you to design and assemble high-impact, interactive content for iAd. iAd Producer automatically manages the HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript behind your iAd to make creating beautiful, motion-rich iAd content as easy as point and click.

For advanced developers, iAd Producer offers sophisticated JavaScript editing and debugging, along with a powerful extension mechanism that enables them to create and re-use their own page templates and components.

Source: “Introducing iAd Producer” Apple

It’s really easy to create simple iAds with this tool. The most parts can be completed with just drag and drop and minimal additional configuration. The tool comes with a nice user interface and a good visual representation of the iAd’s walkthrough.

iAd-Producer-1

You can easily add iPhone apps from the itunes store for purchase in the iAd. All you need to do is insert the application id from the store. iAd Producer inserts the icon, description and screenshots on its own. Of course you can add any other itunes store content but I guess this is a nice way to promote your apps.

iAd-Producer-2

It just takes a few minutes and you can see your iAd live on your iPhone. You need the iOS SDK installed on your machine to preview the app on the iPhone simulator or you can preview the iAd in any web browser since it is based on HTML5.

iAd-Producer-3

Although I really appreciate this tool and everything looks nice, comes with smooth animation and works as advertised, I must admit it looks nothing like a real cool iAd out of the box. I suppose for some supreme quality iAd you still have to do things manually after all. Luckily within in iAd Producer you can.

iAd-Producer-4

This tool really is a great start. I can’t wait to see iAds in action in Germany. According to Apple’s announcement, iAd is coming to Germany in January 2011 with some major brands signed already. If you want to be ready, try out iAd Producer for yourself.

Some Unreal numbers – $1.64M in 5 days

Some days ago, I told you about the first iOS game powered by the Unreal Engine 3, called Infinity Blade. It seems to be quite a hit as I just stumbled upon this:

The first Unreal Engine-powered game for iOS, Infinity Blade, has sold at least 274,000 copies in its first five days on sale, according to recent player counts on Game Center. At $6 a copy that’s a $1.64 net for the publisher, and a new record, according to Gamesindustry.biz.

Source: “Infinity Blade iPhone game nets $1.6M in five days” – The Loop

Not so shaby at all. I suppose there is real money to be made in the app store. The full story can be read at gamesindutry.biz but you need to register for free to read the whole article. Meanwhile I will keep on playing the game.

infinity-blade-2

The Unreal Engine on the iPad – Infinity Blade

It’s finally happening. As announced in September 2010, Epic Games brings the Unreal Engine 3 to the iOS platform. Until today, there only was a Unreal showcase application called Epic Citadel. In this app nothing is happening at all. One can just explore a castle realm. It looks nice with lots of animation amazing visuals and textures. It sure has the best graphics on the iOS platform. Since today one can buy the first full game Infinity Blade for just 4,99 €.

Infinity Blade is the all-new action RPG sword-fighting game for iPhone®, iPad™ and iPod touch® developed by Epic Games’ award-winning studio, ChAIR Entertainment. The first mobile game powered by Epic’s cutting-edge Unreal Engine 3 technology, Infinity Blade takes handheld gaming to new heights with gorgeous visuals, adrenaline-fueled battles and advanced character progression in a fully 3D castle realm.

(Source: “Infinity Blade” Epic Games)

TouchArcade reviewed the app quite intensively and describes it as a “must have”. I am not into this particular kind of game, but I needed to see this graphics in action. The game has a decent game center integration and promises to bring a multiplayer mode soon. I really like the concept of game center and hope to see interesting competing modes to arise from it. Infinity Blade really looks amazing and runs quite smoothly on my iPhone and my iPad. Remembering the poor graphics on a desktop machine in the 1990ies, playing games like Half-Life, Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike, I never imagined to see even that kind of performance on a mobile device. So from this perspective I agree that Infinity Blade is a must see. I can’t wait to see more games with high end graphics on the iOS platform.

infinity-blade