How Virtual Reality will be used by doctors to treat patients

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Earlier this year at Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Alfred-Marc Iloreta prepared for surgery by reaching for an unexpected tool. The otolaryngologist didn’t pick up his scalpel. He picked up a virtual reality (VR) headset. Iloreta’s patient had a brain tumor, located in a precarious area of the head, right behind his ear. This made the operation even more difficult. The surgeon needed to remove the tumor before it could grow further into the brain and wreak havoc. Best known for use in immersive games and other-world entertainment, VR headsets…

Small Radios Big Televisions

Escape into a new game’s dreamy cassette tape worlds with these GIFs

If you’re being overwhelmed by all the presidential election noise today you might be looking for a temporary escape to another world. Small Radios Big Televisions should prove an adequate host. Out for Windows and PlayStation 4 as of yesterday, Small Radios Big Televisions doesn’t have just one world for you to explore, but several. Inside its depopulated factories you’ll come across cassette tapes that act as plastic gateways into these dreamy realms—each labelled with a single descriptive word like “ROAD” and “COAST.” Upon finding them, you watch as they’re slotted into the tape player, the reel unwinding to the glitchy…


Japanese artist creates music with obsolete technology

A lot of newer music has been deemed inane and ridiculous for sounding like broken technology. Dubstep’s sound, for example, has been compared to the sound of hitting a metal pole with a chainsaw, the sound of robots dying, the sound of a root canal. According to Wendy’s: “Dubstep sounds like a broken Frosty machine.” Dubstep sounds like a broken Frosty machine. — Wendy's (@Wendys) March 6, 2012 However, artist Ei Wada embraces the sounds of the old and broken with music that repurposes obsolete fans, TVs, and radios by turning them into instruments. Wada’s work with such technology tends…

Monument Valley

Videogames and the Art of Deception

The visual arts have a rich history of deception. Every painting that attempts to condense the world into two dimensions exploits flaws in the way our eyes work, fooling us into perceiving depth and distance through the use of vanishing points and skewed proportions. Optical illusions trick us into seeing differences in color that don’t exist, while portraits painted to look straight ahead seem to follow us as we walk past. The advent of film and TV pushed the art of deception even further. Green screens convince us that the hero truly is dangling from the lip of a 60-storey…


New thermoforming technique offers a faster alternative to 3D printing

With the advent of 3D printing, it’s easy to imagine a future where industry is as simple as pressing a few buttons on a computer screen. Just take any computer-generated 3D model, send it to a 3D printer, and within a few minutes to a few hours, you’ll have an actual, physical object that you can hold in your hand. The problem, then, is the wait. Whereas a three hour wait for a small statue might be bearable for individual use, large-scale production houses may not be able to afford the lost time when compared to more traditional methods. To…


Imagining the technological singularity with Factorio

The trouncing of the world’s top Go player by Google’s AlphaGo AI has led more than a few people to speculate on how we’ll be feeling the ramifications of this victory in the near future. What this speculation mainly concerns is the question of what will happen if software continues to eat the world with such a voracious appetite that we are only beginning to truly fathom. For now, “Big Data,” the truly massive collection of data that humans collectively generate through any and all combinations of internet browsing history, biometrics, credit card payments, and more, provides the equivalent of…


Cat++ turns our feline obsession into a coding language

Cat++ is a code developed by Nora O’ Murchú, an Irish new media art curator, designer, and academic. Oh, and a cat lover, of course. Created during a residency at Access Space in the UK, Cat++ is thought of as a one-of-a-kind “cat simulator.” The coding alternates cat interactions with random and uncontrollable events that are translated through a series of 8-bit-esque animations. The code is based on real cat characteristics and assigns different dynamic visuals to user input. What’s even more wonderful is that O’ Murchú invites others to expand on the code with more cats and behaviors for new and unexpected…


New word processor lets you type letters with satellite images

Imagine painstakingly combing through the entirety of Google Maps trying to find buildings, pools, and other structures that resemble letters, then compiling those images together to make new fonts created wholly out of aerial imagery. That’s exactly what creators Benedikt Groß (a computational designer) and Joey Lee (a geographer) did while working on Aerial Bold Typewriter, a new word processor that allows users to easily type full sentences using satellite images of various man-made structures. “Satellite and aerial imagery are rich with stories,” write the duo, explaining how they came up with the idea for the Typewriter. In 2013, they released a…


The peculiar future of videogame history

The history of videogames maps directly onto the history of computation. At least, that’s how speakers cast it at GDC this year. Chelsea Howe, Chris Crawford, Dave Jones, Graeme Devine, Ken Lobb, Lori Cole, Luke Muscat, Palmer Luckey, Phil Harrison, Raph Koster, Seth Killian, and Tim Schafer (phew) each talked about one aspect of videogame history in which they were personally involved. The keynote was both an homage to GDC, the event, and to GDC’s prime mover, that repugnant, beautiful monstrosity known as ‘the videogame industry’. At the 30th iteration of an event that has become one focal point for…