Sunday, December 18, 2011

Texting Glove for the hearing impaired

What you see here in the picture is exactly what you think it is. The Texting Glove is essentially a device where you can use sign language to create a text message.

This device was introduced at Google’s Developers Day in Tel Aviv, by designers Oleg Imanilov, Zvika Markfield, and Tomer Daniel. It uses a gyroscope, an ADK Board, Lilypad Arduino, finger sensors, and an accelerometer.

There is a a video after the jump so you can see how it works. It looks like it has to be calibrated to work with individual hands.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a good idea, but then I thought: can’t the hearing impaired just send a text message with their hands? Then I had to think: I would love to use speech-to-text software.
As it is, speech to text isn’t quite as good as I want it to be. I would imagine that one day, speech to text will be just as good as real speech. Shouldn’t the hearing impaired have this same right? With the Texting Glove, that can happen.

Besides, the texting glove is good for texting and signing words, not just the tapping of letters. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hearing impaired could sign a text message faster than typing it. If so, then I see a good future for the Texting Glove.

show&Tell glove - introduction from sarohm on Vimeo.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Master of Embroidery Remembered

PARIS — The wreaths, the sprays and the clusters of creamy white flowers — even an elegant boot fashioned out of rose petals — made a fitting backdrop at l’Église Saint-Roch for the departure of François Lesage, the artist of embroidery, mourned last week in the world of Paris couture.


The names on the floral tributes from Dior’s roses to Valentino’s lilies said it all. They included flowers from the house of Yves Saint Laurent, where embroidered

jackets re-creating the sunflowers and irises of Van Gogh were an artistic expression of opulence back in 1988.

Karl Lagerfeld, whose collaborations with Mr. Lesage over nearly 30 years helped produce the fabled 1996 re-creations of the Coromandel screens in Coco Chanel’s apartment, offered a wreath of roses, in tones from chalky white to clotted cream.

“He was fun, quite a number, always joking, with a drink and a cigarette, what the French call a ‘bon vivant’ and a very gifted person,” said Mr. Lagerfeld, who displayed the skills of the house of Lesage at his Indian-themed collection in Paris last week.

At the funeral, Christian Lacroix, who was taken under the wing of Mr. Lesage at the start of his career, recalled their first tense encounter when Mr. Lacroix, who was working at the fashion house of Jean Patou, had kept the famous embroiderer waiting. But from an initial frosty encounter came a warm friendship and close collaboration.

The church in Paris overflowed with the family of fashion, from designers including Azzedine Alaïa and Christian Loubutin to the “petites mains,” the artisan handworkers. Mr. Lesage’s own family spilled over the front rows: his son Jean-François, who established an embroidery studio in India; his daughter Marion, an artist, wearing a jacket with an embroidered heart from an early Lacroix collection and his son Jean-Louis, who read the speech prepared by his father last month when he was awarded France’s highest cultural honor: Maître d’Art.

In those words, Mr. Lesage, 82, talked about his “humble” métier and thanked the house of Chanel, which bought his business in 2002, securing its future. Chanel has done the same for other crafts, like the feather maker André Lemarié.

Mr. Lesage’s grandchildren also spoke, describing vacations in Corsica, where their nocturnal grandfather would play with their computer games half the night and then sweep them off on a boat in the morning.

Why was the death of this fashion figure, at a ripe old age, considered such a landmark moment in the couture world? Mr. Lesage, who took over the business from his father Albert in 1949, was one of the last links in a chain that stretches back to the golden era of haute couture. As a young man he was entranced by the silver screen and set up a business in America to support Hollywood costumers.

But he had known the playful designer Elsa Schiaparelli and had worked with Cristobal Balenciaga, whose studio was always a tomb of silence. His fruitful collaboration with Saint Laurent yielded dresses incorporating the birds of the artist Georges Braque and other art embroideries.

Mr. Lesage had moist eyes when he saw them paraded in what was one of the biggest fashion retrospectives ever presented — on a football pitch during the World Cup in France in 1998.

Mr. Lesage deeply appreciated the poetic essence of his work, saying “embroidery was the love of writing your dreams with a needle, with a pearl with anything that could enchant and bring tenderly to life a décor, an ambiance, a souvenir.”

Those words were at the heart of Mr. Lesage’s work. But the secret of his creative longevity was to embrace the new, as well as establishing profound relationships with designers, working in their individual cultures.

He had memories of watching Yves Saint Laurent going through Schiaparelli 1930s surrealist embroideries in the studio stock of 65,000 samples. And of remaking the original YSL Van Gogh jacket for a client to wear at a celebration of Mr. Lesage’s 50 years in fashion, which was filled with leggy Bluebell dancers, acrobats and jugglers.

Mr. Lesage found another soul mate in Jean Paul Gaultier, who pushed the boundaries of skill and taste to make a tribal reincarnation of a leopard skin couture outfit requiring 700 hours of work.

With haute couture a shrinking industry, is there still a demand for the extraordinary and the exceptional?

Mr. Lesage seemed to think so when in 1992 he set up his embroidery school on his premises in the Parisian district of Montmartre.

At the workshops of Ecole Lesage, the tulle is still stretched over wooden frames and jars are filled with glass beads, sequins, paillettes and pearls.

By serendipity, this technological age is learning to cherish once again handwork and artisanal skills that the haute embroiderer represented.

Mr. Lesage’s ebullient enthusiasm and prolific energy stayed with him to the end.

Or maybe a little longer. In the words of the priest, Father Christian Lancray-Javal, who helped to lay on the coffin a black lace shroud, hand-embroidered with moonlight dapples of silver, the indefatigable François Lesage might be up there now “embroidering the wings of angels.”

from NYT

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More than just digital quilting

Technology and society: The “maker” movement could change how science is taught and boost innovation. It may even herald a new industrial revolution.

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Chinese hackerspaces, or, what happens when a government is run by engineers

Nov. 24, 2011

Shanghai Government Technology committee has issued a call for a proposal to build 100 community hackerspaces with government funding for equipment. The communities in resident area are going to manage the spaces and pay for the materials. Each space is required to be at least 100 square meters, more than 200 days/year open, equipped with wood lathes, metal lathes, saws and drill grinding combined machine, milling machine and other tools.

Hackerspaces or creative spaces have been growing rapidly in China. The first one, XinCheJian, was started in Shanghai last November, by David Li and partner/project generator Ricky Ng-Adam.

Xinchejian is a non-profit hackerspace who aims to support, create and promote physical computing and open source hardware. People can exchange their ideas and expertise, get support from work on group and individual projects, and basically, as Ng-adam says, “having fun with technology.”

In 2010 Li formalized Shanghai Hackerspace's connection to the global network of hackerspace. Together with Ng-Adam they draw together hobbyists, electronic freaks, DIY lovers and makers in one place and share fascination for technology. One key player in Xinchejian is Min Lin Hsieh. She is Community organizer, taking care of finance, communication and marketing, as well as helping engineering projects and clubs. The three form a strong team by working together. Today Xinchejian has 100m2 studio full with computer spare parts, micro chips and DIY tools.

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