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Jane McGonigal: a game that gives you 10 extra years of life


Reblogged from TED:

Jane McGonigal asks in her recent TED talk in Scotland: Why doesn't the real world work more like an online game? In the best-designed games, our human experience is optimized: We have important work to do, we're surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment.

In her work as a game designer and director of game R&D at the Institute for the Future, she creates games that use mobile and digital technologies to turn everyday spaces into playing fields, and everyday people into teammates. Her game-world insights can explain--and improve--the way we learn, work, solve problems, and lead our real lives.

Several years ago she suffered a serious concussion, and she created a multiplayer game to get through it, opening it up to anyone to play. In “Superbetter,” players set a goal (health or wellness) and invite others to play with them--and to keep them on track. While most games, and most videogames, have traditionally been about winning, we are now seeing increasing collaboration and games played together to solve problems.

What a city sounds like if you can’t hear it: Christine Sun Kim’s sonic experiments


Performance artist Christine Sun Kim admits she enjoys the sounds of her own muffled scream, planes taking off, and anything rhythmic at 180 bpm. Deaf from birth, she first turned to sound as a medium during a residency in Berlin in 2008 and since then, has developed a practice of lo-fi experimentation that aims to re-appropriate sound by translating it into movement and vision, according to Nowness

There are social norms surrounding sound and language acquisition--she points out they're so deeply ingrained that, in a sense, our identities cannot be complete without them. Growing up, she considered sound to be the possession of others (not to mention her own parents were learning English and sign language). Through her current work, she is able to reclaim that elusive space.

Collecting and playing with field recordings of her Chinatown neighborhood in New York, she creates “seismic calligraphy” drawings from “ink- and powder-drenched quills, nails, and cogs dancing across paper to vibrations of subwoofers beneath.” Sometimes she adds delay pedals, transducers, performers, and videos to the mix. 

Director Todd Selby captures one of her original performances in the short film, above, and designer Arrow Kleeman composes the ambient score to pair with Kim's feedback, one of her favorite sensations. When asked what sound is to her in a Facebook interview, Kim responds: “Ghost and currency,” and what her art achieves: “My voice.”

“TEDx in a Box” redesign by IDEO fellows makes remote broadcasting easier


I first met architect Marika Shioiri-Clark at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI_Arc). Pure form was core to the school's philosophy, but she always seemed as interested, if not more so, in public relevance and impactto create purposefully beyond program.

It's not so surprising then that, while studying at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Shioiri-Clark co-founded MASS Design Group, dedicated to reducing poverty through empathic architecture and improving the quality of life for underserved communities. She also joined IDEO as a global resident, and with two other fellows, Emily Friedberg and Robin Bigio, designed TEDx in a Box 2.0. The toolkit holds all the gear needed to host a TEDx event in the developing world—projector, speakers, and more, all packed in a shippable container.

The TEDx in a Box program first launched last year with 10 boxes, powering events in India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Brazil, and Ecuador. Among them were TEDxGawair, in the Gawair slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, organized by Masarat Daod, and TEDxKliptown in South Africa, in a community that does not have formal housing, running water, or electricity. For phase two, TEDx teamed up with to rethink the project based on key things TEDx event organizers wanted: more help explaining TEDx to their community, catering to bigger audiences, and creating their own content; the box technology also had to be simplified and more transportable.

The result: A multi-use organizational system with color-coded, icon-specific graphics that make it easy to set up a TEDx event anywhere. It includes a projector, a PA system, a DVD player, a battery and inverter, two camcorders and a tripod, a power strip, and an SD card. The Quickstart Guide helps the event organizer charge the system, set it up to watch a TEDTalk, and host live speakers, with or without slides.

The next step? Build a few boxes, and send them out to TEDx communities around the globe.

Visit the TEDx blog for photos of the brainstorm and buildout and the Blog for running notes from the brilliant fellows.