Find out what secrets the Victorians buried for us to find…
“A long time ago we saw the internet coming along and had no idea what it was about and we started doing work for other people” Daniel founder of figleaves told me this week. We had organised a figleaves reunion party to celebrate the Fifty year end. We also wanted to celebrate the internet company where in 2008 I met Anne Currie, Catherine Hall and Ross Fairbanks and many others who have worked together in various ventures since.
Daniel started an e-commerce platforming company and acquired the figleaves brand to show case the platform. As early pioneers of e-commerce every aspect of the business was new and exciting paving the way for what is now the largest area of growth on the internet.
“I knew about kickers and bra’s” Daniel told me. I think he did.
In a digital age where connection possibilities are endless it can be hard to actually ‘feel’ connected. So it was a surprise, that the purchase of my first digital SLR made me feel very much part of the world again. Having a camera in my hand at all times I was now part of the story. Part of the event.
The National Governing Body for Mountainboarding in the UK just held round 2 of it’s four part International Series. And awesome it was too.
By the time we arrived mid morning on 18th of June, The Edge entrance resembled a mini festival with most of the 80 participants having arrived the night before to camp onsite. Our friends from Haredown were in place and pointed us around camp.
The multi purpose site of The Edge is not deeply picturesque but is highly functional. Ideal for both border x and freestyle competition. It was designed by MBS Europe’s Ajay Watkins and is not stranger to hosting an event like this.
As The Edge is situated just outside Much Wenlock in Shropshire and due to my work with London 2012 Wenlock’s this became my must attend event of the summer. That’s right forget Ascot, Wimbledon or Glastonbury. Mountain Boarding International Series Round 2 is were it was at, this June.
The slalom run at The Edge is particularly steep. Walking down takes some effort. Out of the gate and there is a steep left bank, two massive rollers followed by a sharp right turn, steep descent down and a left turn into rollers so large that they would be more ideal for freestyling.
There are Juniors, Seniors, Masters and Pro categories as well as a ladies only category. 5 women entered the borderX ladies category and two heats were held. The first heat run was a messy affair with many of the riders falling at the first set of rollers. The first rider to pick herself up and get back on track had an advantage but eventually everyone finished. Heat 2 for the ladies was a less stop start affair. The final for the ladies reverted with the ladies taking each other out in dramatic form. Emmeline Thrower took full advantage after her own wobble and raced to the finish for much deserved and enjoyed win.
The boys competition also had plenty of stacks and falls. Thankfully Paramedics and dedicated first aiders stepped in to sort out a slew of reporting injuries which included busted hip, broken arm, dislocated knee, split eye and concussion.
Scary, but don’t let that put you off. After all we are only half way through the season.
I am just collecting the various comments (I like) on the Free Pixel film in one place;
rob_white “I’m prepared to be convinced, I just can’t envisage “free pixels”, they will always be bound even if the boundary is flexible”
Roghaydonmitch “Those of us with gifts and power to link imagination and technology could devote ourselves to making it freely available”
Net (on facebook) “My favourite bit.. “like so much silver dust”. Pause … Cheeky grin. Great!”
C Gyford (on facebook) “Free the pixels imprisoned in yet another horrendous miscarriage of justice!”
R Marr (on facebook) “Nice 🙂 As Frank Herbert shows in his Dune books, when the form of technology surpasses its functional requirements strange things will happen!”
J-J Guest “Amazing – love the music and well done for getting that 281 frame effects shot done on time!”
D McAdam “I really loved the poetic quality you guys put into the script and the effects were very sweet, bringing the “freedom” to life.”
I got the following my inbox today
“congratulations on the film [Free Pixels]. i like the concept but it maybe feels a little corporate. maybe it’s the office setting, the even light & the music. the stop frame is excellent and very cute. i also imagine how difficult it must be do to the inserts and media stretching!”
He was right. Although the film was shot for less than 100 uk pounds in my front living room we wanted the movie to feel corporate. Why ? Because we felt this was where (if anywhere) Brit’s should and will, be inventing stretchy phone and nano robots that form pixels and any other crazy future technology we can imagine. William Stopha had originally set the film in a technical lab but we didn’t think that would convey possibility of this object transferring to a real market. Hence we set it in a corporate work station.
We did a lot of back research on recent concept phone film.
Former Digital Deli business partner Richard Ayres pointed me at a design agency who had created the Mag Plus device concept film. He explained that the concept had gone viral and the chaps in the film were invited to San Francisco to discuss how iPad should work about 3 months before the iPad was released. For me the mix of real and concept worked well as film technique.
We looked at a couple of fully CGI films. The first a stretchy nano device who’s concept video was created jointly by Nokia and University of Cambridge. The other being Mozilla Labs (which came out half way through filming). We dismissed this as a film technique for us. By being fully animated the whole thing felt to futuristic and thus false. Like the adverts for Milton Keynes kids don’t run around with red balloons, sadly. We didn’t even think about how we could achieve those effects in Final Cut or iMovie.
In writing this I feel happy that the film Free Pixels struck the right balance between animation vs live action and corporate vs imaginary.
I have spent the summer looking at how we could create a mobile phone of my dreams (and hopefully yours). The results of which feature in a small concept film called Free Pixel.
I however am looking for form factor that is extensible, a single device that has a display that is the size I require to do the job in hand.
This Samsung phone is a great starting point. I love how is looks like an old ‘skool’ (by which I mean 2003) phone and folds open into a square screen.
For a number of years my friends and some clients have been waiting for a paper like digital screen to replace their newspaper and books. These screens are robust and have great display for example sony have a form factor that they are showing off currently.
Our research also led us to Displax product Skin. It is completely transparent and works on surfaces that are also transparent such as glass. This hardware operates via a grid of nanowires embedded Skin’s polymer film. Each time a user makes contact with the surface “a small electrical disturbance is detected allowing the micro-processor controller to pinpoint the movement”. Probably not likely to make a great mobile phone in the near future. Unless we carry glass screen around with us at all time. mmm maybe.
For a different take on mobile phones what about one that projects tactile images onto the surface of the phone. The New Scientist described one in Sep this year.
So then we turned our attention to projection technology. Firstly I was inspired by this Ted Talk which shows how a mobile phone and projector can be combined to make an extensible device.
And also from MIT is this device which hasn’t had nearly enough online buzz about it;
These project concepts were extended by Mozilla Labs in their concept phone video.
So where is this all leading ? Well I want a mobile phone that really works and made my own concept film called Free Pixel.
A short film directed by JJ Guest and produced by me.