A View of Machu Picchu

Chris Skaggs —  July 22, 2016 — No Comments

There are the projects you’re paid for, the projects you’re proud of, and every once in a while the projects where you’re both.
Not long ago we had the immense pleasure of working with Cal State Hayward and Yale University on the visitor center kiosk experience installed on site at, one of the most visible and visited of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We couldn’t be more proud.
machu-picchu-43387_640For visitors to the site, buses get you most of the way. The last bit is pretty steep and not for the faint of heart. A nearby visitor center has a museum that includes a virtual tour of the site including videos, an immense amount of breathtaking photography, stories and animations and all manner of fun and interactive ways to get as close to ‘being there’ as possible. We built that.
For those interested in the tech we converted a ton Continue Reading…

Intal Softkinetic Creative CameraWe’ve written a few times about Intel’s Perceptual Computing initiative – a technology that we’ve been tinkering with and are really excited about. At IDF this year we saw even more, heard about some really cool upcoming features that we can’t talk about, and as a generalization the news just gets more and more interesting. I’m genuinely excited for the possibilities this technology offers. I think Lee Bamber was able to sum it up perfectly by saying that all previous input technologies have forced us to learn whatever “language” the computer was able to understand – be that keystrokes, mouse movements, or touch gestures. But PerC is the first look at where a computer will be learning how we like to communicate – with our eyes, our words, our body language. And that possibility is fascinating to me.
But today I wanted to share Continue Reading…

The bell has rung (follow the contest updates on Intel ,  Facebook,  and  twitter with hashtag #UltimateCoder  (We are also posting pics on Intagram with that hashtag too). Code-Monkeys is ready to let loose its collective intellect to throw down the competition. We just narrowly missed the crown last round, grabbing second place with Wind Up Football. The sting still lingers, yet the drive has been renewed. Code-Monkeys will be coming to the Perceptual Computing Challenge with guns blazing. For our project we will be taking our soon-to-be-launched game Stargate Gunship and making it a fully immersive perceptual game. We’re adding hand controls for firing, voice commands to switch weapons and gaze capture for targeting.
Will it be hard? Sure! But this time we are not letting anything stop us from victory.
Our small but capable team is made up of John McGlothlan, the lead ninja … Programmer. He will be Continue Reading…

Belkin ThunderstormYesterday we learned that MacWorld awarded a Best of Show award to the Belkin Thunderstorm – a peripheral that adds BA speakers to your iPad 2 or 3.
Why do I care?
Because we built the app.
Of course the award actually went to a really great piece of hardware and not specifically to the app that allows users to configure and use the speakers but the app provides a major part of the overall user experience – so we thought a little horn tooting was in order.
As a work-for-hire software development shop, building software for clients who then brand the product with their own logos and IDs means that it’s normal for us to work in obscurity. That can make marketing our services a little tougher but it also means we get opportunities to work alongside a wide variety of world-class teams as well as plucky start-ups. Continue Reading…

In the coming weeks we will be diving into a ton of new code as contestants in Intel’s second Ultimate Coder Challenge.  Last fall we came in at second place in the first challenge with our game Wind Up Football.  This time the challenge is all about perceptual computing. And we have big plans. Back at IDF 2012 (The Intel Developer Forum) all the Intel Black Belt Developers were invited to a closed door briefing to show us all Intel was doing in perceptual and fully interactive computing. It was really stunning. We have all seen X-Box Kinect with its broad gestures and body motion maneuvering of games. Well this new technology is what I like to call granular. You can control things at the smallest level of a fingertip. Fully functioning gestures that use all your fingers and joints as well as facial recognition and expression tracking. And that is just the beginning. Continue Reading…

Sony Vaoi Tap 20Sony Vaoi Tap 20 – A whole new coolness.

With Windows 8 Microsoft finally accepted the need to add touch to their desktop. While this is a small congratulations for coming into the 21st century, it actually is more impressive then that. Microsoft’s xBox division has been pushing forward innovation very well, but Windows as a division has always been a wait-and-see innovator.  Windows 7 was a good example of that.  Windows 7 added “base” touch functionality to show everyone they were now longer in the dark ages, yet the implementation was flawed. It never felt natural. Because of this Windows 7 was never felt to be “Touch Implemented”, more “Touch Added”.
This has dramatically changed with Windows 8. Windows 8 redefined how a Windows desktop machine is used. The new interface not only brings Touch Continue Reading…

My Name is PeggyI am in the middle of what is probably the worst customer service I’ve ever had.
I bought a piece of software about four months ago that activates on a month-to-month subscription. The problem is – mine won’t activate. Instead it tells me my 30 day trial is over and kicks me out.
In an effort to fix the problem, and use the software I’m paying for every month (did I mention that I’m still paying for it?)  I’ve been on the phone or on-line chat with 8 different tech support people, spending over 40 work hours – and all for nothing. In fact, at this point not only is that one piece of software broken, but the tech support efforts have managed to disable all of my software from that same company. Cool huh?
Here’s the critical problem:
This is no longer a tech-support issue, it Continue Reading…

Educause 2012

John Bergquist —  November 16, 2012 — No Comments

Last week, Erin Morris and I (Chris) were honored to have a chance to speak at the Educause conference in Denver. The conference is basically all about the confluence of higher education and technology. It’s a very well educated, high powered, and goal oriented group…not at all likes gamers generally speaking.
Our session was called “Crossing the Chasm between Educators and Game Developers for Improving Game-Based Learning”

hangmouseWhy do educational games typically fail? Because essential fun gets sacrificed to an inappropriate educational goal.

and our thesis was to say something like this: Edutainment is a drag for everybody. Please, for the love of all that’s good in the world, don’t do any more of that. Instead, understand that a game without a lesson is still a game, but a game without fun is only an expensive torture device.
Ergo: Put Fun Continue Reading…

Nearly two years ago I first sat down to define an emerging trend I was beginning to see. This is something I termed the Unbundling of Knowledge. The iPad was but a few months old when I penned my original piece, and the very first iPad pilots (our own included) were just beginning to be developed.
I talked about a trend I saw coming that had the potential for far reaching influence. A fundamental shift was happening and that “the concept of knowledge, the creation of content, the acquisition of knowledge and in some ways the very definition of knowledge are all undergoing a tremendous revolution.” So did that revolution materialize? Are we in a new world? Without a doubt I resoundingly say yes! I think many teachers, parents, administrators and content consumers would agree.
We have seen the iPad bring a new tablet niche into prominence, and into homes and schools Continue Reading…

Two years ago I began to consider the transformations happening in knowledge. Over the next few weeks I want to bring some of those old posts back, and consider how these transformations are happening and what might be on the horizon. This week: The Unbundling of Knowledge, originally published in June, 2010….
Right now there is lots of buzz out there about education and knowledge changing. From the iPad, to digital textbooks, to open source LMS’, to the “Open Letter to Educators” the conversation is happening. People are coming to a consensus that there is change going on and we are in the midst of a techno-knowledge revolution! Defining the extent of this revolution may be too nebulous to nail down, but we can begin to identify and talk about some of the aspects of the revolution.
On my wall, behind my computer screen is a sticky note: this ante-digital method of Continue Reading…