Tag Archives: Dr John Shearer

Digital installation at Budapest arts event

An interactive installation using technology created by a computer scientist from the University of Lincoln, is part of a special art event in Budapest.

Eye Resonator is an immersive piece of art that reacts to an individual’s gaze by changing visuals, temperature, sound and lighting accordingly creating an interactive ecosystem that is boring for some and thrilling for others.

Created by Dr John Shearer from the School of Computer Science and digital artists at Ravensbourne in London, Eye Resonator utilises eye-tracking technology combined with real-time visualisation. It will be showcased at the Kelenföld Power Plant as part of OFF-Biennale Budapest.

To begin with, a large copper dome is placed over the person’s head, which calibrates the system for an individual’s eyes. They are then presented with a series of swarming images on the screen in front of them, which they control simply by their eye movement.
The copperplate work of the ‘cupola’ or dome, which is the centrepiece of the artwork, contains within it complex technology which has taken years to perfect.

By detecting subtle behavioural changes, Eye Resonator stimulates a process of self-observation by guiding the visitor through a sequence of experiences and feedback loops.
 Each encounter with the system is unique as it reacts to the voluntary and involuntary responses of the individual.

Kelenföld Power Plant’s Control Room – a masterpiece by the Hungarian architect Virgil Borbíró – is the setting for the domed ‘Cupola’ of the Eye Resonator.

Eye Resonator at the Power Plant is curated by Miklós Peternák supported by C3, Center for Culture & Communication Foundation, Kelenföld Power Plant Station and the Hungarian Museum of Architecture.

The exhibition runs from 1st to 3rd May, 2015.

Eye Resonator
Eye Resonator

Outside the box: how to think like games designers

Members of the University of Lincoln’s Performance and Games Network project participated in one of the world’s largest writers’ festivals to help novelists think about how they might be able to create interactive gaming experiences.

Dr Conor Linehan and Dr John Shearer, from the School of Computer Science, were invited to lead a session at the Brisbane Writers Festival, held in September 2014. The event attracts hundreds of writers from all over the world.

Dr Linehan and Dr Shearer together with Dr Kate Sicchio and Richard Wetzel ran a workshop on how to use game design as a way of creating interesting interactive experiences in the real world.

The session focussed on balancing interaction with story, understanding the needs and participation of the audience/user/gamer, and the opportunities to partner with technologists, particularly writers who want to explore the possibilities of games for their creative practice.

Dr Shearer said: “There are lots of different audiences for computer games. We are interested in mixed reality, so what’s happening in both the virtual and real world – where the audience is part of the story. Our purpose at the festival was to talk to novelists about creating new interactive experiences – whether we call them games or not is another matter.”

Writers who joined the team for public talks and panels included Greg Broadmore, an illustrator, writer and conceptual designer for Weta Workshop who has designed for the likes of District 9 and King Kong; and Jeffrey Yohalem, lead writer on Assasin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Far Cry 3.

The visit to Australia was part of the Performance and Games Network project, which is led by the University of Lincoln, and aims to bring together games developers, performance practitioners and academics to explore new concepts in the design and creation of movement-based games.

The project is being sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as part of a wider initiative to develop the creative industries and put Britain back at the forefront of creative technology. It is also supported by Arts Queensland. For more information on the project go to http://performance-games.lincoln.ac.uk/

Dr Linehan, who also presented a keynote address at the festival, said: “This project is about bringing the disciplines together. We are involved in those cutting-edge conversations about the future of videogames. The project is about exploring how we can make more meaningful and interesting games with more complex narratives.”

Over a series of workshops, performance practitioners and academics will participate directly in the game creation process through a series of workshop activities. This will drive development of new performance-led game mechanics, and playful audience interactions, which will inspire new types of experience in contemporary gaming platforms.

The Brisbane Writers Festival was the second of three inter-disciplinary workshops, with the third taking place on 27th and 28th October at the Mixed Reality Lab in Nottingham.

The Network is now exploring potential collaboration with Film School at Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology, both in Brisbane.

Digital art explores what makes us human

Computer scientists and digital artists have combined their skills to create an interactive piece of art that reacts to users’ personalities.

Dr John Shearer, from the School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, UK, and digital artists at Newcastle University are using technology to help focus the mind and make sense of the chaos around us.

Although an impressive artwork in its own right, the Eye Resonator also gives away subtle clues about our personalities without us even noticing.

Created by Dr Shearer and Dr Brigitta Zics, this interactive ecosystem is boring for some and thrilling for others, reacting to an individual’s gaze by changing visuals, temperature, sound and lighting accordingly.

To begin with, a large copper dome is placed over the person’s head, which calibrates the system for an individual’s eyes. They are then presented with a series of swarming images on the screen in front of them, which they control simply by their eye movement.

The copperplate work of the ‘cupola’ or dome, which is the centrepiece of the artwork, contains within it complex technology which has taken years to perfect.

By detecting subtle behavioural changes, Eye Resonator stimulates a process of self-observation by guiding the visitor through a sequence of experiences and feedback loops.

During the experience, which lasts from about two to ten minutes, pupil dilation and behavioural shifts are tracked as people try to control increasingly complex swarms on the screen in front of them – from a flock of birds through to insects or fish and onto plankton.

They can pass onto the next level once they have managed to control that particular swarm until they reach an optimum state where they are completely immersed in the visuals in front of them.

Dr Shearer, whose work focusses on understanding how people interact with computer technology, said: “I approach human-computer interaction from a slightly different perspective – that of how people interact with the finished product, not how it is created. For me, the Eye Resonator is very much about the meditative experience and the technology is simply a tool for creating this.

“This piece uses an eye-tracker, which as well as giving the location of where you are looking and the speed at which your eyes move, also picks up pupil dilation. It can assess how excited someone is which is one of a variety of measures that dictates their experience.”

Dr Zics added: “We’re inviting people to step back and reflect in a way that we rarely do – much the same way as meditation does. It’s a chance to step out of life for a few minutes and just be with yourself. Technology is always moving towards a better user experience, so why not art galleries too? Art needs to be more responsive to people who are engaging with it and this work is really pushing that, looking to understand better what makes us human.”

People can experience Eye Resonator for themselves at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab between 3-5 June 2014. For more information visit the Eye Resonator website.

Computer scientists and digital artists have combined their skills to create an interactive piece of art that reacts to users’ personalities.

Dr John Shearer, from the School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, UK, and digital artists at Newcastle University are using technology to help focus the mind and make sense of the chaos around us.

Although an impressive artwork in its own right, the Eye Resonator also gives away subtle clues about our personalities without us even noticing.

Created by Dr Shearer and Dr Brigitta Zics, this interactive ecosystem is boring for some and thrilling for others, reacting to an individual’s gaze by changing visuals, temperature, sound and lighting accordingly.

To begin with, a large copper dome is placed over the person’s head, which calibrates the system for an individual’s eyes. They are then presented with a series of swarming images on the screen in front of them, which they control simply by their eye movement.

The copperplate work of the ‘cupola’ or dome, which is the centrepiece of the artwork, contains within it complex technology which has taken years to perfect.

By detecting subtle behavioural changes, Eye Resonator stimulates a process of self-observation by guiding the visitor through a sequence of experiences and feedback loops.

During the experience, which lasts from about two to ten minutes, pupil dilation and behavioural shifts are tracked as people try to control increasingly complex swarms on the screen in front of them – from a flock of birds through to insects or fish and onto plankton.

They can pass onto the next level once they have managed to control that particular swarm until they reach an optimum state where they are completely immersed in the visuals in front of them.

Dr Shearer, whose work focusses on understanding how people interact with computer technology, said: “I approach human-computer interaction from a slightly different perspective – that of how people interact with the finished product, not how it is created. For me, the Eye Resonator is very much about the meditative experience and the technology is simply a tool for creating this.

“This piece uses an eye-tracker, which as well as giving the location of where you are looking and the speed at which your eyes move, also picks up pupil dilation. It can assess how excited someone is which is one of a variety of measures that dictates their experience.”

Dr Zics added: “We’re inviting people to step back and reflect in a way that we rarely do – much the same way as meditation does. It’s a chance to step out of life for a few minutes and just be with yourself. Technology is always moving towards a better user experience, so why not art galleries too? Art needs to be more responsive to people who are engaging with it and this work is really pushing that, looking to understand better what makes us human.”

People can experience Eye Resonator for themselves at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab between 3-5 June 2014. For more information visit the Eye Resonator website.

Dr John Shearer
Dr John Shearer

First workshop for Performance and Games Network

The first of three workshops for a new research project looking at creating new videogames will take place this week.

Led by the Games Research Group at the University of Lincoln, the Performance and Games Network involves several researchers from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, including Dr Patrick Dickinson, Dr Duncan Rowland, Dr Conor Linehan, Dr Ben Kirman, Dr John Shearer and Kathrin Gerling, working with Dr Kate Sicchio from the School of Performing Arts and Dr Grethe Mitchell from the School of Media.

The first session, which will bring together games developers, performance practitioners and academics, will be hosted by the University on 25th and 26th March.

Themed around movement and gesture based input devices, the core of the activity will be centred around a “hack” style event in which participants will work in small groups on design and/or prototyping exercises around a number of sub-themes and software.

Some of the sub-themes include mobility impaired performance; physical games in playgrounds; and audience and movement games.

Experts in the field will also be giving special talks. Guests include Ida Toft and Sabine Harrer from Copenhagen Game Collective at IT University, Copenhagen; Nick Burton from Rare Ltd; David Renton from Microsoft; and Matt Watkins from Mudlark.

The research group is also collaborating with Performance and New Media Professor Gabriella Giannachi, from the University of Exeter, and Arts Queensland, based in Brisbane.

The project is being sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of a wider initiative to develop the creative industries and put Britain back at the forefront of creative technology.

There will be two more inter-disciplinary workshops in Nottingham, UK, and Brisbane, Australia, where researchers working in games studies, human computer interaction and technical aspects of game development will continue to work with developers and performance researchers/practitioners to prototype new collaborative game ideas.

Performer on keyboard