Posts Tagged ‘mit’

MIT’s Firefly Robots Create Floating 3D Display From Colored Micro Helicopters

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

mit-firefly-floating-display[Editor’s note: Exploring around the West growing up we happened upon the light show at Grand Coulle Dam in Washington state. This project reminds me of that 1970s era technology but on a do-it-yourself scale, fun! Seen at Where 2.0 / Where Camp 2010. Thanks for reminder from @fekaylius and @DiAnnEisnor.]

Flyfire, a project initiated by the SENSEable City Laboratory in collaboration with ARES Lab (Aerospace Robotics and Embedded Systems Laboratory) aims to transform any ordinary space into a highly immersive and interactive display environment.

In its first implementation, the Flyfire project sets out to explore the capabilities of this display system by using a large number of self-organizing micro helicopters. Each helicopter contains small LEDs and acts as a smart pixel. Through precisely controlled movements, the helicopters perform elaborate and synchronized motions and form an elastic display surface for any desired scenario.

With the self-stabilizing and precise controlling technology from the ARES Lab, the motion of the pixels is adaptable in real time. The Flyfire canvas can transform itself from one shape to another or morph a two-dimensional photographic image into an articulated shape. The pixels are physically engaged in transitioning images from one state to another, which allows the Flyfire canvas to demonstrate a spatially animated viewing experience.

Flyfire serves as an initial step to explore and imagine the possibilities of this free-form display: a swarm of pixels in a space.

Continue reading at MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab . . .

The Crowd Within (Economist)

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

A battle of ideas is going on inside your mind.

crowd wisdom cover

Reprinted from the Jun 26th 2008 edition of the Economist.

THAT problem solving becomes easier when more minds are put to the task is no more than common sense. But the phenomenon goes further than that. Ask two people to answer a question like “how many windows are there on a London double-decker bus” and average their answers. Their combined guesses will usually be more accurate than if just one person had been asked. Ask a crowd, rather than a pair, and the average is often very close to the truth. The phenomenon was called “the wisdom of crowds” by James Surowiecki, a columnist for the New Yorker who wrote a book about it. Now a pair of psychologists have found an intriguing corollary. They have discovered that two guesses made by the same person at different times are also better than one.

That is strange. Until now, psychologists have assumed that when people make a guess, they make the most accurate guess that they can. Ask them to make a second and it should, by definition, be less accurate. If that were true, averaging the first and second guesses should decrease the accuracy. Yet Edward Vul at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harold Pashler at the University of California, San Diego, have revealed in a study just published in Psychological Science that the average of first and second guesses is indeed better than either guess on its own.

Continue reading at the Economist . . .

Related content: The wisdom of crowds at the Economist.

Related content: Measuring the Crowd Within: Probabilistic Representations Within Individuals (pdf scientific article)