July 03, 2008

What is WMG? a short video

Writing about web page animoto

Who knows the answer?


March 19, 2008

More on Wii

I have talked about the Nintendo Wii a few times in this blog. I did not realsie or even think about some aspects of its unrealised potential until I found the following videos on youtube. Jonny Lee at Carnegie Mellon University seems to be an extremely smart cookie, his use of the Wii controller and sensor bar for various tracking applications is brilliant in my humble opinion. The Wii controller contains a infra red camera wich can track four points, (and a bluetooth signal output) A bluetooth equipped PC can then capture the tracking and do cleaver things with it as Jonny’s videos demonstrate. Check them out the head tracking for VR displays.

Also extremely clever is the finger tracking video.

Can you think of any other applications?, what about tracking for the Robot Football?


March 11, 2008

Wii Fun

I should be writing more! but I am spending my time watching great adverts such as :

Which have you chosen?


February 29, 2008

Nintendo Wii Balance Board gets you stepping in upcoming Wii Fit title

Follow-up to Obesity, Games and self service architecture from This Life - academic?

Following on from Heather’s comment about the Wii balance board, I have been thinking about additional sensors that could be added, but my thoughts were more along the line of ankle sox with motion sensors so footwork could be added, probably a belt for waist movements and maybe elbow sox for better arm manipulation detection. ( when playing tennis, my son defeats me by doing little flick shots that would not work in real tennis). There has been lots of work in this area though as a simple search will show, see
http://www.hitech-projects.com/euprojects/myheart/public/public_results_documents/
for example.

Nokia has built and tested a fitness game for children using mobile phones but it appears to be poorly reported. Involves group tasks using location detection and group pressure to get “lazy” members to complete the tasks and score group as well as individual points.
(I will add a link)

A local mobile Phone based company Socoto Studios have built a running/jogging game with similar themes, that helps you join up with other runners ( I believe!).


February 01, 2008

Obesity, Games and self service architecture

The issue of Obese children has been in the news again and the Goverment is determined to do something about it!  Mayo Clinic obesity researcher Lorraine Lanningham-Foster wanted to find out exactly how much energy some games on the market require from children.

"In this day and time, children really love to play video games," Lanningham-Foster told GameSpot. "And even though we might want children to be outside and engaged in more traditional children's play, I don't think that children are going to abandon video games anytime soon...It's important to look at it this way because video gaming may potentially be a better way for obesity researchers to develop better interventions for children."

The research involved a group of 25 children, 10 of which are described as "mildly obese". The children were tested in 5 separate states of activity...

1.      Sitting watching television

2.      Sitting and playing a traditional game (Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure)

3.      Playing activity demanding game (Nicktoons Movin (PS2)

4.      Playing activity demanding game ( Dance Revolution Ultramix 2 (Xbox)

5.      Walking on threadmill at 1.5mph while watching television

The study concluded that the children burned the same amount of calories while sitting watching TV and when playing a traditional game. However, playing the Jellyfish Jam game on Nicktoons Movin' tripled the calories burned, with the obese children burning 5 times as many calories as they would sitting watching TV.

The most energy intensive of all the activities was playing Dance Dance Revolution, with the obese children burning 6 times as many calories than when sitting still. "Activity-promoting video games have the potential to increase energy expenditure in children to a degree similar to that of traditional playtime," the researchers concluded. "We think that converting seat-based screen time to activity-associated screen time is an essential approach for promoting an active environment that is also fun for children."

Since the study was completed months before Nintendo's Wii console was released, the researchers didn't get a chance to test the effects of its activity-oriented nature. "I haven't had a chance to do some studies with it, but it's something I'd love to have the opportunity to do," Lanningham-Foster said. "The technology there is actually quite similar to some of the technology we use to monitor physical activity in children."

Howvere there has been some none fully scientific study (but pretty good in my opinion). Philadelphia resident Mickey DeLorenzo decided to see if there is anything to the belief that Nintendo's Wii console can help you to lose weight while also being fun to use. He came up with an idea for an experiment while playing the Wii Sports boxing game with his partner. "On the fly, as I was typing my blog posts, I set up a daily regimen and went at it 100 percent," said DeLorenzo

He used the Wii console for 6 weeks, at 30 minutes per day, while not altering his diet in any way or stopping himself from indulging over the holidays. When all was done, he had lost nine pounds. He chronicled his progress on his blog at WiiNintendo.net, which includes before and after pictures.

"Seeing the 'before' and 'after' pictures, I am going to keep doing it. I am going to add some weights to the next round because I don't want to shrink to nothing," said DeLorenzo. He has never dieted or exercised for weightless in his life before this. A fitness Web site already has asked him to help it create "Wii workouts" and he already owns the Internet address WiiWorkout.net, which just links to his blog for now.  (from CNN)

One has to wonder that if Nintendo's DS console armed with Brain Training exercises can have such a good effect (a fact that yours truly can vouch for), will Nintendo call up the experts and try to put together a title that aims at giving the gamer a good workout?


So whats the conclusion? It seems to be that the right kind of computer games can help fight obesity. If we accept that the addictive nature of computer games and the difficulty that children have with going out with friends to play means that children will play computer games, we can help with providing some games of the right type.

So if we were designing a game for children 5 to 15 years old to play what would it be, and on what platform?

Well the choice of platform ranges from Interactive DVD to PC's, PS2/3, X BOX, WII as well as the handhelds of which Sony PSP and Nintendo DS seem the most popular. There are also a whole batch of single game custom toys out there that come with a Camera/Processor unit, a  reflective controller ( I have the Star Wars (has a light sabre) and the Lord of the Rings (has a orc sword) versions). There is also the option of a Mobile Phone based games, making use of bluetooth capability. ( I was suprised to see that the biggest "game" in the shopping malls of Dubai was a Bluetooth based flirting and dating!)

So what kind of game on any of the main games platforms would contain the right elements? Well one game I have played in real life that made me exercise and seems to contain most of the right elements for conversion to computers is the Legoland Fire Rescue Game. See the (not very good video of it here).


The game is great fun and certainly very exausting. The motions required are fairly simple and thus easy to detect and incorporate.  Competition elements are needed but there are a whole range of possibilities.

I am also interested in the the use of facebook/myspace based games. Now that the API's are available an interactive game that schedules single and joint activities with assembled groups (assembled through Facebook). We need to make sure that they could happen at a safe place, and despite what you may think, I think MacDonalds would be a good partner for such a project. These would be based on the geo cacheing/ treasure hunt type formats.

While on the subject of soacial networking sites...... I saw a great blog about how the architecture of Facebook is actually fantastic for for the kind of customer controlled services we may see in the future. For example, the NHS, Google and Microsft are building Electronic Patients medical records systems, ( http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/08/google-health-prototype.html)however think about Facebook. Its keeps your records, allows you to control who can see them and to what level of detail, build communities (of Dr's, Nurses, Family) around particular topics etc. This may actually be the general model for customer driven services in the future.

See ( http://rdn-consulting.com/blog/2007/09/12/a-new-model-for-emr-software-facebook/) The following is a short extract from Bobs article.

The first question is how are the requirements for an EMR system solved though the functionality provided by a social network?

  1. Patient-centric: I think a huge missing piece in today’s EMR systems is patient interaction. Most are only concerned with data presentation, record management, and billing functions for the physician. Except for a few limited read-only web portals, the patient does not have the ability to add content or even interact with their own medical record. An important paradigm shift would be that the physician would seek out and gain permission to access the patients private medical account, not the other way around.
  2. Patient-Doctor interaction: By not allowing the patient to have interactive control over their health information you are also limiting their ability to interact with their physician(s). Also, if multiple physicians were able to have a common platform for patient consultations it would save time, confusion, and duplication. Patients and their doctors can be thought of as a group of friends that need to interact in a unique way.
  3. Multi-media: If teenagers can share music and video, why can’t patients and doctors share symptoms and test results just as easily? Also, the improved Web 2.0 interactivity holds a lot of promise for innovations in the presentation of medical data (e.g. Silverlight comes to mind).
  4. Security: Nothing is perfect, but I think the Web has already proven itself secure. Think about the number of Web sites where you’ve left your credit card number, let alone if you’re like me you do all of your banking on-line. HIPAA standards can most certainly be met with current Web technology.

As the article points out:

In Facebook’s vision of the Web, you, the user, are in control of your persona.

The same should be said for your personal health information.

Bob makes a good case for Electronic Patient Record via a Facebook type system. It is also interesting to consider it for all user controlled type of services.



November 28, 2007

Ask What you can do?

Writing about web page http://www.emarketservices.com/start/Experience-by-Region/Europe/Europe/prod/Ask-what-you-can-do.html

I had an interveiw published recently on the www.emarketservices.com which managed to capture important aspects of what govermnents should be doing to aid SME businesses.

Ask what you can do

_“It is necessary to re-think how your company can expand its business. And that can best be done by not focusing on what your are doing, but on your capabilities,” _says Dr. Jay Bal, Senior Fellow at Warwick Manufacturing Group and Project Leader at West Midlands Collaborative Commerce Marketplace.

“The role of government has traditionally been to build the infrastructure, like ports, roads and harbors, and this task must be expanded to new areas that can link regions and business,” says Jay Bal.

If the companies in a region cannot easily connect to the flow of trade, whether it be on a road, shipping lane, train line or air lane or nowdays on the Information Superhighway that region is doomed to economic stagnation. It is not enough to just have a “road”, it must have a junction that makes it possible to connect direcly to the economic flow. Jay Bal is not just talking about the flow of product, but also to the flow of information.

see the full interview at the site.
http://www.emarketservices.com/start/Experience-by-Region/Europe/Europe/prod/Ask-what-you-can-do.html


November 14, 2007

OK I am a Punjabi!

OK! I am a Punjabi (or at least I was born there!) and I love this video!


November 13, 2007

Dragons Den

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wimrc/about/

I sat in on the engineering students Dragons Den presentations last night. Some very good ideas and most were well presented. The only drawback with some was a lack of engineering analysis! of the product/proposal. It was good practice for the IMRC dragons Den presentation that I am doing next week with Professor Smith.
We are going to propose some research around the injection moulding of thin film polymer based circuits integrated into the component.
I have lots of other ideas I would like to present, such as building a library of digital models of humans and creating composite models.
I have always wanted to work on a star wars style speeder bike, maybe it could take over from formula student?

Any other ideas on vehicles from films we would like to have?

By the way! I actually hate Dragons Den the TV show – there are a whole group of programs that are cheap because they delight in ridiculing members of the public. As Thumper said in Bambi ” If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all!”

Talking of which – Gadget Show – I think this is the best program on TV at the moment. Has taken over from TOP GEAR which is far too obviously scripted at the moment. I loved the swiss one wheel pull bike! can I have one please? and the weekly prize for the phone in competition really makes me drool- all the gadgets everybody would like!.


November 08, 2007

More on Car Insurance!

I was reading Lee’s Blog about his new car and the problems from phantom calls by car insurance companies! Not as bad as what happened to me. last year I used confused.com and got a quote for my Ford Escort ( I know its naff! but my other cars a Porsche!).
YES car insurance came up with the best quote, so I paid up. They sent me a renewal, and when I checked (this time with gocompare.com ) I found quite a few quotes $50 to £70 pounds lower, but worst of all was that the YES online quote was over £20 lower than the renewal they had sent me. So I took out an alternative which will be £100 less if they give me the extra £30 refund they have promised.
Anyway a few days after renewal day, I get a set of documentation from YES, and find out that they have charge my credit card. When I ring them up, they claim that when I signed up for insurance the previous year over the web I authorised them to automatically renew.

To get my money back, I have to send them details of my new insurance to prove that I was covered! (which I had to send by special delivery so they could not deny getting it!), then another certificate arrived that they wanted back, and I do not think they have returned my money yet. I know that the AA takes my money very year because I have a direct debit with them! , I did not sign a direct debit with YES but it appears they can take it off my credit card.
I supose I had better talk to Barclaycard.! Beware!


November 02, 2007

What a break! Hybrid Networking

Writing about web page http://www.wmccm.co.uk www.gatewaywmg.org

Well, its been about 10 months since my last blog - I was trying to agree with the trendsetters that blogging is dead and social and business networking is in! So I have been facebooking, myspacing, beeboing, linked-in-ing, eacademying and some of the more unkown ones ones as well! You know what? they are a waste of time! I do not want lots more friends (even though how come you always "loose friends but accumulate enemies") and I do not want lots of people trying to sell me things - I can't be the only one! - what we need is a hybrid site - Guess What? I created one, and now its got over two hundred members!


This site is for WMG Staff, Current Students, Past Students and Future Students, to help them:

  • To tell friends, colleagues and course mates about what they are up to :

  • To make contact with other WMG associates for help with problems and issues at work.

  • Post your CVs for job opportunties with WMG partners.

  • Search for Job opportunities listed by WMG partners.

More connections.......more possibilities............more opportunties.......more happiness..........more wealth.........what more could you want?


I hope another hundred or so people join in the next few weeks! Look out cool Frappr application on the bottom of the second page http://www.gatewaywmg.org/AlumniProfiles/tabid/62/Default.aspx

I have big plans for this site! I am hoping an MSc student will select it soon as their project. (why are they all scared of me?).

We have also made big strides on the other two applications I have been working on! The low cost supply chain visibility solution and the rating system and shop functionality for WMCCM.

Changing subject, just as the weather is turning I have decided to start cycling to work - bought a new bike just before the University Security bike auction - DOH!!!! Yesterday cycling as fast as possible down the hill by the new houses on westwood heath road - my pannier which I had not secured fully gets cought by the wind and JAMs the rear wheel - there followed a thirty yard skid, trying to avoid falling in the road and being run over! anyway I survived (obviously!). As I was stopped inspecting the damage - the panier jammed in the rear wheel! I did fall over when not one but two motorist stopped to help and offer me (and Bike) a lift to the University. To them if they are reading - Thanks for restoring my faith in Humanity!

ON the way back home in the evening, on the same hill, the chain came off and jamed between the chainwheel and frame. Its badly twisted now, so its back to the car until I can get it sorted.

Get a bike-Get a life! could be the motto of that story.


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  • Great videos – I had a go at a Wii Flex application last year using the WiiFlash APIs – at the time … by Steven Carpenter on this entry
  • Hi Jay, I'm quite excited about the Wii Balance Board: http://www.engadget.com/2007/07/11/nintendo–w… by Heather on this entry
  • Do you do requests? 11am IMC staff coffee lounge please. by Neil Davis on this entry
  • Gavin, Hi! Thanks for the advice! I did not realise this, so from now we have to write to everybody … by Jay Bal on this entry
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