Another Semester Over at ITP
Highlights from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program

Another semester at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) has come to a close, and we were lucky to get a hosted press run-through the show, talking with students and kicking some tires. Historically, one needs to attend both days of the show—the first day everything hasn't broken yet; the second day it's easier to talk to the students sitting on the floor with soldering irons in their hands doing the repairs. We risked it by visiting right in the middle, and the payoff was sweet: students were practiced up without being burned out; the projects were well-loved without being rubbed raw.

The Fall '04 semester's crop of work was alternately inspiring and overwrought. A certain unevenness is always present in a show like this, and the student body would have benefited from a "Do one thing and do it well" sign posted up above all their whiteboards. Too often, students over-promised with their premise, layered on meaning where there wasn't any, or extended an idea past its freshness dating. With all the talk of social networking and wireless communication, we found the simplest projects to be the best. Just like in straight-up product design, less usually is more.

And if these issues weren't enough to subvert the students, there's always this granddaddy of them all: in 2004, physical computing and tangible media aren't so new anymore, and projects need to do a lot more than motion track and image process to give us a thrill. There were some highlights of course, and we're happy to share our favorites below. Congrats to all the students, and wishing you a great new semester ahead.

Ian Curry
Bluetooth surveillance setup that snaps a pic/vid of anyone with a 'toothed device on 'em that happens by.

Please Release Me - The Marionette Project
Mirit Tal, Daniel Holsopple, Keunyoung Oh
Show highlight of marionette-controlled navigation through various spaces. Bonus ingenuity: Putting the video projector behind the puppet creates protagonist as shadow. Easy.

Solar Wallpaper
Marta Lwin, Ty Whitfield, Teresita Cochran
Ramakrishnan Subramanian
Electroluminescent film gives beautiful glow to floral wallpaper patterns. Blog-attractive and worthy of it.

Morgan Barnard
Plug your headphones into this solar-powered device for a "personal sonic landscape." A simple device with crazy potential.
Jason Babcock, Michael Kertesz
Crowd-pleasing installation with motion tracking on a hidden fishtank; fish's behavior is tied to actor/avatar gesticulation on flatscreen in front of you. Peek behind the wall to find that you've been conversing with a goldfish!

The Bureau of Doctor Goodman
Jeffrey Galusha, Emily Conrad
Non-linear audio narrative triggered by drawers in an antique bureau

Virtual Patient Project
Jean-Marc Gauthier, Martin Nachbar
Fascinating exporation of the intersection of computer games and medical visualization.

Spencer Kiser, David Hindman
Entertaining instument- and voice-controlled Mortal Kombat game. Shout to punch.

The Crowd in Us
Beliz Demircioglu
For a video-capture-and-effects piece, this was a standout, time-delaying and superimposing you over yourself.

Club Robot
Jason Lee, Richard Miller, Kuan Huang
Synthable outputs midi notes to a synthesizer as well as serial commands to dancing robot.

Mouse Trap
Mouna Andraos, Michael Kertesz
Sweet one-liner with mouse running away into its home when it senses you near.

Pulse Lamp
Matty Sallin
Show highlight of contemplative lamp that reads, then blinks back, your heartrate.

Victoria, Live from 1916
Jeffrey Galusha
Rotatable LCD allows visitor to look around the East Side's Tenement Museum.

Bicycle Wheel
Michael Kertesz
Sure it's obvious, but this guy built it. Now how do you lock it?

Out of the Closet
Sonali Sridhar
Two skirts use radio frequency detection to mimic each other's colors when in close proximity.

NYC Wind Portrait
Marta Lwin, Noah Shibley
Simple, sweet and effective video still capture of visitor, with pixels breaking up and flying away according to current NYC wind data.

Dana Karwas
Text messages are rapped back to the user with photos and live image graphics.

Wireless Wind
Inshan Khairullah
A fascinating start on wind visualization exploration.

Predatory Mirror
Abraham Burmeister
Spooky-cool video superimposition of visitor and stripped-out background. Ghostworld.


FOr a complete list of projects check out ITP is at 721 Broadway, 4th Floor South, New York, NY 10003. Telephone is 212-998-1880. Inquires to

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