"We're seeing examples of agencies co-opting, fostering and engaging in some of the technology being developed at ITP and other tech/art programs (like MIT's Media Lab)," Szopinski says. "One thing that struck me is that these students don't know what's not possible, so they invent what they want. It's a really cool environment where they have in-depth technical resources and unrestricted leeway to create anything with it." Szopinski was impressed by projects like Che-Wei Wang's "Soft Pneumatic Exoskeleton" (seen above), a lightweight (6.5 pounds) system that wraps around a user's legs and takes power from a scuba tank to assist in lifting and walking. "Another girl built accelerometers, and temperature gauges into a harness she wore," Szopinski says of Amy Rose Khoshbin and Michael Craig Clemow's "Perceptual Expansion Space/Suit." "She's a VJ on the side, so she uses this suit to remix video content, synchronizing the video with her dancing and body temperature."
Play-enabling projects also stood out, like "Ukikit Immersive Foosball," which enables actual kicking to control virtual foosball players. "Another guy built a full-size two-player pinball machine with flippers and a pull lever," Szopinski says of Daniel Soltis' "Moving Parts" project. "However, the game was all virtual; a video projector displayed the typical bumpers and paddles on a wooden surface, a cross between retro and augmented."
It's tough to gather an overriding theme about the show, as it isn't curated, says Szpoinski. "But from my perspective as someone who uses technology to build emotional connections between brands and customers, I saw a lot of items that have potential to engage people and draw them into a message."