Google Creative Lab asked us to design an Android Experiment using the Cinder open source graphics platform. We set out to use modern mobile graphics technology to expand on our work with real time video filters from a decade ago. In the process of doing so, we somehow opened up a metaphysical portal that lets you travel deep into the hyperspace of your own selfie.
(OK, so it’s really an Android app that uses your phone’s camera, motion sensors, and graphics hardware to generate a reactive 3D universe that responds to your movements.)
How did we get here? Our first step was to build a software pipeline that used the live pixel buffer of the camera as an input to a series of shaders. After a few experiments with mapping pixels to different geometries, we settled on the idea of a three-dimensional landscape modulated by the camera feed, and navigated by device movement.
We are excited to announce the newest addition to our San Diego Studio, Laura Asher. She comes to us from the east coast with some hardcore electronics experience as well as a passion for art and music.
Hello, world. My name is Laura Asher. About a month ago, I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in electrical engineering. All I knew when I went off to school was that I liked to build things. I submitted my majors as electrical engineering and art, figuring that if I learned both, everything in between would follow. As time went on, I decided I could learn more about art by doing it on my own than at Maryland. I dropped the major, but began trying to use the technical skills I'd collected in my studies to make art. And now here I find myself exploring a new field and a new city at Soso in San Diego!
When they're not typing, my fingers prefer to move around a paintbrush, pick a banjo, or flip through a philosophy book.
Since February of 2014, we’ve been working with Google on Project Ara. Ara is a modular phone platform created by Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects group (ATAP). Their goal is to give consumers the power to build their own devices, to determine what they do, and how they look. They want to supply the next 5 billion people with smartphones.
This translates to some amazing real life situations. Imagine breaking your smartphone screen, and just sliding in a new one to fix it. Or your phone going dead and being able to pop in a charged up battery on the go. Or upgrading your phone’s camera by sliding in a better camera module.
All of these parts need a marketplace and an intuitive means of organization and navigation. Google came to us looking for a different perspective on user interface design. They asked us to design an interface that would allow Ara users to shop for new parts and try out different phone configurations. We worked closely with the team to devise novel ways of interacting with and keeping track of all your Ara parts.
We found Sam at a UCLA art show last winter, where he had wired a dancer up with motion sensors and a wireless transmitter. As the dancer gesticulated and strode around the gallery space, his individual motions created a soundscape out of audio samples that changed their character throughout the piece. What drew us to Sam was his multidisciplinary approach. He's a musician, tinkerer, coder, builder, and thinker.
My name is Samson Klitsner, and this is a bathtub I made from free stuff I found on craigslist. I am an undergraduate in the Design|Media Arts program at UCLA, where my interests tend toward interactivity, sound and physical space.
Growing up just North of San Francisco I’ve been exposed to art and tech culture for most of my life. I spent my first year of college getting ready to become a doctor, and soon realized it was not the path for me. I transferred to art school to re-engage with my creative roots, and a couple of years later I was on a school-funded flight to perform a multimedia dance project in Miami.
These days, designers are increasingly expected to know how to code. At Soso, we think it is just as important for coders to understand design. There is a special type of creative magic that happens when we combine forces: we come up with ideas we'd never think of solo, we avoid hiccups in implementation, and we just plain appreciate each other more. A shared basic knowledge of each other's specialties helps us collaborate more effectively throughout the entire process of developing a digital work.
We've created the Sosolimited Design Handbook to establish a common language about design for all members of our team. The lessons compiled in the handbook cover the foundational design principles that we always return to—with a particular focus on applying them to screen-based media.
The Design Handbook curates useful design articles, tutorials, videos, and games available on the web into digestible and focused "lessons." The lessons rely on resources that experts have written, designed, programmed, and released to the world. In the open-source spirit, we are making our handbook publicly available as a GitHub wiki.
It's not a well kept secret, but before we were an art and design studio, we were an international audiovisual boyband. For almost two years, we had a monthly residency at the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Each month we curated movies and music around a theme, and mashed them all up live, through our custom audio visual software.
At the behest of some friends in San Diego, we decided to publish our archive of mixes on Soundcloud.