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Just a few fun videos, based on modifying observable reality in non-standard ways. The key for both of these is only partly to use the latest evolution in communications and data processing to achieve the desired result. Having the latest tech is good, but what is critical is using that tech in ways never before tried to go for desired results nobody else thought of before. The embarrassing part is how obvious it all looks once you finally see it in action; why didn’t any of us think of that before?

The first is the MIT FlyFire Project, which lives at the Senseable City Lab site. Now that sensors of all types, from static units like traffic cams and mobile units like cell phones are ubiquitous, privacy is right out the window; but new ways of gathering, displaying, and using data are in our hands. The helicopter-optics project itself combines the emergent behavior of the swarm of drones interacting with the environment with the top-down control imposed by the computer orchestrating the display patterns. Learning to program this combination will be challenging but most worthwhile.

The second video is a glimpse at how David Byrne approaches ways to share an appreciation of music. In this instance, by converting an entire building into a musical instrument, and allowing interested parties to sit at the keyboard and play the building. The subtle layer below that one is the fact that every child or adult who sits at a control panel and wrings music (no mater how pitiful) out of a multi-story structure will never again think of it as a box they might be inside of, or as part of the background. From then on, every building they see will become an instrument they might play, which means an interconnected whole that can be manipulated to achieve a desired result. The more people that have that epiphany, the more minds there are working to build our future; and that is a GOOD thing, trust me on this.