Code runs through the heart of every Soda project, even though the results of our work are often physical artifacts or social interactions.
Our bespoke software solutions have been many and varied, from Mapamatic, a Java game for learning maths commissioned by the BBC in 1997, to multi-touch interfaces for learning about nuclear fission in Saudi Arabia, our work is elegant, useful and popular.
We have a team of highly-experienced, highly creative developers, often practising artists, game developers or philosophers in their own right. Their expertise covers iOS development, HTML5 technologies, web development, arduino and electronics integration, among many others.
Our super clever lead developer, Jons Jones-Morris has been creating some fun interactives with Kinect and Box2d.
His Kinect virtual puppetry application allows players to represent themselves on screen as puppets which they can manipulate in real time. User-generated representations of bodies, heads and limbs can be used to create an avatar which players then manipulate by interacting with the Kinect system. The body elements can be scanned hand drawings, photographs or a graphical image like this example using Meccano (NB: this video is work in progress, and the final version will look a lot more polished).
Back at the start of the month Kirsten went along to the BBC Connected event at Facebook. BBC Connected is a series of events based around different parts of the BBC - the idea is to get external companies (and internal people from the Beeb) to respond to specific briefs and pitch ideas, some of which will then get taken forward, possibly to prototype.
It’s been a frantically busy summer, with most of our time taken up by projects for Stratford Sports Day (AKA The Capital of England, in the year between 2011 and 2013).
Fiddian has been testing his electronics skills to the limit by creating a series of sculptural LED totems, which are running some of Julian’s clever software to display beautiful patterns of light.
Our work on the Truce Arts project is ongoing. Fiddian has been working with groups of animation students at Middlesex University and media students in the Headstarters group to create digital artworks around the theme of Olympics Truce. Mary, our new intern, has been working on the social media aspect of Truce, and helping us to gather public submissions to the project. You can see the results here and here.*
The hugely successful V&A British Design show closed a few days ago, and we’ve had some amazing feedback on our work. The team from Media Molecule all took a day out to see our Little Big Planet exhibit, Sony also visited from their Liverpool offices to see Wipeout, and Fiddian was interviewed by Square Enix about his design for the Tomb Raider exhibit. The show is now going on tour.
Kirsten has begun some research for a London university on improving links between edtech startups and academia. If you’re interested in taking part, send her an email.
Fiddian has been busy at various events, including Technology: Disruption and Convergence at City Hall. Brain-straining IoT strategies with the TSB in a two-day residential workshop in Loughborough. Doing similar stuff for the Connected Digital Economy Catapult has been challenging and fun. He’s also busy making plans for Makers Guild, which we’ll get around to blogging about soon.
*The animated gif illustrating this post is part of the Truce work, and was created by Andon, an Animation Student at Middlesex University.
Soda were commissioned by a major UK charity to provide 6 sculptural LED totems to entertain and inform visitors to the Olympic Park throughout the Olympics and Paralympics.
Multimedia Aggregation & Streaming Hyperscreen is Soda’s customisable software that takes social media text, still and video imagery and creates stunning, ever changing digital collages in real time. Like a virtual VJ, MASH can dynamically display content around products, services and events on screens large and small in realtime.
For iDesign, the digital day of the London Design Festival, Soda provided a couple of instances of MASH to generate a social media mood-wall around the event.
Fiddian took the latest version of Soda’s MASH to the b.TWEEN 09 Interactive Media Forum at FACT in Liverpool. MASH is Soda’s RSS-aggregating, montage-generating, ever-changing, painterly-mash-up- making, ‘givin’-cool’ system for screens, large or small.
Fiddian went to Shanghai to launch bTWEENScapes at eARTS08: a collaboration with Chinese artist take10.
In Fiddian’s performance Neurotic, giant pogo-ing robots attend 3 punk gigs. Neurotic questions how learning develops through the empathetic responses of the brain. The robots’ own neural networks are modelled on so-called ‘mirror neurons’ in the brain which stimulate mimicry. Each robot is exposed to punk records that Fiddian collected as a youth. The intention is that the robots develop their neural connectivity through ‘listening’.
With the help of funding from Futurelab Soda developed Newtoon to advanced prototype level.
‘Wave’, a large, sculptural, low-resolution screen for Dublin’s newly revamped Ilac Shopping Centre.
Ed v Zach was a collaboration between Ed Burton and Zach Leiberman, created for the Generative X exhibition of computational aesthetics curated by Daniel Brown as part of onedotzero at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2005.
Soda’s commitment to working with children in learning and regeneration contexts is exemplified by ‘Energy’ - an Arts Council/Creative Partnerships funded 30-metre-tall external light installation at Stoke Newington School, London.
Recentevents by Ed Burton dissolved three texts into a fluid suspension of letter tokens.
To celebrate the centenary of the National Art Collections Fund, Soda created “Journey”, a digital artwork premiering at ART2003 at the Hayward Gallery, London.
Developed for the Channel 4 website, Sex Bots was an adult-targeted game in which users created promiscuous automata to compete in a pansexual play-scape.
As part of the Year of the Artist initiative, Pfizer invited us to work as artists in residence at their new European Headquarters in Kent.
The financial application service provider Traderserve employed Soda to help design a fully graphical model-building interface as part of their service to automated traders.
Delivered online and via CD ROM, the Java campaign planner for Northcliffe Newspaper Group enabled media buyers to select advertising space in NNG’s local newspapers and niche publications, and to obtain demographic information on their target readership. It won the 1999 BIMA business to business online award.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers came to Soda looking for a creative solution to a specific training need within their evolving global organisation.
A set of three dynamic learning environments was created in conjunction with BBC Education: The Rap Realm, The World of Wonderwords and The Simile Satellite.
Play is central to our philosophy; it fosters an experimental and uninhibited approach to creativity. Our playing created sodaconstructor, an online construction kit for building animated models, winner of the 2001 Interactive Arts BAFTA Award.
Live on the BBC Education website since 1997, Mapamatic Desert Challenge is a Java game designed to teach basic maths skills to secondary school pupils.
Sonn’et-Se’quence’ used digital manipulation of the codified romance of sonnets to reference early French deconstructivist Raymond Queneau’s work, and Alan Turing’s quote “only a machine can understand a sonnet written by another machine”. The installation comprised five robotic towers with rotating ‘heads’ containing small computers. Sonnets were communicated between towers and recompiled. The resulting recombinations were displayed as text over a video image of the installation. Created by Fiddian and Julian for the Spacex Gallery, 1997.