You know what the worst part about painting is? You can't WIN. No matter how much oil or watercolour you apply to a canvas, in the end, all you're left with is a bunch of art. How will you experience the soaring heights of victory, sweetened by the crushing lows of defeat without some kind of competitive scoring system? Sure, there is the occasional art contest, but those aren't exactly bastions of objectivity. All that is changed with Drunk Painting for the Myo Armband.
Could you give us a quick description of Drunk Painting?
Exactly what the title says! You, along with an optional friend, are Modernist “action painters” aiming to create a masterpiece fueled with the fruitful creativity of a focused mind - or not. Treat yourself to a deliriously delightful drunk painting simulator, for those of us who are curious about the experience, but far too intelligent to attempt it in real life. There are two modes of gameplay: creative single player or competitive two player. In single player mode, the user attempts to create a digitally painted masterpiece with a Myo armband. In two player mode, the canvas becomes an all-out battlefield for domination, where the player who has more paint on the screen at the game’s end is the victor.
What are you working on now?
We are all students studying at Carnegie Mellon University who got together to develop Drunk Painting during early 2015 for the Global Game Jam. We will likely work together again for another project, but right now, we are all currently working independently on our own things. Gregory is currently making virtual reality a reality at Oculus. Steven is supporting the engineers at Facebook by squashing bugs and using concurrent programming to make services at least twice as fast! John is working on a 3-foot Multipurpose Mobile Manipulator, which in layman’s terms, is a basically a butler robot.
How has your experience been so far with Myo?
The hardest part was coming up with a clever game mechanic that not only uses the Myo’s features, but to also integrate them in a way that feels natural. For the concept of Drunk Painting, the Myo does an excellent job handling movement with its accelerometer and gyroscope. With respect to the user, our game did not require perfect movement detection; after all, the player is supposed to be drunk, and drunk people aren’t exactly the most coordinated of folks. We also used fist detection to activate painting in single player mode. The fist was great because it is embodies a powerful gesture, one that translates well into the artistic will of the painter. Looking forward, we hope to make use of more fancy finger mechanisms as the Myo technology matures over time. All in all, experimental tech in development is always fun to play with. Working in our favor, there’s always something new, and some good old wonkiness to balance it out.
What do you envision for the future of wearable tech?
If there’s anything consistent in the history of tech trends, it’s the tendency for devices to get smaller, faster and more intelligent over time. We envision various electrical, chemical and kinetic human activities can be sensed as well as enhanced by the evolution of wearable technology. Eventually, we will get to the point where we can wear accessories that help us with more just than gaming, but virtually every industry that has human interaction in the loop. And when we get to that point, we will all become, quote from John, “superhuman cyborgs!”
What’s one tech trend that really excites you?
There’s so much amazing stuff going on these days, it’s hard to pick just one. Steven and Gregory are particularly excited about virtual reality. It’s amazing that you can just be sitting in your chair, yet somehow believe you’re in space, underwater, or just about anything. For John, it’s 3D printing. Never before in the history of human civilization can a person create any physical shape in less than a day, at the cost desktop 3D printing delivers. What both of these have in common is blurring the line between the physical world and the virtual world. When you realize the virtual world contains almost anything you could imagine, the possibilities are endless; the 21st century is certainly a very interesting time.
What’s one Myo application you would really like to see?
This one takes the cake: Mega Myo Zombie Puncher 3000.
What’s your coolest technical project or achievement not already mentioned here?
Gregory worked on implementing an efficient video compression algorithm for virtual reality.
Steven took a single-person video game assignment as a Teaching Assistant in college and transformed it into a multiplayer battle-royale supporting tournaments and scenario situations!
John developed a 2.5-ft humanoid robot for less than $800, and released full documentation on how to build it.