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Transitions and Magic Tricks

Written by on 26th February 2012 in Portals, References, Thoughts with Leave a comment

I met with Tim yesterday and we talked for a while about how to make the street view thing less like just a backdrop and more tied into the actual street view thing. And we also talked about transitions between the “normal” version and the portal version. And the idea of something somewhat participatory (like getting invited to join a play date). SO, the video above is sort of an attempt at mocking that up. The way it’s set up there’s a bit of a glitch where you get a peek at the Portal world for a split second first, but I actually sort of like that effect. It’s sort of like Tyler Durden’s subliminal flashes in Fight Club.

Also, thinking about how to tie the output back into the interface, I started looking into Panoramio, the user submitted geotagged photos that can appear on Google earth and sometimes Google Maps. I uploaded the picture of my accordian player, which apparently meets all the acceptance criteria since it now says “This photo is now selected for Google Earth” but I don’t know what the criteria is for acceptance to Google Maps. But I guess at least this is sort one step closer…

I’m starting to feel like the physical/virtual circle is starting to come together a little bit closer now.

And a sort of tangential side note, I read this article today about how magicians like Teller manipulate the human mind and thought it was super relevant to my work, considering a lot of it is about illusion and, as Tim called it, Constructed Confusion. Teller explains a few of the principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perception:

  1. Exploit pattern recognition.
  2. Make the secret a lot more trouble than the trick seems worth.
  3. It’s hard to think critically if you’re laughing.
  4. Keep the trickery outside the frame.
  5. To fool the mind, combine at least two tricks.
  6. Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself.
  7. If you are given a choice, you believe you have acted freely.

I think these are all really useful principles for designing engaging and uncanny hybrid experiences, especially ones that play in that space between the real and imaginary. So much of the experience is actually being completed in the person’s own mind.  One of the things I’ve noticed when testing the teleportaling is that even I sometimes forget which object is in which box and reach for the virtual one instead of the real one. It may not be “user friendly” but I think that sort of constructed confusion is really fascinating cause it reveals just how much your subconsciously immersed in the experience.

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