At this year’s Story Arcade, FoST participants took a break from a day of big ideas and got their hands on the future. Sponsored by SyFy, the interactive exhibit showcased the latest storytelling technologies, made available for attendees to demo first hand. Check out this year’s digs for a glimpse into the future of storytelling:
Chris Milk’s binaural microphone is a cranial-shaped recording device that captures 360 degrees of sound for his “Hello, Again” project with Beck, aiming to reinvent an audience’s experience of live music. In the virtual realm, listeners can “move” around the concert venue and view the show from any spot, and the sound will change depending on where you are in the space. With webcam-enabled features, the sound and video react to the direction you turn your head. And now, with the addition of Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, you can even more fully immerse yourself in the performance.
When the New York Times published John Branch’s “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” in December 2012, it quickly became a storytelling sensation. The gripping, meticulously reported 16,000-word story was augmented with a deft combination of video interviews, animations, maps, photos, slideshows, and one of the first widely seen uses of an HTML5 “parallax effect.” Parallax allows the story to unfold carefully, with new portions of the story appearing, and graphic elements appearing or disappearing, in a designed sequence.
"Object Record" from FoST speaker Alexis Lloyd’s team at the New York Times Research & Development Lab literally brings objects to life. The blocks above remember their history, understand how they’re used, and take in information from their environment. The result: objects that actually tell stories.
Above are images from the demo of Disney Research’s Aireal, an experimental device that uses precision puffs of air to allow for haptic feedback. Imagine watching a movie and feeling the flaps of wings against your cheeks as birds fly past the screen.
BioShock Infinite is one of the most sophisticated video game narratives ever made. Featuring an incredibly detailed visual environment and a deep, immersive storyline, the game is an example of just how rich game-based storytelling has become. The game is set in Columbia, a floating city loosely based on the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
And here’s a demo of what the new Kinect on Microsoft’s Xbox One “sees.” The next-generation console contains other groundbreaking features, including an improved Kinect that can track six people at once, identify facial expressions, capture heart rates, and even recognize which player is holding the controller.
And finally, Google paid the arcade a visit and gave everyone at FoST a turn to try out Google Glass. The iconic frames may be a watershed technology, promising a new paradigm of personal interaction, life-logging, and micro-storytelling as users record, listen, and interact with a nearly invisible device.
You can read about the latest storytelling technology year-round at the FoST Story Arcade Blog on futureofstorytelling.org