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Meaningful Machines

New York-based corporation that aims to improve translation technology.

“Based on a core technology that understands natural language, Meaningful Machines is opening new avenues in text mining, search and retrieval, machine translation, natural language interfaces and artificial intelligence.” (From the home page)

“Running software that took four years and millions of dollars to develop, Carbonell’s marchine—or rather, the server farm it’s connected to a few miles away—is attempting a task that has bedeviled computer scientists for half a century. The message isn’t encrypted or scrambled or hidden among thousands of documents. It’s simply written in Spanish.” (From Wired Magazine.)

Starter Links: Meaningful Machines | Evan Ratliff’s “Me Translate Pretty One Day,” in the Dec. 2006 issue of Wired Magazine

LibraryThingTransliteracies Research Report

A website that allows users to catalogue their personal libraries.

“LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere–even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth” (LibraryThing website).

Starter Links: LibraryThing website

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

The Codex Series

“The Codex series is an ongoing cd-rom project that consists of four projects by four different talents in the digital medium exploring narrative, design and the interactive. Somewhere between a compilation and a digital fanzine, The Codex Series is a laboratory, something to share and talk about” (The Codex Series website).

Starter Links: The Codex Series website

Moving Canvas Transliteracies Research Report

Designed by Frédéric Eyl, Gunnar Green and Richard The, “Moving Canvas” is a system that projects words and images on the inside of subway tunnels. The project was conceived and designed in 2005 as part of a digital media class at the University of the Arts Berlin.

“Affordable mobile video-projections will offer a vast range of different forms of use and abuse of this technology soon. While this will certainly be of great interest to the advertising industry it could also extend the idea of re-conquest of public space often only reduced to graffiti and streetart.

Our contribution to this is the idea of a parasite. Parasite is an independant projection-system that can be attached to subways and other trains with suction pads. Using the speed of the train as parameter for the projected content, the projection starts with the train moving inside a tunnel” (Project page at University of the Arts Berlin).

Starter Links:
Project page at the University of the Arts Berlin | High Resolution video | Frédéric Eyl’s website

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kate Marshall


SnOil was conceived and designed in 2005 by Martin Frey, a student in a digital media class entitled “Sensitive Skins” at the Berlin University of the Arts.

SnOil uses electromagnets and ferrofluid to present viewers with with a liquid reading surface upon which words appear and disappear, leaving no trace behind. In addition to to being a reading interface, SnOil can also be programmed for simple interactive games.

Starter Links: Project page at the Berlin University of the Arts | A video demo of SnOil


An online knowledge base for building courses and textbooks.

“For authors and instructors worldwide, Connexions combines free authoring, course building, and publishing tools with an open-access content repository (see cnx.org). For students, it provides modular, interactive courses that are freely accessible. In Connexions, an author can create “modules” of information that are small documents intended to communicate a concept, a procedure, or a set of questions. String some modules together, and you have a web course or textbook, or weave a curriculum entirely of your choosing. Connexions directly challenges the current notion of a “textbook” by exploding it and asking different people to create its parts in a semi-structured but re-configurable manner, rather than having a single Maestro do it all and take all the credit. All Connexions content is open-licensed using the Creative Commons attribution license. All Connexions tools are free and open source.” (Connexions Overview .pdf file)

Starter Links:
Connexions | Overview document


BuddyBuzz, developed by Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, is an e-reader for use with mobile phones.

“BuddyBuzz is the fastest way to read text on a mobile phone. With BuddyBuzz you get access to thousands of articles.

Read articles from CNET, Reuters, and select blogs, like Slashdot, Ross Mayfield, and Robert Scoble. Rate what you read and BuddyBuzz will predict what articles you like.

Upload articles to your personal BuzzBox for your own reading and share things you’ve written with any BuddyBuzz user.” (BuddyBuzz website)

Starter Links:
BuddyBuzz | Persuasive Technology Lab


Britished-based company that specializes in using aritifical intelligence to “read” scripts and forecast their market success

“Investing in and developing the wrong film properties is the biggest risk that faces studio heads. Parent companies and investor groups place studios under ever-increasing pressure to deliver Returns on Investment across an annual portfolio of films. Epagogix’s approach helps management of this most critical financial risk through accurate predictive analysis of the Box Office value of film scripts. Epagogix works confidentially with senior management of major film studios to assist in identifying and developing scripts, and in transforming scripts with low Box Office revenue potential into properties that can be profitably produced and distributed.” (From the Epagogix home page.)

Starter Links: Epagogix | New Yorker Article by Malcolm Gladwell


An application that allows users to scan whiteboards, documents, and business cards using a mobile phone camera.

Users of scanR take pictures of documents, whiteboards, or business cards using their mobile phones. scanR then converts the picture into a color .pdf file that is emailed to the user. Users can also elect to store documents online and to fax documents anywhere in the world.

scanR requires a minimum 1-megapixel camera to convert whiteboards and a minimum 2-megapixel camera to convert documents and business cards into .pdfs The program creates metadata about each file and also allows the user to add tags to categorize their own files.

Starter Link: scanR website

Plastic Logic

British-based company developing portable electronic reading devices.

“Plastic Logic is building the first commercial manufacturing facility targeted at flexible active-matrix display modules for ‘take anywhere, read anywhere’ electronic reader products. It will utilise Plastic Logic’s unique process to fabricate active-matrix backplanes on plastic substrates which, when combined with an electronic-paper frontplane material, will be used to create display modules that are thin light and robust. This will enable a digital reading experience that is much closer to paper than any other technology.” (From Plastic Logic’s “Products” page.)

Starter Links: Plastic Logic | Popgadget article | Financial Times article by Peter Marsh

Electronic Poetry Center

Online resource focusing on electronic poetry.

“The EPC was founed in 1995 and serves as a central gateway to resources in electronic poetry and poetics at the University at Buffalo, the University of Pennsylvania’s PennSound, UBU web, and on the Web at large. Our aim is simple: to make available a wide range of resources centered on digital and contemporary formally innovative poetries, new media writing, and literary programming. The EPC itself makes extensive resources available through its E-Poetry and Author libraries. These libraries provide curated lists of resources on a focused range of authors for personal use, research, and teaching. Additionally, the EPC curates lists of links to similar digital and literary projects, related book publishers, literary magazines, and other resources. In addition the EPC offers substantial sound resources that will not be found elsewhere. These include the vast resources of the PENNsound and UBU archives and the award-winning interview and performances series of LINEbreak.” (From the EPC’s “about” page.)

Starter Links: Electronic Poetry Center | Chronicle of Higher Education article by Zoe Ingalls| Times Literary Supplement article by Paul Quinn

Chicago State University Library

Robot-managed library at Chicago State University.

“The new library at Chicago State University has one ironclad rule: No students allowed in these stacks—only robots. Every book, CD, and DVD in the school’s $38 million facility is tagged with a radio-frequency ID chip. When a borrowed item slides through the return slot, the system identifies and sorts it. Human librarians shelve post-1990 materials in the traditional stacks and drop older stuff into file-drawer-sized bins. From there, it’s all robots—tall, forklift-style machines that run on tracks and stow the materials in a three-story high storage facility. No Dewey decmials? No problem. The computer knows where everything is and can hustle the correct bin to the circulation desk for checkout.” (Excerpt from Wired Magazine.)

Starter Resources: Chicago State University Library | Erin Biba’s article “Biblio Tech,” in the January 2007 issue of Wired Magazine

iTunes U

Apple-owned initiative that allows students and universities to share content online.

“iTunes U* is a free, hosted service for colleges and universities that provides easy access to their educational content, including lectures and interviews, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Based on the same easy-to-use technology of the iTunes Store, iTunes U also offers typical Apple simplicity and portability. Through iTunes U, students can download content to their Macs or PCs, regardless of their location. They can listen to and view that content on their Mac or PC, or transfer it to iPod for listening or viewing on the go. Instructors can easily post and change content on their own without impacting the IT department. And, of course, students can upload their own content to share with professors or with the class.” (From the iTunes U home page.)

Starter Links: iTunes U | related article from the Michigan Business Review

The Digital Cultures Project

University of California sponsored research initiative focused on new media technologies.

“The Digital Cultures Project (DCP) brings together faculty and graduate students from across the UC system who are actively engaged with the history and theory of new digital technologies and the ways in which they are changing humanistic studies and the arts. It also serves as an agency through which faculty and graduate students who have not been actively engaged in these matters can learn about them in order to incorporate them in their future work. The project is based at UC Santa Barbara, where the English Department is the home to Transcriptions, an NEH-supported project concerned with digital technology in research and teaching. The Multi-Campus Research Group (MRG) sponsors five interrelated activities.” (From the Project’s home page.)

Starter Link: The Digital Cultures Project


A way of bookmarking that goes beyond storing the site name and URL, MyStickies allows users to take notes and store “stickies” on web pages all over the web. Similar to del.icio.us and Digg, MyStickies stores the user’s information online so it may be accessed from any computer around the world. MyStickies works through a Firefox extension or a bookmarklet. Extensions are currently in the works for Internet Explorer and Safari.

Starter Links: Lifehacker post | MyStickies website

The Agrippa Files

An online archive devoted to Willilam Gibson’s ephemeral poem and book, Agrippa: (a book of the dead).

“Agrippa (a book of the dead) appeared in 1992 as a collaboration between artist Dennis Ashbaugh, author William Gibson, and publisher Kevin Begos, Jr. The Agrippa Files is a scholarly site that presents selected pages from the original art book; a unique archive of materials dating from the book’s creation and early reception; a simulation of what the book’s intended “fading images” might have looked like; a video of the 1992 “transmission” of the work; a “virtual lightbox” for comparing and studying pages; full-text scholarly essays and interviews; an annotated bibliography of scholarship, press coverage, interviews, and other material; a detailed bibliographic description of the book; and a discussion forum.” (From the project’s home page.)

Starter Link: The Agrippa Files


“BiblioRoll is a device for the reading activity in ubiquitous computing environment. BiblioRoll is shaped cylindrical with scroll interaction and a display divided into three, which suggests a different appearance from traditional books. With this device, users can read by combining or comparing with the information from the books they have or from the ones spread everywhere. In addition, it is possible to put meta-data on them. BiblioRoll enables to treat
these operations easily in a hand. Therefore, it makes users experience a totally different way of reading from traditional books or e-books. Using BiblioRoll gives not only an experience of reading but a new experience of gaining knowledge.” (Okude Laboratory website)

Starter Links: Okude Laboratory website | BiblioRoll concept page

English Ballad Archive, 1500-1800

Online archive of ballads from the Samuel Pepys collection.

“Dedicated to mounting online extant ballads published in English from 1500-1800, the English Department’s Early Modern Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara has begun by archiving the 1,857 ballads in the Samuel Pepys collection…The Pepys ballads became the first priority of the EMC’s Ballad Archive because full access to these ballads has until now been extremely limited. Due to their fragility, the Pepys Library has restricted access to the originals. As consolation, it published in 1987 a facsimile edition of the five volumes of Pepys’s ballad collection, which has proved invaluable to scholars. But since most of the ballads are in black-letter or gothic font (a thick print type that bleeds into the poor quality ballad paper), the printed facsimiles are very difficult—at times, impossible—to read. Very few of the ballads, furthermore, have been mounted on the web.” (From the project’s home page.)

Starter Link: The Early Modern Center of UCSB’s English Ballad Archive, 1500-1800.


Online news source that allows readers to contribute and rate content.

“Digg is a user driven social content website. Ok, so what the heck does that mean? Well, everything on Digg is submitted by our community (that would be you). After you submit content, other people read your submission and Digg what they like best. If your story rocks and receives enough Diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of visitors to see.

What can you do as a Digg user? Lots. Every person can digg (help promote), bury (help remove spam), and comment on stories… you can even Digg and bury comments you like or dislike. Digg also allows you to track your friends’ activity throughout the site – want to share a video or news story with a friend? Digg it!” (from the site’s about page.)

Starter Link: digg.com

HP’s Misto Coffee Table PC

“Misto is a coffee table with a large touch-screen display built into the top of the table. The idea is to allow a group to congregate around the table and share pictures, play board games, or peruse a map, said Pere Obrador, project manager in HP’s imaging technology department.” (CNet News.com)

Starter Links: CNet article | Gizmodo post |

PCs for Poets

An Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC), the PC for Poets was designed by Crispin Jones. With the goal of marrying technology and traditional craftmanship, Jones designed the PC for Poets as both a visual and tactile artifact. It is modeled after traditional Japanese writing boxes, with all surfaces receiving equal design attention. Both the top and bottom are designed to be aesthetically and tactilely appealing and to engage the attention of those surrounding the PC user. The interface has no buttons or keyboard and is operated solely using tablet technology.

Starter Links: The project page at Mr. Jones’ website | we make money not art writeup | UMPC.com

Wacom’s Penabled Pens

Wacom’s Penabled pens replace many standard tablet PC pens. Cordless and battery-free, Wacom’s Penabled technology is pressure sensitive and reacts to a range of pressures. The pen additionally has an erase feature.

Starter Links: Wacom Penabled website

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