Cycle of the Ninja – Workshop – Week 2 – Recap

Last night our group conducted the second meet up of our new cycle.  This was a workshop week, focusing on learning about some of the technologies that will be part of the Cycle of the Ninja project.

Christopher Lewis led a workshop teaching people the basics of Arduino and exposing a simple truth when it comes to technologies similar to Arduino, that if you can wrap your head around the basics then you can quickly expand to things that previously seemed much more complicated without much more effort.

Matthew Potter discussed the past, present, and future of web streaming.  In his talk he covered where current limitations and what we can do to work within them for our project.   A lot of us didn’t know how far webRTC has come and it was an interested bit of enlightenment.

Since our selected day is the Day of the Ninja on December 5, Daniele Guevara took it upon her some to do some comprehensive research about the history of the Ninja.  She brought us back through time and explored the role Ninja played throughout the history of Japan, their role, and much more.  It was the perfect segue back into rest of the night of brainstorming.

Since we haven’t quite nailed down what our project is going to be, I am simply going to recap some of the things that were in the discussions that I was a part of.  A big hurdle for myself has been to find something where all of the selected technologies fit and don’t feel like they are added in because they need to be.

Our technologies are: Beer Funnel, Vocals, and Networked Cameras/Video

Beer Funnel:

For me, the hardest part is bringing in the idea of a beer funnel so that it isn’t directly a beer funnel.  Some thoughts thus far have centered around abstracting the idea and not directly using a beer funnel.

–       a beer funnel is something that can lead to disorientation when used correctly so we thought to represent this with a disorienting experience. Ie spinning people around, flashing lights, complete darkness, etc

–       a second thought was weaponizing a beer funny.. Ninja are fighters, assassins, and historically have different weapons, so finding a way to create a weapon out of a beer funnel as part of the project was put out there.

–       If we take a different direction, a beer funnel can be used as a any type of funnel (ie. Funneling dough into a vat), a writing implement,  and a number of other things that we haven’t thought of yet.


The vocals are something that have a lot of potential and will most likely lead to a lot of fun in building. The difficulty is that they are hard to fit into something other than a game because vocals don’t necessarily serve much purpose in a practical application that would include the other technologies (in my opinion). Here are some of the thoughts so far:

–       a tune is played and you have to hum, whistle or sing that tune back

–       using voice recognition, tone recognition, or something similar to allow someone to control a physical or virtual device with only their voice. This could be part of a game or could be used as an accessibility tool.

–       Karaoke or the idea of singing and hitting specific notes.

Networked Video and Cameras

The final piece of the puzzle is to use video over a network. There are many applications for this, but it is incorporating it naturally into a project is not as simple.

–       creating an active camouflage system using cameras and projections

–       webcasting/web streaming

–       filming one person and having the video feed sent to someone else that controls / direction the first person.


Ideas for projects:

There were a number of different ideas put out for the group to ponder for the next week.  I am going to do my best to summarize things.

–       a game where someone has to sneak up on someone to assassinate them.  The game area would be a series of pressure sensitive floor areas that they have to walk across. The person will be camouflaged using active camouflage, if they happen to be too forceful on the pressure sensitive floor alarms will sound.  Once an alarm sounds, the player will hear a tune that they have to sing/whistle back in order to disable the alarm.  If they fail to disable the alarm, something happens to disorient them.

–       A game that is a play on a third person shooter.  Using the Oculus Rift, we had two directions with this, one is that the players see themselves in a third view while wearing an oculus rift thus creating a sort of outer body experience.  The other would be someone else directing an actual person from a third person view.  Thus far we have discussed this in conjunction

–       A beer-battered funnel cake maker, with a 3d printer-esque mechanism

There are lots of things that are still up in the air, which is quite scary.  That being said, there are lots of possibilities moving forward that we can work with and expand on. What I ask of you, is that prior to next week (Week 3) is to consider what you would like to see happen with this and ideally share some of your thoughts on the event page,   Consider the idea of a game, but also think outside the box… maybe something functional that can allow a user of the final project to do something that they otherwise couldn’t,  maybe a form of product that is just cool and fun.

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