ATEC Alumnus Hosts Dallas’ First BeMyApp Event

BeMyApp Dallas

February 24-26 marked Dallas’ first annual BeMyApp event, a mobile app design and development competition. Idea generators, developers, and designers of all ages and skill levels collaborated to create a functioning app in just 48 hours.

Ben Morrow
ATEC alumnus Ben Morrow organized and hosted the Dallas BeMyApp event.

Ben Morrow, a UT Dallas Arts and Technology alumnus and cofounder of Liquid, organized and hosted the Dallas BeMyApp event.

On Friday evening, 17 people pitched their ideas in 60 seconds to the designers and developers. The top six were chosen by vote and thus began the race to complete the apps.

The ideas were varied in premise, complexity, and execution; including mobile games, health analytics, and music and news aggregators with heavy social media components.

The teams developed their ideas on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone until Sunday evening, when they presented their ideas to a panel of judges. The winning ideas were a mix of beautiful design and execution.

Haikus, for the Win

The HaikuBrew team included one UT Dallas graduate and a current student -- John Watson and Rodivic (Rudi) Garcia, respectively -- as well as Nick Gottlieb, Brian Ellison and Robert Prottorff.

The first place winner, HaikuBrew, created a sleek interface for creating haikus using Facebook social integration. The haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven and five.

HaikuBrew allows you to write the first line of the haiku and pass it on to a friend to write the second line. The friend either sends it to another friend or back to you to finish.

Two UT Dallas students, John Watson, and Rodivic (Rudi) Garcia, were among the HaikuBrew team. John graduated from UT Dallas in 2005 with degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science. Rudi is currently a graduate student in Arts and Technology.

Nick Gottlieb, a Dallas techpreneur and a web contractor for The Dallas Morning News, pitched the idea for the app. “We all have day jobs and we’re working nights to try to get this launched as a free app at South by Southwest,” said Gottlieb. Haiku Brew is the team’s first mobile app.

HaikuBrew allows users to collaborate with friends to create a haiku.

Dallas and Beyond

After the winner from each city was picked, they then were pitted against each other in a 48-hour online vote for the winner of the 2012 Mobile App Olympics. Dallas ranked second in the global competition, with first place going to Kinvolved from New York. The top three winning teams were rewarded with prizes and are expected to have apps available shortly.

BeMyApp attracts those who are truly passionate about ideas and flawless execution. Amidst the chaos and the pressure to complete a working app in such a small amount of time, those involved are dedicated to the cause they chose, and to their practiced discipline; whether it be design or development or leadership.

The competition was held simultaneously in Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Paris. About 700 people participated worldwide.

For more information about BeMyApp and the teams involved, visit the BeMyApp website. Additional photos of the Dallas event are available through a Flickr photo set.

Artist Transcends Boundaries Between Music, Space and Memory

Deborah Aschheim’s art crosses boundaries and traditional subjects – she connects the invisible worlds of memory and sound with the tangible reality of bodies and buildings. Her exhibit, Method of Loci, opens at CentralTrak on Saturday, March 10, at 8 p.m.

The song begins in the horn, forms at either end of this 16-foot-long structure, and moves to 14 speakers in the "body" of the piece as the music swells and distorts.

The show takes it name from a method of memory enhancement that uses visualization to organize and recall information. The project has led her to collaborate with musicians as well as neuroscientists.

“I’m very excited to be presenting Deborah Aschheim’s work to the Metroplex. Her work illustrates a very contemporary way of incorporating scientific data and research into her studio practice,” says Heyd Fontenot, director of CentralTrak, a UT Dallas art gallery and residency in Deep Ellum.

“Her approach illustrates the nature of the Arts & Technology program at UT Dallas, so our students will enjoy it very much as well,” Fontenot says.

On display will be Aschheim’s Earworms series. The installation, produced in collaboration with musician and composer Lisa Mezzacappa, explores language and memory through sound and space.

Method of Loci will also feature new works that explore the relationship between architecture, memory and public space. Above: After Goldberg (Unrequited No. 5) 2012

“The Earworms series is named after the German word Ohrwurm, which is a fragment of song that becomes stuck in a person’s head and repeats endlessly,” Aschheim says.

“The project began as an experiment to cure aphasia by embedding words in memorable songs.”

Inspired by stories of stroke patients who had regained the ability to speak by remembering words buried in song lyrics from their past, the installations employ a list of Aschheim’s favorite words.

Mezzacappa composed and recorded a song for each word, and Aschheim built a sculpture for each song. The artists reimagine the sound and sculptural elements for each space they inhabit.

Method of Loci will also feature new works that explore the relationship between architecture, memory and public space.

“To me, modern architecture is a means to explore a narrative, drawing on the concepts of memory and history. Some of these buildings are about my same age, so they can be seen as a kind of self-portrait,” says Aschheim.

Aschheim has a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and studio art from Brown University.

Virtual Texans Celebrate Centenary of Birth of Alan Turing

The Arts and Technology program will participate in a high-tech, 24-hour international multimedia show honoring the father of computer science, Alan Turing.

On March 23 and 24, UT Dallas Arts and Technology faculty members Dr. Marjorie Zielke and Dr. Roger Malina, professor Judy LeFlore of University of Texas at Arlington and ATEC students Sanger Doane and Steven “Slade” Jansa, will participate as virtual Texans in a worldwide streaming extravaganza celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing.

Alan Turing’s accomplishments made a fundamental impact on the development of the computer and to our contemporary networked digital culture.

Alan Turing is sometimes called the father of computer science.  In 1935, at the age of 23 he invented the concept of abstract computing machines – now known simply as Turing machines – on which all subsequent stored-program digital computers are modeled.

Turing also pioneered the field of artificial intelligence, and he developed the idea what is now called the “Turing Test,” a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior.

The UT Dallas ATEC program has a number of award winning research and development initiatives which seek to create virtual environments with virtual humans for applications in health care and education.

With colleague Dr. Judy LeFlore, associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing, the ATEC team has developed a serious game to teach undergraduate nurses how to treat respiratory distress in infants, a health-care professional assessment program for a local hospital, and a full online nurse practitioner curriculum for neonates.

These projects have won a variety of awards, to include first place at the 11th International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) in the category of Emerging and Innovative Technologies and Methods in January 2011 and most recently in February 2012 a tie for first-place demonstration at the Eighth Annual Innovations in Health Science Education Conference, sponsored by the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education.

These Virtual Texans from ATEC projects will be participating in the worldwide celebration Decode/Recode.

Decode/Recode is globally networked interactive event celebrating the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth, as part of the official opening of the University of Salford building at MediaCity, England on March 23. For this event ATEC will be connecting for 24 hours with 24 partners in a worldwide live digital media performance.

A New Way to Make Friends Enemies: EnemyGraph

A new Facebook application developed by a team in the UT Dallas Emerging Media and Communications program allows users to now list enemies as opposed to just friends.

While Facebook runs queries to find affinities, EnemyGraph runs dissonance queries to point out a difference you have with a friend and offer it up for conversation.

EnemyGraph, an app that explores social dissonance on Facebook, is the creation of EMAC faculty Dean Terry, developed by Emerging Media and Communications graduate student Bradley Griffith, with invaluable help from undergraduate Harrison Massey.

“When I saw the first friends list at the beginning of the social media era, I thought where’s the enemies list?” said Dean Terry.

EnemyGraph is an attempt to further define relationships between users and other entities across Facebook’s social graph.

“In a way, EnemyGraph is a social media blasphemy. Because we’re suggesting that you share differences you have with people or talk about the things you don’t like,” Terry said.

Users of EnemyGraph aren't limited to making enemies of people -- any object, place or thing that has a Facebook page can be an enemy.

“Most social networks attempt to connect people based on affinities. But people are also connected and motivated by things they dislike.”

Users of EnemyGraph aren’t limited to making enemies of people — any object, place or thing that has a Facebook page can be an enemy. “You can have an entire list with no people on it at all,” Terry said. “In a way we are misusing the word ‘enemy’ just as much as Facebook and others have misused ‘friend.'”

One early user described EnemyGraph as a way to “interact with friends over common enemies … creating alliances based on shared animosities.”

Dean Terry writes on his blog, “We look at EnemyGraph as a test to learn from for the new project we are about to start on for this semester. Because these kinds of tools have not been available previously we are interested to see how they are used. We plan to take what we learn and apply it to a site outside of Facebook that explores similar territory, but in a broader fashion.”

Terry recently shared his thoughts about EnemyGraphy in an interview on Outriders, a program dedicated to exploring the frontiers of the web from BBC Radio 5 live. Listen to the audio of the program below.

Try out EnemyGraph on Facebook.

Upcoming ATEC Faculty Candidate Presentations

Students, staff and faculty are invited to candidate presentations for various faculty positions in Arts and Technology. Candidates will offer a presentation based upon their individual research interests.

The following candidates are slated to present for the week of March 5-9, 2012. All presentations will be held in the ATEC Conference Room (ATEC 1.606).

Erik Palmer, PhD
Candidate for Assistant Professor in Networked Communication and Social Media

Dr. Palmer will present a talk on Tuesday, March 6 at 2 p.m. in ATEC 1.606 entitled The New Spaces of News Media: A Regional Government’s Experiment with In-House Journalism.

Erik Palmer researches visual communication and new media, and teaches in the Department of Communication at Portland State University. He holds a doctoral degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.

Shilyh Warren, Ph.D.
Candidate for Tenure-Track Professor in Film Studies

Dr. Warren will present a lecture on Wednesday, March 7 at 3:30 pm in ATEC 1.606 entitled Missing Bodies, Missing Voices: Sexual Violence in Documentary Film.

This talk analyzes the history of feminist documentary filmmaking by considering two recent attempts to document violence against women in Mexico and the former Soviet bloc.

Both Senorita Extraviada (2001) and The Price of Sex (2011) struggle to represent the new forms of political, economic, and sexual violence shaping women’s lives. Although they deploy familiar documentary strategies, such as talking heads and voice over narration, these films ask us to listen in new ways to the stories they reveal. How should we attune ourselves to voices on the border of life and death?

Shilyh Warren completed her doctorate in the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University. She currently teaches film studies at North Carolina State University. She publishes essays on women’s cinema, and is at work on a manuscript titled, The Feminist Real, Then and Now, about the desires and practices of feminist cinema and criticism.

Daniel J. Hicks
Candidate for Assistant Professor in History and Philosophy of Technology

Mr. Hicks will present a lecture on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 10:00 am in ATEC 1.606 entitled Two Views of Scientific Practice.

Dan Hicks is finishing his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, with a Graduate Minor in Gender Studies.

His dissertation combines social and political philosophy with philosophy of science, arguing that the science and values debate — which is usually construed purely epistemologically — should be construed in terms of the interactions between science and other goal-oriented socially organized practices.

He has published articles in Hypatia and Philosophy of Science.  Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he earned a M.S. in Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Max Kazemzadeh
Candidate for Assistant Professor in Media Based Visual Arts

Mr. Kazemzadeh will present a lecture on March 8, 2012 at 4 pm in ATEC 1.606 entitled From Walls to Walkways, From Facts to Fields: Apophenia, DIWOD, Open Src Everything, the Post Nomadic Community and Syncretic Methods for Exploring and Representing Consciousness.

Max Kazemzadeh is an Assistant Professor of Art and Media Technology at Gallaudet University (one of two federal universities in the US and the only all deaf university in the world), who uses a syncretic approach to investigate connections between art, technology, and consciousness through experiments and interactive installations.

Kazemzadeh is pursuing a Ph.D. with the Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth in the UK. His work over the last ten years focused on how constructed, semi-conscious interfaces influence human interaction.

Kazemzadeh has exhibited internationally, given performances, served on panels, curated exhibitions, organized conferences, given workshops, received grants, and written articles in the area of electronic and emergent media art.

ATEC Students Release iPhone Game

Ninja Nuggets: Kamikaze Kapers — a strategic, turn-based puzzle game developed by Arts and Technology students Steven Foskett and Chris Krueger — has been released on Apple’s App Store.

The game features a scientist captured by a clan of sentient chicken nuggets and forced to undergo rigorous training to help them fight a war against their ancient rivals. The player’s job is to deploy the clan’s secret weapon: honorable kamikaze warriors who explode into highly volatile sauce, “the deadliest substance known to nugget-kind.”

The project began as a class assignment in spring 2011. “The process of development started very informally,” said Steven Foskett. By fall, Foskett and Krueger had designed the core game — although some refinement was needed.  “I asked Dr. Monica Evans if Chris and I could use it as our capstone, and she gave us the green light,” notes Foskett. “Most of my free time that semester was spent frantically programming, fixing bugs and implementing new features like a store to upgrade your character and the explosive nuggets he lays.”

The game was released on Feb. 17, 2012 on the Apple’s App Store and requires iOS 3 or later.

The team also has Ninja Nuggets t-shirts, bumper stickers, keychains and pillows available on Zazzle.