Students use technology to spark creativity

March 21, 2008

Most people would likely first look at “Archie” merely as a large stuffed-animal child’s toy. They would be so mistaken.

Archie is a soft, 6-foot-long blend of cotton and polyester fabric formed into a rough replica of a squid, with an elongated head and 10 tentacles. Embedded within are small electronic devices that make Archie something special: the Sensor Squid. Download Full Image

He is a tool to achieve what his makers call “tangible interface design,” “interactive tactile collaboration,” and “computer-human interaction,” all designed to enable “creativity interventions.”

Sensor Squid creators Becky Stern and Lisa Tolentino are among the first class of several students in a new media arts and sciences doctoral degree program. The degree is offered through Arts, Media & Engineering (AME), a joint program of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and the Herberger College of the Arts.

Archie – the name is based loosely on the genus name for a giant squid – was conceived by Stern and Tolentino as a device to spark playful collaboration and thoughtful communication among teams of AME students.

He essentially is a wireless input device that allows students to collectively operate a computer by using various control functions embedded in different tentacles.

“It’s like a shared computer mouse that several people can use together, rather than one person at a time,” Stern says. “Nobody has complete control, so it makes us develop working relationships and learn team decision-making.”

The AME students are using Archie to keep each other updated on their various research projects.

To use the Sensor Squid, “people have to get close and hold this soft, plush object,” Tolentino says. “It shapes the whole group working environment. It’s different from people sitting apart with their own laptops. It’s friendlier. It builds cooperative relationships.”

Stern and Tolentino see Archie as a first step in an evolution toward realizing one of key the goals emphasized in the AME program: making technology people-friendly.

“We want to build tools that will help people become more educated about and comfortable with all the information technology in our lives today,” Tolentino says.

Stern came to ASU after earning a bachelor’s degree in design and technology from the Parsons the New School for Design in New York.

Tolentino has an undergraduate degree in computer science and a master’s degree in contemporary music performance from the University of California-San Diego.

They are part of the Reflective Living Group at AME. The research group’s goal is to develop media technology environments that provide resources for increasing community awareness and sparking constructive social interaction and creativity.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Baseball sweeps double header with 8-4 win over FIU

March 22, 2008

The top ranked Arizona State baseball team bounced back on Saturday at the Bob Schaefer Memorial tournament, sweeping a double header from Florida International. ASU claimed game two 8-4 after winning game one 10-5. The Devils now stand at 21-1 on the year.

Josh">">Josh Satow pitched six strong innings, picking up the win in game two to move to 3-0 on the year. Satow allowed two runs on five hits while striking out six. Ike">">Ike Davis came on in the ninth with two on and two out and shut the door to pick up his third save of the season. Download Full Image

Marcel"> Champagnie got the offense started in the second, doubling home Kiel">">Kiel Roling to put ASU up 1-0. Champagnie would come home on a Raoul">">Raoul Torrez ground out to give the Devils a 2-0 lead.

The big bats would be on display in the third, as Brett">">B... Wallace and Roling each hit two-run blasts to make it 6-0. It was the team leading ninth homer of the year for Wallace and the fourth homer of the season for Roling. Arizona State would stretch it to 7-0 in the fifth, when Wallace scored from third on a wild pitch.

FIU would cut the lead to 7-2 in the sixth, then add another run in eighth to make it 7-3, but ASU would answer in the bottom half of the inning. Ryan">">Ryan Sontag's double down the left field line scored Petey">">... Paramore to make it 8-3. The Golden Panthers would rally in the ninth against Jason">"... Franzblau and RJ">">RJ Preach, but Davis ended the threat and the game. Franzblau went 2.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits out of the bullpen.

Brett">">B... Wallace, Petey">">... Paramore and Kiel">">Kiel Roling all turned in two-hit games to lead the Sun Devil offense.

Earlier in the afternoon, UC Irvine defeated Northern Colorado 9-6.

The Sun Devils will close out the Schaefer Memorial Tournament on Sunday afternoon, when they host #5 UC Irvine at 4 p.m. from Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.