This week is the start of the Design Fiction course! I had made significant progress on my DIP project and went to Beijing on Thursday! This week I tackled the gesture recognition problem and felt like it was a very interesting topic to think about and work on.
On Monday, we had our first Design Fiction course. It was very interesting and provoked me to think about questions such as: “What is Design?”, “What is a good way to tell a story using only pictures” and “How do I integrate storytelling and design thinking together?”. The first class was mostly introducing this course along with the course outline and some mini activities. In the process of getting us to think about these questions, we had some mini-activities such as telling a story with only 2 pictures that we have, as well as to draw an 8-page comic to tell a story on “How to make a Toast”. These mini-activities were quite fun, and it was interesting how it gets much harder not being able to add words into our pictures. Brainstorming about the different stories that we could have is also very fun and I feel like this is something we should do when we go back to Singapore and pitch our Design Ideas. To think about the different ways, we can tell our story and find the best way to present our idea.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I mostly focused on my DIP project. Currently, the task assigned to me was to be able to draw with your fingers on the Unity Interface and then recognize what shape it is that you have drawn. It took me one day to figure out how to get Unity to work together with Leap Motion and draw lines on the interface. However, the task of getting Unity to be able to recognize what it is that the user had drawn is much harder. Firstly, I had to read up on someone existing gesture recognition methods and there is varying difficulties from a simple Euclidean distance weightage ranking to using neural networks to determine the exact gesture drawn. For this project, I believe something simple and light should be the best option as the worst thing that could happen is to have the program lag/hang on the user in the middle of using it. Thus, I found a method called the $1 method where it only applies for a single stroke and uses Euclidean distance as its main method for ranking how close this gesture is to all the gestures in the database. It is quite smart how their algorithm can quickly fit it to the right scale and rotate it in the right direction before measuring the distance from each point and ranking it. On the following few days I will be trying to mimic this algorithm and see if it works in Unity accurately and reliably without breaking the program.
On Thursday, I went to Beijing together with my friends for a short 4 days tour! Early in the morning around 6am we woke up and prepared to go to the airport. However, when we reached, our flight got delayed from 10am to around 1240pm. This short delay made us all very tired after we reached Beijing. However, we quickly found our Airbnb and had a good dinner of Peking Duck before going to sleep preparing for the next day. From Friday till Sunday, we spent our time exploring Beijing’s cultural sights as well as trying out as much local cuisine as possible. We explored Tiananmen Square, Forbidden city, Summer Palace and walked through some of the more famous alleys in Beijing. Some of the better food that we tried was the peking duck, zhajiang mian, 京酱肉丝 and craft beers. One of the things that struck me the most is how huge Tiananmen square is as well as how huge the forbidden city is. Especially the forbidden city where only the people that the Emperor allowed can enter the city. I am also especially impressed by how well they were able to maintain the state of the ancient city, where the colours and shapes were very well maintained. All in all, I am very satisfied with this trip to Beijing, where I got to see more of the Chinese culture and try out so many good cuisines.
This week passed by quickly, but I felt that I made full use of my time, pursuing my interest as well as exploring China. The task assigned to me for DIP is very interesting and I am having a lot of fun trying to get it to work. This is a good week and I hope following weeks will be interesting as well. I am looking forward to learning more.