New Yawk, The Softness of Things

Surfing the Subway

Sometimes when I ride the subway, I stand in the middle of the aisle with my knees bent and ride the train as if it were a less predictable ski-slope.  It’s rather easy but it’s exciting when you catch an empty express train.  The  express trains reach higher speeds, so the feeling is much closer to riding downhill.

After a week or so of building and testing these boards indoors, Marko and I finally took ‘em for a ride on the N train to Astoria at about 2 or 3 am.  Here are some pictures of the ride.

Marko wrote a Jitter patch that takes accelerometer & gyroscope data from a WiiMote and jogs through video accordingly.  The idea is to have the WiiMote attached to the deck while a friend is holding a pico (mini) projector that plays content based on your subway board skills.  Marko came up with some nice animations to project (he’ll post soon).  I’ve been clinging to the idea of giving the user an immersive experience like surfing pipeline.

The video would be a first person surfing experience, with the accelerometer dictating your placement on the wave.  Leaning forward on the deck would increase your speed, while leaning backward would slow you down.  Balancing directly on the center edge of the board would trigger some visual effects (maybe a virtual hand dragging across the wave).

Board tricks would ideally generate applause, but realistically I don’t think the system should include speakers.  Maybe some campy effects like sea creatures appearing when a trick is landed.  This might demand a force sensing resistor to determine if the user stays on the board after the trick is executed.

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