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Yesterday Marco Tempest was on TED‘s stage again, but this time he was not alone; he performed together with our new creation (creature?): EDI, the Magic Robot!

EDI is a heavily customised Baxter robot: we created for him a set of custom manipulators, a few top secret hardware attachments (you know, for magic 😉 ), and a complete “software brain” that enabled him to display a personality, to train with humans and to learn from them.

Waiting for the official video to be released, you can read the post on the ted blog.

A final note: as you can imagine, giving life to EDI was an exciting, but complex job, so I think it’s not surprising that Marco, David (our robotics guru, borrowed directly from MIT’s Media Lab) and I were a little apprehensive about this first live performance. Given the common belief that machines are cold and feelingless, it might surprise that EDI was anxious too: if you don’t believe me, have a look at the following behind-the-scenes video 😉

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Wired just published a 2 pages, well written article on Marco Tempest and his approach on magic, technology and everything in between.
Being the super nice person he is, Marco just told me: “i talked a lot about you an they did not even mention your name 😦 “, but I admit I like the idea of being mentioned as a “nameless coder”: sounds like cyberpunk hero 😉

Here’s the article: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/05/worlds-most-wired-magician-marco-tempest/

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First time on stage for Marco Tempest‘s last augmented reality trick!
The ingredients:

– augmented reality objects that interact with the performer using a combination of markerless and natural features based techniques

– fluid realtime full HD special effects using a bit of GPU voodoo

enjoy 🙂

Cyber Cards Live v1.0 from Marco Tempest on Vimeo.

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TED.com just published the video of the last performance I coded for Marco Tempest.
As always the development process was really a stimulating experience: I had the opportunity to remodel an old project by the creative coding rockstar (and dad of OpenFrameworks) Zach Lieberman and teamed up with Kevin Blanc, one of the best art directors a coder could dream of.
The performance itself is a calibrated mixture of experimental augmented reality glasses, 3D special effects and card manipulation dexterity, but, as it often happens in Marco’s work, the narrative component is always central: every shuffle reveals a story hidden inside the deck of cards, following a tradition that dates back to a 19th century story called The Soldier’s Prayer Book. If you’re interested, Marco tells more about this story and about the narrative use of playing cards in an interview published on TEDBlog.

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Marco Tempest just performed at TEDGlobal 2012 the show we prepared in the last 2 months. It was a revisitation of one of his classics: a mix of card tricks and augmented reality, realized with the help of a set of weareable devices, that we could describe as our own DIY reply to Google Glass.
I’ll post videos and more info soon, but for now you can check TEDblog’s post.

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TEDblog dedicated a nice post to our Tesla_behind_the_scenes video: go read it here!

Making of “Nikola Tesla in Sound and Light” from Marco Tempest on Vimeo.

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I already spoke about the piece on the life of Tesla I created for Marco Tempest‘s TED talk; today the video of the performance is finally available on ted.com:

Also, if you’re curious to know how we did it, there is a nice behind the scenes video on Vimeo.

Enjoy 🙂

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