SFMOMA
SFMOMA
Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons // GFDL

San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art Will Text You Art on Demand

SFMOMA
SFMOMA
Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons // GFDL

The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco is home to thousands of artworks spanning different styles and media. But if you already know what flavor of SFMOMA art you’re in the mood to see, there’s now a way to view it without leaving home. As Engadget reports, the new “Send Me SFMOMA” project allows art lovers to request on-demand images from the museum via text message.

To take advantage of the promotion, you can text 572-51 with the message “Send me…” followed by a feeling, color, or object. Texting “send me birds,” for example, sometimes brings up Rigo 00 (now Rigo 23)’s 2000 piece Lost Rascal depicting a missing cockatiel. Texting “send me sunshine” might show Robert Bechtle’s summery 1977 painting Watsonville Olympia.

The bot even responds to certain emojis, like an ocean wave (this could give you Pseudo Reportage by Nobuyoshi Araki) or a bouquet of flowers (which might turn up Yasumasa Morimura’s An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo [Collar of Thorns]).

SFMOMA doesn’t expect anyone to use the service to browse all 34,678 items in the collection, which is partly the point. By sending one image at a time, recipients are given more time to spend with each one than they may have had in the museum.

“In a world oversaturated with information, we asked ourselves: how can we generate personal connections between a diverse cross section of people and the artworks in our collection?” a statement from SFMOMA reads. “Send Me SFMOMA was conceived as a way to bring transparency to the collection while engendering further exploration and discussion among users.”

Messages sent to SFMOMA may still qualify for local carrier charges, and they only work within the U.S. To explore more artworks from home you can visit SFMOMA’s vast digital collection on its website.

[h/t Engadget]

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SFMOMA
iStock
A New App Interprets Sign Language for the Amazon Echo
iStock
iStock

The convenience of the Amazon Echo smart speaker only goes so far. Without any sort of visual interface, the voice-activated home assistant isn't very useful for deaf people—Alexa only understands three languages, none of which are American Sign Language. But Fast Company reports that one programmer has invented an ingenious system that allows the Echo to communicate visually.

Abhishek Singh's new artificial intelligence app acts as an interpreter between deaf people and Alexa. For it to work, users must sign at a web cam that's connected to a computer. The app translates the ASL signs from the webcam into text and reads it aloud for Alexa to hear. When Alexa talks back, the app generates a text version of the response for the user to read.

Singh had to teach his system ASL himself by signing various words at his web cam repeatedly. Working within the machine-learning platform Tensorflow, the AI program eventually collected enough data to recognize the meaning of certain gestures automatically.

While Amazon does have two smart home devices with screens—the Echo Show and Echo Spot—for now, Singh's app is one of the best options out there for signers using voice assistants that don't have visual components. He plans to make the code open-source and share his full methodology in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

Watch his demo in the video below.

[h/t Fast Company]

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SFMOMA
Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images
The 'David Bowie Is' Exhibition Is Coming to Your Smartphone
 Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images
Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images

"David Bowie is," an exhibition dedicated to the life, work, and legacy of the pop icon, concluded its six-year world tour on July 15. If you didn't get a chance to see it in person at its final stop at New York City's Brooklyn Museum, you can still experience the exhibit at home. As engadget reports, the artifacts displayed in the collection will be recreated in virtual and augmented reality.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, the curator of the exhibit, and the David Bowie Archive are collaborating with Sony Music Entertainment and the sound and media studio Planeta on the new project, "David Bowie is Virtual." Like the physical exhibition, the digital experience will integrate visual scenes with the music of David Bowie: 3D scans will bring the musician's costumes and personal items into the virtual sphere, allowing viewers to examine them up close, and possibly in the case of the outfits, try them on.

"These new digital versions of ‘David Bowie is’ will add unprecedented depth and intimacy to the exhibition experience, allowing the viewer to engage with the work of one of the world’s most popular and influential artists as never before," the announcement of the project reads. "Both the visual richness of this show and the visionary nature of Bowie and his art makes this a particularly ideal candidate for a VR/AR adaptation."

"David Bowie is Virtual" will be released for smartphones and all major VR and AR platforms sometimes this fall. Like the museum exhibition, it will come with an admission price, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.

[h/t engadget]

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