StaffPad: Music Notation App

Okay not going to lie, this is pretty neato, especially for my DJ and music composer friends out there.

StaffPad is a brand new class of notation app, designed to take advantage of the advanced pen and touch input found on Microsoft Surface* and other compatible Windows 8.1 devices. As you write notation using the pen, StaffPad recognises your handwritten music and converts it into a beautifully typeset score which you can further edit, playback, print and share. StaffPad combines the best of working on paper with the best of working digitally, evolving the same process that’s been used for hundreds of years to write countless masterpieces. Natural pen input, detailed orchestral playback and powerful score editing features mean that StaffPad is perfect for professionals, and easy for beginners. For the first time, an entire orchestra is available at the tip of your pen. Getting StaffPad is easy – it’s available exclusively on the Windows Store.



What Happens If Google’s Glasses Are Evil?

We’ve seen Google’s Project Glass and Microsoft’s immersive mobile Xbox. We’ve even seen a new Apple patent arise showcasing a model for HUD glasses. With the big three involved, augmented reality is undoubtedly on its way. But how will it look? How will it feel? And where do we draw the line between the analog world and the digital one?

Sight is a short by Israeli student filmmakers Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo that explores the potential of augmented reality. The short took the team 3.5 months of shooting, editing, and post production, and it’s full of ideas–some good, some bad, but almost all seemingly possible–that show where augmented reality could go if society continues its unbridled addiction with gamification, social networking, and Wikipedia.

This conceptual short is full of brilliant ideas as it is frightening ones. Where do we draw the line between real life and augmented life?


We were inspired by many current day apps and several sci-fi movies. But most of the ideas came from us trying to visualize a world where this tech is standard and what kind of interactions can happen in it. We tried to create interfaces that were believable. I’m very much into fancy complex interfaces, but not to the point where it hinders the viewer’s understanding of the shot. So we tried to carefully tread that fine line of making it look real and pretty, and at the same time communicate with the viewer effectively.

Lazo is right. The visuals are incredibly easy to grasp, with a cooking app that looks straight out of iOS and dating achievements that seem at home on any gaming console. The short’s UIs are a perfect half-step removed from current day technologies, making them great fodder for sci-fi.

But it’s the human elements that they nail–the dual appeal and superficiality of these AR apps–when chopping a cucumber or having a conversation has to become a quantifiable game or skill. A particular moment of brilliance occurs about three minutes in during the date scene. I’m not talking about the UI here. Listen to the cadence of the actors’ dialog. It’s the antithesis of Sorkin rapidfire repartee, as every response prompts a “let me look this up on my phone” information check.

If augmented reality succeeds, we’ll know pretty much anything we want about anything we look at. We’ll be able to remember names through facial recognition, learn skills through integrated coaching, and watch YouTube on 100-inch TVs mounted anywhere imaginable. But whether or not these experiences allow us to appreciate the world as perpetual students or tempt us to trivialize the world as persistent gamers (complete with ads!) is one of the greatest design challenges of the foreseeable future. The fact that we’ve seen so many videos of what this technology might feel like, and that none of them seem all that useful suggests that we still haven’t found the use-case that’ll spur AR’s adoption.


E-book UI That Lets You Flip Pages Like a Real Book

A pretty cool interface that goes just beyond a simple page turning animation. Fairly cool for touch screen tablets like the Ipad but not so much for the Kindle. It lets you ‘thumb’ through your digital book just as you would a physical one, so you can tactilely navigate through an e-book in the same intuitive way we do with paper pages.

So what would a genuinely “intuitive” navigation scheme for e-books look and feel like? Something familiar enough to be easy–which is where a touch of skeuomorphism comes in handy–but “alien” enough to not send us down blind alleys of preconceived notions that no longer apply.


Digital Future



These are two photo manipulations done in Photoshop. Series is called Digital Future.