News from HQ
Digital Media Academy is focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. In fact, STEM is the foundation of almost every tech camp DMA offers.
We (like many top educators) believe that STEM learning and STEM jobs are the future for our youth, and getting valuable STEM education—or sparking an interest in it early—can make a life-changing difference in a persons life.
Science is Super!
The USA Science & Engineering Festival is an organization focused on re-invigorating interest in STEM. As part of that effort, the organization is championing an online petition to make the last week in April National Science Week.
The resolution, called H. Res. 276, was introduced by Rep. Randy Hultren and Rep. Joseph Kennedy and will be voted on later this session. DMA is supporting the effort and hope you will too. You can sign the National Science Week petition here.
Help build awareness and support for the legislation, by signing the petition and spreading the news. Besides that, science is awesome, why not support it?
Getting Hands-on with Science & Engineering
There are plenty of ways to expose your kids to science. The USA Science & Engineering Festival takes place in Washington, DC April 26 & 27th in 2014 and presents exciting, educational and entertaining science in a festival environment. DMA’s Science & Engineering camps take place throughout the summer at DMA’s prestigious university locations like Harvard and George Washington University.
Inspire a future robotics engineer or scientist by investing in 21st-century science skills!
At Digital Media Academy feedback is very important to us. Like most companies we want to know when we’re doing something right and by the same token, if a campers experience doesn’t meet the expectations.
Every year DMA collects exit surveys from campers and their parents. We ask what they liked, what they didn’t like and how we can improve.
We get great feedback…We also get some great stories, like this one, from a parent: Mark Bishop’s son Daniel attended our camp at Stanford University and was absolutely glowing about the program. Mr. Bishop said, “If it wasn’t for DMA, I don’t know where my son would be today.”
Inspiring Kids at Every Age
Daniel, like most boys his age likes to play video games, so Daniel’s Dad thought, why not put him into a video game design camp. He first enrolled Daniel in a DMA camp in 2010. Turns out, DMA inspired a passion in Daniel, who up to that point wasn’t doing as well as he could in school.
Daniel, now 18, has a 3.7 GPA and will be attending UC Santa Cruz this fall. Mr. Bishop attributes it all to DMA, “DMA opened new possibilities for my son, sending Daniel to DMA was the best thing I ever did.”
What Campers Say About DMA
But how about campers that attended our camps in 2013? Here’s just a brief sampling of what they thought of the program:
“It was so much FUN!” – Jack R., Video game design camper, UCSD location
“It was worth every penny, the best part was meeting new friends.” Mateo S., Minecraft camp, UCSD location
“My class was wonderful! I had a great time making music.” – Ethan H., Music & Beats Production camper, Stanford location
“I loved it!” – Peyton R., Minecraft camp, U of Chicago location
“My class was so amazing. My instructor Wes was very nice and funny, he helped me to understand many things. Thank you for the inspiration.” – Basil W., Music & Beats Production camper, Harvard location
The DMA Difference
At DMA it’s our mission to teach kids and teens how to create the future with the latest technology. We take pride in being ranked one of the ten best summer camps in the world, by Worth.com, but we’re not perfect. Like any company we make mistakes, and when we do, we do our best to make them right. It’s why we spend so much time reviewing the feedback from both campers and their parents.
Inspire your son or daughter with a one-week or multiple week technology camp experience at DMA. And if you’ve got a great experience about your summer at DMA—share it with us!
NeuroSky’s MindWave Mobile is billed as “the world’s first comprehensive brainwave reading device,” and recently NeuroSky visited Digital Media Academy’s tech camp at Stanford University to give campers a first-hand look at NeuroSky’s technology.
NeuroSky’s MindWave lets a user both control apps and monitor their attention span by transmitting their brainwaves onto a visualizer.
The device is also compatible with PC or Mac. NeuroSky let kids try on the device while at the same time demonstrating some of the unique and almost “magical” features. It was both cool and awe-inspiring.
Reading Your Brainwaves
The plastic MindWave headset is light and easy to wear; it’s also easy to set up. The headset includes all the attachments required for mind-reading, like an ear loop and clip and the sensor arm and tip. Accessories for the headset (like cat ears) are sold separately.
A NeuroSky representative demonstrates the Necomimi Cat Ears. These move with your thoughts, like real ears!
To get your brain readings, the device has to be firmly attached to your head, and the ear clip has an extremely firm grip on your earlobe while the sensor tip is pressed into your forehead. However, neither component is uncomfortable to the extent of being unwearable. The headband is well balanced and sturdy, and surprisingly comfortable. And even with its light weight, the headband doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile.
The MindWave reads brainwave signals of users and separates them into three categories: attention, meditation and eye blinks. Each category utilizes a meter to measure your concentration level. The attention meter rises or falls depending on your attention. The meditation meter, for example, rises when you don’t concentrate. Campers who tested the device were wowed by the extreme accuracy that the device showed when recognizing brainwaves.
The MindWave not only reads your brain waves and analyzes them, but makes specific recommendations of mental activities that can shift your brain back into high gear.
Currently there are a handful of apps in the Apple App Store that support the MindWave but more are on the way. There are also more feature-rich versions of the MindWave that are available, too. The version tested at DMA’s tech camps retails for $99.
Thanks to the guys at NeuroSky for stopping by DMA’s tech camp at Stanford University to show us this incredible technology. Thought control is just one of many amazing things we thought we would be able to do in the future. Well, the future is here!
The war for the living room escalated Wednesday with Google’s announcement that it was releasing a small USB device that will stream Internet content to your TV.
Chromecast is a two-inch, thumb-sized, Wi-Fi-enabled device that streams media (YouTube videos, movies and music off Google play) from the Internet like Apple TV or Roku. Unlike those devices which cost around $100, Chromecast is only $35. Plugging the device into a USB port on your flat panel TV is all the installation required.
Google claims the device has no set-up time or learning curve, and works with a smartphone, tablet or computer as the remote. The price point makes it super accessible for anyone. (That is, anyone with a Wi-Fi connection.)
Broadcasting Live via Wi-Fi
The two-inch dongle (that’s a technical term) supports both Android and iOS. YouTube, Google Play and Netflix are expected to be available at launch with more developers making apps for the device in the future. Other features, like streaming any tab from a Chrome browser running on one of your non-TV devices, make the device any streaming-media fan’s dream. Plus, Chromecast includes three free months of Netflix.
If Apple TV and Roku didn’t already have cable companies extremely nervous, with the Google announcement they certainly are now. Streaming video is the next evolution of TV and the cable companies know it. While currently only 15 percent of households watch online video on their TV sets (according to Google), that figure is expected to triple within the next two years.
Space tourism, self-driving cars and video-game-playing robots. Just a few years ago these would be the things of science fiction, but now they’re science fact…
Private Space Exploration
Recently, at least seven different experiments in space technology were launched at the Mojave Air and Space Port. America’s new space center also has another unlikely client: NASA. That’s right; now the U.S. space agency is contracting with private companies to take NASA materials into space. The recent suborbital research flight was carried into space by a SpaceLoft sounding rocket constructed by UP Aerospace Inc. of Denver.
And the U.S. is just one country involved in space. There’s plenty of talk that says the Japanese may be planning to build a base on the moon and have it built and run by robots—and that if that occurs, it could happen by 2020, which isn’t that far away.
Cars That Can Drive Themselves
You’ve seen it in a million sci-fi flicks. The passenger climbs into the front seat of a futuristic car and then the vehicle zooms off as if being driven by an invisible cabbie. In the car of the Future, the driver is given every possible convenience—and that includes not having to bother with actually steering the vehicle.
But the self-driving car is another futuristic theme that’s rapidly coming true. There are already cutting-edge car models that will park themselves, performing complicated three-point parking moves that would shame a beginning driver. Ford is projecting that self-driving vehicles are quickly on the way, and will probably show up in the marketplace by 2017.
Robots Become Great at Playing Games
Robots reign supreme when it comes to mental showdowns like chess, but what about other games, and even sports? Well, there’s new evidence that shows that robots are becoming tougher opponents both on and off the field.
The air-hockey robot developed at Japan’s Chiba University’s Namiki Lab, is already defeating opponents in the popular arcade game, which first appeared during the 1970s.
The robot has a four-axis arm, twin high-speed cameras and a PC brain. But what makes the robot especially effective at winning air-hockey games is its internal tracking system that monitors the action at a staggering 500 frames per second…and then strategically reacts based upon visual data.
Robots may even play competitive sports someday. Right now, soccer robots are being developed in the Netherlands. Small in stature (1 to 2 feet tall usually, with some up to 4 feet tall) but super-talented in their ability to move down field like real soccer players and handle the ball.
Their makers are already challenging real players, saying that by 2050, robotic players will be able to beat their human counterparts.
The sports-playing robots of tomorrow will be designed by the robotics engineers who learn how to make robots at tech camps like DMA this summer.
Apple’s iWatch is heading to stores. Industry analysts are already predicting the iWatch will become a key product for Apple as we head into the next generation of mobile devices. Wearable technology.
Recently, Apple applied to trademark “iWatch,” in four international markets: Japan, Mexico, Russia and Taiwan. The company is applying resources to the iWatch en masse. Led by Apple’s lead designer, Sir Jony Ive, the project currently has more than 100 designers working on it. Along with countless other engineers and software developers.
Telling Time: Just the Beginning
Apple has made no announcement about the iWatch, so we don’t know the price or what it will do. Still, it’s impossible to imagine that the iWatch won’t heavily influence the world of mobile technology. And tap into the rich Apple universe of iOS-connected products—and integrate with the iPhone, iPad and iPod.
It’s rumored the Apple iWatch will have a 1.5-inch screen made of curved Gorilla Glass. Bluetooth is also expected. And finally, Apple’s go-to manufacturer, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. will produce the devices. As for its release date, no word from Apple yet, but analyst suspect later this year or during the early part of 2014.
Watch-ing the Marketplace
Apple’s not the only company betting on the consumer appeal of a wristwatch-type product that is able to access the Internet and deliver any type of entertainment you wish. There are already electronically enhanced wristwatches on the market. The Sony SmartWatch was released last year, and has just been updated. With it, you can send messages, play games and even monitor your Facebook page. There are also two other similar watches now being sold, under the product names the I’m Watch and the Pebble Watch.
Samsung, another major Apple rival, is working to develop its own wrist-based device, the Samsung Gear. And one more company working along these lines: Microsoft. Looks like the industry’s biggest companies are betting that the future is going to be something we all wear.
Where Electronics Meets Fashion
When Apple does release its iWatch, it will unveil the product to huge expectations. If the iWatch succeeds, it will likely do so to an extent that advances the whole cause of wearable technology. On the other hand, if it fails, it could keep other manufacturers from making their own wearable tech products, setting wearable tech back for what could be years. Either way there’s a lot riding on the iWatch.
Apple makes the computing and electronics devices that the whole world wants. And through Apple’s App Store, more people than ever before are designing and making their own apps and games and even selling them online! Want to discover how to make apps for Apple iPhone and iPad? You can do it this summer, while having a great time at one of Digital Media Academy’s tech camp locations across US and Canada.
News from HQ by Phill Powell
Think of it as a cross between Cirque du Soleil and Maker’s Fair—an event where the attractions have a cool, scientific edge. Sound like fun? We thought so, too. The STEAM Carnival comes to San Francisco and Los Angeles next spring.
The science-based carnival is put on by Two Bit Circus and centered around STEM-based learning. Science, technology, engineering and math are all covered but now an “A” has been added to represent “Art.”
Lasers, Robots and Fire!
At the STEAM Carnival you’re going to see things you won’t see anywhere else: hammer-swinging “strong man” contests that trigger wild voltage displays; exploding ring toss games; mazes made out of laser beams. The organizers are on track to provide a show that engages young minds. As one of the creators put it, “When you say ‘engineering’ to most kids they zone out. But when you say ‘lasers, robots and fire,’ you have their undivided attention.”
The point is to get kids thinking about science in fun and practical ways. Plus, organizers are offering STEAM Carnival kits for sale to those who want to make their own displays and show them off at the STEAM Carnival.
The idea behind the Carnival comes from Brent Bushnell, an engineer and self-styled entrepreneur. Bushnell started Two Bit Circus with partner Eric Gradman—whose colorful background includes stints as a circus performer, professional whistler, roboticist and inventor.
The younger Bushnell takes after his father and follows in footsteps. (Nolan Bushnell was the founder of Atari and has been considered the father of video games. The senior Bushnell serves on the advisory board of Two Bit Circus.)
The Greatest Show on Earth?
There’s been no hotter topic in education recently than the rising importance of STEM (and STEAM)-based learning.
This summer, kids and teens at Digital Media Academy’s tech camps in the US and Canada get hands-on experience in STEM topics like robotics, digital filmmaking, game design, programming, music production, animation, Web design, digital photography and app development.
No matter what a leading circus claims, when you attend a tech camp and everybody starts watching a cool movie that you made that week—now that’s the greatest show on earth.
For filmmakers who are trying to re-imagine comic-book characters and help them keep up with the changing times, it can be hard working at a real film production studio, because they have to surprise the audience while not turning off lifelong fans. For Man of Steel, director Zac Snyder threw out some of the standard conventions that have been attached to Superman during his first 75 years.
For the new blockbuster, Man of Steel, Superman’s distinctive costume has undergone a few changes. For starters, he’s missing his traditional red underpants. And this is the first time the actor’s costume isn’t made of a form-fitting fabric (Man of Steel‘s outfit is made from rubber). And the logo on his chest has also been revised. But the Superman infographic from halloweencostumes.com reminds us this isn’t the first time that his outfit or the iconic “S” has changed…
There are two comic book fan camps—the art and graphic design camp says that it’s the art, layout and character design that make a comic-book hero great, while the other camp says it’s the story. But both play equally important parts in creating a hero.
The Superman reboot swept into theaters this weekend, kicking off a powerhouse summer of blockbuster movies. And Man of Steel has already set an impressive record—making a mighty $113 million during its first weekend of release, which gives the film the biggest box office of any movie ever released in June. (Toy Story 3 held the record with a $110.3 million opening in 2010.)
Box Office Gold
The original superhero, Superman has been very bankable. Over the past 75 years of his history he’s appeared on TV shows, movies, toys, lunch boxes—you name it. Industry analysts estimated the latest cinematic version of Superman would sell a lot of tickets, but most forecasts figured it would make approximately $25 million less in its first weekend. Now, based on Man of Steel‘s projections and proven appeal, Warner Bros. has already announced a sequel. Insiders also hint that Man of Steel, along with movies about the Green Lantern and Batman, are Warner Bros.’ attempt to set up an Avengers-type movies franchise with DC’s Justice League.
Look! Up On The Screen!
It’s been a long journey from Krypton. Superman’s first appearance on the big screen was in 1951 (Superman and the Mole Men) starring George Reeves. Reeves won immortality by playing Superman in the 1950s classic TV series.
For the ultimate comic-book nerd, though, the best Superman movie was probably the one that was never made. In the late 1990s, Tim Burton (Batman, Planet of the Apes) was slated to direct Superman Lives, based on a script by none other than comic-book fanboy director Kevin Smith (Comic Book Men, Clerks) and starring Nicolas Cage.
Superman suits had even been made for Cage, with Burton again using exaggerated cartoon muscle features in the design. Unfortunately, filming broke down during beginning film production. Warner Bros. eventually shelved the project over script problems— sacrificing $30 million the studio had invested.
And most recently, Brandon Routh portrayed Superman in 2006′s Superman Returns.That movie, which was more of a tribute to the Richard Donner-directed Superman movies of the 70s & 80s, earned $391 million worldwide, but unfortunately failed to meet studio hopes to restart the franchise.
But thanks to Man of Steel, the sky is still the limit for Superman. One cast member who’s sure to be returning for any sequels or spin-offs, like Justice League, is Henry Cavill, the new Superman (and his alter ego, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent). Man of Steel was directed by Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) and is certainly one of the must see movies of summer 2013.
Special effects and filmmaking have helped Superman come a long way. (And we’re betting our popcorn that this new film is the first in a new Superman movie trilogy…) If you haven’t seen Man of Steel, check out the latest trailer and you’ll see why we think it’s SUPER!
It’s Day Two of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the video game industry tradeshow being held this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Today E3 is dominated by one story—Sony’s unveiling of the PlayStation® 4.
Promising “unparalleled content, immersive gaming experiences, [and] all of your favorite digital entertainment apps,” Sony called the PS4 “the best place to play with dynamic, connected gaming, powerful graphics and speed, intelligent personalization, deeply integrated social capabilities and innovative second-screen…”
But the gamers in the audience applauded features like not having to require the PS4 to be connected to the internet once every 24 hours to play games…Like the Xbox One. Or play used games on the PS4 without paying a fee…Like the Xbox One. Sony really hammered Microsoft on these features and even took the Twitter-sphere to answer gamers questions about the console.
The PlayStation 4 has quickly become the game system that gamers want to carry them into the next generation of home video game machines:
System Profile: Sony PlayStation® 4
The Big Showdown: PS4 vs. Xbox One
The industry (and gamers alike) have their eyes on Sony and Microsoft (as Nintendo’s Wii U has failed to impress gamers). The question now on everyones mind is: Is the PlayStation 4 a better console than Xbox One?
|PS4 vs. XBOX ONE|
|CPU||Single-chip x86 AMD “Jaguar” Processor (8 cores)||8-core Microsoft Custom CPU||DRAW|
|STORAGE||500GB Hard Drive||500GB Hard Drive||DRAW|
|EXTERNAL STORAGE||TBA||Yes||XBOX ONE|
|RAM||8 GB GDDRS||8 GB DDR3||DRAW|
|MANDATORY GAME INSTALLS||No||Yes||PS4|
|CROSS GAME CHAT||Yes||Yes||DRAW|
|VOICE COMMANDS||TBA||Yes||XBOX ONE|
|REQUIRED INTERNET CONNECTION||No||Yes||PS4|
Gaming for Billions
If you want to make video games instead of just play them, you should know the video game industry is a $17 billion business. The latest generation of consoles is expected to bring the industry (believe it or not) out of a slump.