Design student Aloke Pillai wins prize in mWomen Design Challenge

York/Sheridan third year design student Aloke Pillai has won a $10,000 prize for his mobile interface design in the international 2013 mWomen Design Challenge. The competition – sponsored by Australian Aid, US AID, Qtel and GSMA – challenged designers to create a smartphone interface that first time users can understand quickly and easily (more about the competition here: The challenge was launched in response to studies that suggest that giving smart phones to resource-poor families in Asia and Africa is socially empowering.

Aloke was informed about the competition by his father from Qatar – who like the best of fathers saw the word “design” in an article and clipped it to send to his aspiring designer son – and he spent his two week Christmas holiday developing the platform for Android. This was not the first time that Aloke had confronted the challenge of designing technology for social empowerment. In high school in Qatar, Aloke worked with AMMA charity, which focused on job creation in developing regions through computer-driven skills development.

Aspiring designer no more, Aloke can now call himself a pro, after beating out professionals from around the world to achieve optimal functionality through design. We at Sheridan College’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design have high hopes for what he will accomplish after graduating from the York/Sheridan Bachelor of Design program next year.

Bruno Degazio Develops Particle System for Music Composition – published in eContact

A serendipitous moment occurred in May 2012 when Bruno Degazio was asked by animator and fellow Bachelor of Animation Faculty member Dave Quesnelle for a piece of sound design for an animation project he was directing, entitled Sky Girl. This project was a co-production between students of Sheridan’s Bachelor of Animation program and a similar program at the Communications University of China in Beijing. The film is based on a Huron Indian myth, which describes the creation of the world from the sound of the drum. The way the Hurons put the idea is, “The sound of the Drum is the heartbeat of Nature.”  Dave’s sound design idea was to have a chaotic mass of natural sounds — frogs, crickets, birds, and so on — which gradually coalesce into a rhythmic pulsation, and then merge with the rhythmic beating of the drum. This is how Bruno’s particle system research project was born.

The project employs Bruno’s experience in music composition, software design and teaching in the Bachelor of Animation program at Sheridan, where students use software particle systems as one of many tools in their animation kits.  The concept is a sort of cross-fertilization of these various interests.

The making of Sky Girl was a perfect process for Bruno to test the Musical Particle System, since one of the software settings controls the degree of chaos in the resulting rhythmic patterns. For the opening of the film, he created a set of audio tracks that illustrated the process applied to various natural sounds, merging eventually with a traditional Huron Indian song accompanied by drum and flute. Dave loved it.

The Journal of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC), eContact, loved it too. They are publishing Bruno’s paper —  “A Particle System for Musical Composition” – in April’s edition. This groundbreaking research was undertaken as part of Bruno’s Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree at the University of Toronto, and supported by Associate Dean of Animation and Game Design, Angela Stukator.