Future-tech fair exposes geeky visions

The CalArts Digital Arts and Technology Expo offers a glimpse into the future of digital entertainment. If the innovations on display here are any indication, the future looks mighty fun.

The Turntable Synthesizer, one of the projects on display at the CalArts Digital Arts and Technology Expo, turns a turntable into a light show. Bruce Lot and Mark Morris

It's that time of year when student boffins the world over display their final projects, offering tantalizing glimpses into their mad-scientist machinations, and possibly the future.

If inventions out of the California Institute of the Arts -- founded by Walt Disney in the early 1960s and now one of the nation's top art schools -- prove prescient, that future includes a wearable interface that lets dancers control music with the flick of a finger and a virtual studio where you can compose tunes by crouching toward the floor. The school will feature those and more student and faculty innovations Thursday at its Digital Arts and Technology Expo, which this year focuses on future directions in gaming, animation, human computer interaction, digital performance, graphic design, projection mapping, and machine learning.

"The work is insane," says Ajay Kapur, associate dean for research and development in digital arts. "Students are coming up with ideas and projects for things I've never seen before. They view technology as another tool for artists -- and are reinventing uses for existing devices and creating completely new applications to create the projects they imagine."

The expo runs from noon to 10 p.m. in Valencia, Calif., just north of Los Angeles. Can't make it? Click through our gallery below to see some of the creative highlights from the event.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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