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HP Unveils Do-it-yourself Toolkit to Create and Share Mobile, Interactive Experiences


HP today announced a prototype software suite and website to enable people to design, create and share location-based experiences, games and tours with friends, family and others, anywhere in the world.

The site makes available a new HP Labs technology, code-named “mscape,” that overlays digital sight, sounds and interactions on the physical world to create immersive and interactive experiences called mediascapes.

Users equipped with a GPS-enabled mobile device running the mscape player can move through the physical world, triggering digital media - including images, text, sounds, audio and video - in response to physical events such as location, proximity, time and movement. Blending online information with gaming, storytelling and the outdoors, mediascapes can offer people of all ages a new way to experience their surroundings.

The site,, allows designers of all ages to create, post and share their digital location-based mediascape experiences. Mediascapes can be created using simple, web-based authoring wizards. For more advanced mediascapes, a PC-based authoring toolkit is available for download. The mscape player is also available for mobile devices.

Unlike PC-based applications, mscape technology provides a highly interactive, fun and engaging experience when users are out and about in the real world. mscape’s context-sensitive logic, combined with GPS and mapping technology, allows gamers, travel, GPS and outdoor enthusiasts to take their experiences to a higher level. The solution is so flexible that different digital files can be overlaid in the same space and delivered at different times, depending on which other locations in the mediascape the user has already visited.

Speaking at the HP Mobility summit in Shanghai, where the beta version of mscape was launched today, Phil McKinney, vice president and chief technology officer, Personal Systems Group, HP, said, “The mscapers site puts HP Labs technologies in the hands of consumers, gamers and professional designers so they can imagine what’s possible and create it. HP will continue to use this open, collaborative model to bring new innovations to market.”

The website provides everything people need to develop their own mediascapes, including training and tips to get started. There are numerous ready-made mediascapes at the site, which can be downloaded by anyone with a GPS-enabled HP iPAQ or other handheld device running the Windows® Mobile operating system.

The mscape authoring tools are designed to be easy to use and provide near limitless opportunities for mediascape designers, including:

* Creating mediascapes to bring to life a community’s history and stories;

* Designing augmented reality games, sharing the fun with friends and strangers;

* New ways of socializing, entertaining and learning.

Once a user has created a mediascape, it can be published on the website so that others can try it for themselves.

HP Labs, the company’s central research facility, has been investigating the use of pervasive, context-aware services for several years. Earlier versions of its mscape technology have been used extensively by artists, media professionals, schoolchildren of all ages, educators and community groups to design and create their own mediascapes. So far there have been more than 1,500 downloads of earlier versions of the mscape toolkit.

HP Labs has worked with creative media groups to build a range of experimental mediascapes in recent years and a number of these are now available to download. They include:

* Doubloons - a portable mediascape that can be played anywhere in which users set sail for adventures in the Caribbean Sea during the golden age of pirates.

* Scubascape - turns an HP iPAQ into a virtual diving mask so users can explore ocean depths anywhere in the world … without getting wet.

* Zombies - a toxic cloud is turning people into zombies and the game-player has just 10 minutes to rescue townspeople before they become infected as well.

* Riot 1831 - an interactive, location-relevant play for voices, re-creating the drama, fear and mayhem of an infamous riot in Queen Square, Bristol, UK. More than 100 digital files were placed in 37 locations, so users walking through the square could hear the riot as if they were really there.

* ’Scape the Hood - investigates the potential for combining storytelling with location-aware mobile technologies. Participants were able to walk around the Mission Village Market and other areas in San Francisco, and learn about history, culture and stories through mediascapes created by local people.

HP mscape prototype software suite and website were announced at “Making Connections: The 2007 HP Mobility Summit” in Shanghai, China. More information on this HP event, including the latest news and live event photos and videos, is available at


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