FAST Industry Day Vinyl

25 October 2018, Abbey Road Studios

“Music’s changing fast: FAST is changing music.” To showcase five years of digital music research the FAST project hosted an invite only industry day at the renowned Abbey Road Studios. This event included technical demonstrations, talks, performances and a panel discussion that could shape the future of the recorded music industry.

The FAST project (Fusing Audio and Semantic Technologies for Intelligent Music Production and Consumption) explores new technologies to disrupt the recorded music industry and is a collaboration between researchers from Queen Mary University of London, the University of Nottingham and the University of Oxford.

Artcodes were used to create a digital program guide allowing guests to scan Artcodes at relevant locations and learn more about demonstrations, talks and performances. The one hundred and twenty attendees also had an opportunity to take home a unique vinyl record produced for the event with Artcodes on the record sleeve.

Click here to read more about the FAST Industry Day on the FAST project website.

CHI2018: Customizing Hybrid Products

Prof. Steve Benford presented the paper “Customizing Hybrid Products” at the 2018 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

This paper covers research insights into the customisable Artcodes Advent calendar.

“We explore how the convergence of the digital and physical into hybrid products leads to new possibilities for customization. We report on a technology probe, a hybrid advent calendar with both paper form and digital layers of content, both of which were designed to be customizable. We reveal how over two hundred active users adapted its physical and digital aspects in various ways, some anticipated and familiar, but others surprising. This leads us to contribute concepts to help understand and design for hybrid customization – the idea of broad customization spanning physical and digital; end-to-end customization by different stakeholders along the value chain for a product; and the combination of these into customization maps.”

You can view the paper on ACM Digital Library (subscription) or Nottingham ePrints (free).
DOI: 10.1145/3173574.3173604.

Make and Leave Your Contributions to the Museum

Join us for a workshop at the National Videogame Arcade (NVA) and you will be able to not only play games but also to share your personal game experience through drawing your own artcode and record your own story or reaction to the exhibition. Then you will be able to leave your contribution in the museum for the public to view.

The workshop is running Saturday 2 September and Saturday 9 September 11:00-17:00.

If you would like to take part but cannot make the above slots, please email: Susan Ali ( to arrange a date and time.

DIS2017: Enabling Hand-Crafted Visual Markers At Scale

The latest developments in Artcodes will be presented in an academic paper at ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2017.

This includes:

DIS2017 will be held 10-14 June in Edinburgh (registration required) with the paper available via open access around that time.

You can read the paper on the ACM Digital Library or University of Nottingham ePrints.

Artcodes on Carmina’s New Album

Artcodes features on Landmarks, the new album from Bristol-based jazz-folk fusion band Carmina. The title track was inspired by the Carolan guitar which also plays on the recording, so it seemed only sensible to incorporate Carolan’s Celtic Artcodes designed by Liz Jeal on the album cover too. Scanning the codes links to bonus materials including videos of the song being composed, recorded and performed.

Read more:

Artcodes goes to MozFest 2016

28th to 30th October, Ravensbourne, London

Artcodes is going to be showcasing our brand new wallpaper as well as getting you to interact with our Stalker wall illustration. You will also be able to be the first people to build your own Christmas with Artcodes advent calendar. With three events across the venue we are excited to showcase it all to you.

We are running our Stalker illustration and advent calendar workshop with the Tale of Two cities zone and our wallpaper is being held with the MozEx across the site.


_MG_9400 (1)The underlying sci-fy story is one of rebellion by the Stalkers against their oppressors. Opening elements of the narrative position the experience as a call to arms and the illustration as an “inter-dimensional communication device”. The associated digital experience takes the form of a game comprising a series of missions that require interaction with not only the illustration but also nearby people and places. Download the Storicodes app (AppStore, Google Play) and come and give it a go, see if you can crack the code to open the safe!

View on the MozFest schedule: Saturday 11:15am-2:45pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm, Sunday 11:00am-2:30pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm


wp-wallpaper-mock2Liz Jeal and Lilli Cowley-Wood were commissioned to produce a wallpaper using our newest developments with Artcodes, colour filtering and angle recognition, enabling those stood at different angles to each other to gain different information. Various uses for the wallpaper have been discussed such as audio story-telling in a child’s bedroom to seasonal information about the British wildlife in your back garden and how you can help support and conserve it. We want you to come and explore these developments and help suggest ways in which it can be implemented.

Check out his and other works in the MozEx publication.

View on the MozFest schedule: Saturday 10am-1.30pm, 1pm-4.30pm, Sunday 11am-2.30pm, 1pm-4.30pm

Christmas with Artcodes

culgojrwcaamku6A fun customisable, interactive advent calendar to use with the Christmas with Artcodes app. We would like to invite you to be the first in creating your very own interactive calendar in our one hour workshop session, where we will help you adapt and personalise your calendar to take home with you.
The calendar comes with 24 Artcode stickers you can put under any doors. When these stickers are scanned by the Christmas with Artcodes app on a smart phone or tablet they open a digital surprise.
Learn how to draw your own Artcodes and how to connect your Artcodes to your own pictures, videos or music. A fun way of creating your own interactive art!

Click to here to view on the MozFest schedule (Sunday 11:00am-12:00pm) >>

Show and Tell at Tate Britain

Taylor Digital Studio, Tate Britain, London
10th October 2016

This Show & Tell will connect and focus on MozEx, a digital art exhibition co-curated by digital learning teams at Tate and V&A, collaborating with the Mozilla Foundation for the Mozilla Festival 2016 (Ravensbourne, London, 28th-30th of October 2016).

The exhibit explores links between art, society, and the digital world. Explore the value of art to society through web literacy, digital inclusion and accessibility, privacy, policy, and hacking. Artists, designers, creative technologists, makers, coders, scientists, visual journalists – from techies to newbies! – join the conversation that relates to our lives online.

Artcodes will be presenting the interactive wallpaper at Show & Tell with a short presentation on how collaborations between designers and computer scientists has resulted in beautiful interaction, putting human back into computer human interaction.

Read more:

Give a Voice to the Portraits

Join us for a workshop on Wednesday 31 August 2-4pm at the Wallner Gallery/ Lakeside Arts Gallery/ University Park Campus/ University of Nottingham and receive a £5 voucher for the Pavilion Cafe.
You will be able to not only meet members of the Latin American community through a series of striking portraits but also hear them tell their stories by scanning images with your phone. You will then have the opportunity to draw your own patterns and link them to a recording of your own story or reaction to the exhibition.
If you would like to take part, please email: Susan Ali ( or follow the link below (places are limited).
Best Regards
Susan Ali
PhD Student
Computer Science

Give a Voice to the Portraits with Horizon Artcodes technology

Following two successful exhibitions in Manchester and London, “Uncovering the Invisible” will be on display at Nottingham’s Lakeside Wallner Gallery, Mon 25 Jul – Sun 11 Sep (

“Uncovering the Invisible” is a photographic collaboration between British-Mexican photographers Pablo and Roxana Allison focusing on the diversity of backgrounds and life stories of Latin-American people living in the UK. While Latin Americans contribute economically and culturally to the shaping of British society, they remain unrecognised as an ethnic minority in law. The photographic project aims to shed light on this multi-ethnic group and to support and progress official recognition of this community.

Artcodes will enable you to not only meet members of the Latin American community through this series of striking portraits but also hear them tell their stories. For this exhibition, bespoke Artcodes were designed taking inspiration from the outline of the countries of the people portrayed. By scanning the Artcodes next to these portraits you will be given access to hidden content and listen to their stories for yourself.

Image: Image of Fernando Abadie by Pablo and Roxana Allison

Interactive Wallpaper

Lilli and I recently finished our digitally interactive wallpaper and we’re so pleased to hear that the team at Artcodes like it. Since our brief was mostly concerned with the coding methods we needed to demonstrate rather than the context or aesthetic of the design, Lilli and I had to get our thinking caps on to decide these things before we began. We wanted to show that the application of artcodes can be meaningful and, since we both have an interest in wildlife, we started planning a wallpaper that could be used to address environmental and conservation issues, such as the bee population here in Britain, and rather than just provide facts, give people ideas and information about how they can get involved and help to make a difference.

The wallpaper could be installed either in a public environment, such as a museum for educational purposes, or in a private home. We loved the idea of it being in a summer house or a conservatory. Each time someone goes out to do the gardening they could scan the wallpaper with their artcodes app and get tips for making a bee or hedgehog friendly environment, finding out how to have a healthy ecosystem. And there is potential for the information linked to the artcodes to change over time to match the seasons or changes in animal population. It could even link to an animal survey and where to input results.

NotesColour testing

We started drawing different British animals and plants and playing with our composition. Having the different elements on separate sheets of paper meant that we could physically play with the layout. We soon settled on the idea of having four main scannable ‘wreaths’ with additional creatures and leaves trailing and connecting the different features. Once we had made that decision, the next step was to finalise our drawings and start encoding.

Image of designer drawingImage of the Artcodes app reading a design

The project was really challenging because, although at first Lilli and I thought we had very similar styles, we very soon realised that collaborations can really high-light even small differences. Our first two illustrations looked nothing alike and although we had talked about colour we both applied it so differently our work just didn’t gel. We spent a lot of time discussing, drawing, re-drawing, colouring and re-colouring to make sure that the final wallpaper flows naturally and the illustrations sit well with one another.

Early designs showing different styles

As well as a challenge, it’s been an exciting project because since I last worked with Artcodes, the app has been developed even further opening up so many more opportunities for design as well as adding endless possibilities for codes. For example, whereas before the app would always attach the same numerical code to an art code it scanned, it can now read different codes depending on the angle at which an art code is scanned. The perspective alters the way the art code is understood and therefore allows different codes to be read and different experiences depending on where the viewer is standing and the angle they are scanning. This got us really excited…although it did also boggle our brains a little in the process. But we are pleased to say that all of our art codes scan with three different possibilities.

Close-up of design (1)Close-up of design (2)

So what’s next? Well, we have just finished testing different colour variations of the wallpaper to see how it affects scanning and to ensure that we can provide the best user experience possible. Once we have the final wallpaper printed we are hoping that we will be able to find somewhere exciting to install it. Since we have designed the wallpaper with both private and public environments in mind, it would be wonderful if we could find a public space to display it and encourage people to interact with the art codes.

Image of a segment of the interactive wallpaperImage of how the interactive wallpaper might look in the homeImage of how the interactive wallpaper might look in a museumImage of a different segment of the interactive wallpaper