It was interesting to see people’s progress at the recent round table event. We came away excited by the potential of the works but also it became clear that we had probably over complicated our own approach. We’re about three weeks away from the first experimental public Blister Cinema event in Margate which has a game playing theme to tie in with Games Expo East Kent 2015 (GEEK), We felt we were getting bogged down in the details of the simulation effort. Because GEEK is a game festival we want people to freely play and don’t want to be explaining complicated interactions to them. We remembered back to when we first met our scientist and how Neil was keen to describe the physical process in terms of everyday words such as PUSHING, ROLLING, ARRESTING, DILATING, CASCADING… We thought why not just create simple Kinect games which could illustrate these type of verbs.

So for example take PUSHING – just have a single figure and a single cell and allow the figure to push the cell about. Add some gravity and a timer and you could create a Keepy-Uppy game. Now we know that Leucocytes don’t actually play Keepy-Uppy with cells and gravity isn’t particularily a factor in a blister, but they do engage in physical interactions – pushing other cells about.

The simplifying idea is to decouple the interactions from a strict physical interpretation.

This frees up a lot of stuff and makes the simulations much easier to code, allowing us to experiment more quickly, it will also generates more intuitive interactions, and finally it will generates simpler looking footage which will be easier to fit into a future edit. It shifts the focus of the film from being a series of illustrative simulations to something more experimental on one level looking at the art of interaction itself, which is what we really wanted to make a film about about all along!

By including a descriptive voiceover of this type: “See them pushing, squeezing and probing ….”, the connection can be made from the simple spontaneous interactions to the more complex bilogical processes. This isn’t to say there won’t be some complex visuals too – just that these will be created from multiplying / overlaying bits of simpler things in the edit – not done live.

Once we came to this decoupling idea – the rest of the show begins to fall into place. Take Growthlines with its intuitive shadow play, which we’d now like to include. When we’ve shown it before people played with it without being told what to do, or what it was. Now who’s to say that it doesn’t represent a dilating bloodvessel as it swells and bulges? Fade from growthlines to a swarming leucocyte animation representing the VASODILATION and we can finally start to have a clearer idea of the finished film and one that won’t break our back to make.



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360 degree camera

KODAK Camera

First photo with our new PixPro SP360 camera.  We’ll be using it to film sequences for dome projection and to capture interactions as well.

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getting bigger


more dome construction experiments – this one is made with 2mm corrugated plastic and sellotape, the gaffer tape on the front will be coming off tomorrow.

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Horsefly lands in Margate

horseflyHorsefly at Panay Fashion

We’ll be starting our Battle of Blister project in February as part of GEEK 2015, Margate.  Here’s our window promotion to pique interest.

horseflyHorsefly at night

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Francisella Tularensis – The Trojan Horse(fly)

Francisella Tularensis is a particularly devious bacteria, using our own immune system against us. We rely on our immune cells, called macrophages (macro=big, phage=eater), to recognise and eat bacteria. Once the bacteria is ingested by the macrophage they are trapped within phagosomes where the bacteria are broken down and destroyed. Francisella Tularensis is wise to this process and acts like a Trojan horse; it allows itself to be recognised and eaten by the macrophages. Once inside its escapes the phagosome to get into the cytosol, with access to the cells juicy underbelly thus is the perfect place to replicate. Once the Francisella Tularensis has sucked its macrophage dry of all its nutrients to support many many more bacteria the macrophage bursts open to release all the bacteria ready to the whole process again but on a much larger scale causing Tularemia, a potentially lethal infection.

Depicted is the life cycle of Francisella Tularensis reviewed by Audrey Chong and Jean Celli in Frontiers in Microbiology in 2010


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The Horse-fly

We’ve decided to go with the horse-fly as the biter.

Horse-fly bites are painful, and as they rip apart your flesh to suck your blood they can leave behind several nasty bacteria including an evil one called Francisella Tularensis. This can cause serious disease and can even manage to get inside the macrophages which are one of the key agents in our story and trick them into becoming bacteria incubators!

Nicola, who happens to be allergic to horsefly bites, has been building a model of one today.


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Started looking at some very simple fluid simulations – this one is based on a simplified Navier Stokes model which was adapted from various open processing programmers including Phagor . Our scientist said that Blister Fluidics was not much studied area – so we can play freely with our interpretations of how the plasma squelches out of the blood vessels and into the infected area – creating a fluid filled blister pocket. The image is kinect silhouette of Nicola pushing around the red colour with her head.

navier stokes

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