December 19, 2009

Infant Art Appreciation

I recently built for my family a Mac Media Center. It took us some time to save up for this project, but it's finally put together and working out well. (I'll never say it's complete because I'm always tweaking things about it!) Sometime soon I will document all of the components and how I set it up, but here is a preview of just one of the many ways I'm putting it to use here in our home.
In this example is Keagan at 6 weeks old enjoying some artwork I created for him in the form of a screensaver set to music that plays on the TV. I lay him on the bed in different directions so he learns to turn his head and look from different sides. (Sometimes he favors turning his head to the same side, so this helps with that.) I also roll him over or prop him up on his boppy pillow (with supervision of course) for tummy time to watch this engaging screen saver. Research has shown that the combination of high-contrast patterns in black, white and red, and classical music help to stimulate babies' brains and visual recognition. Keagan is just beginning to find visual stimuli very interesting so I'm trying to foster that.

My Mac media center is basically a MacBook Pro hooked up to a flat-screen TV using HDMI among other cables. All the wires and hardware is neatly tucked away inside of a computer armoire. I control it all using the TV remote, my iPhone and sometimes a bluetooth keyboard. (Reviews are in the works for these products, so stay tuned!) I use the MobileAirMouse app on the iPhone and iPod Touch which turns these devices into a wireless remote.

I created this artwork of basic shapes in black, white, and red using iWork Pages. I used the shapes tool and designed high-contrast patterns on twenty four 8 x 11 pages. Next, I exported the document as a PDF, "printed" it to iPhoto and then exported the images in JPG format to my Pictures folder. Then I set the System Preferences Screen Saver to play a slideshow of the images from that folder. Alternatively you could set System Preferences to use an iPhoto Event as your images source.
An iTunes playlist comprised of sample selections of music courtesy of provides the slideshow soundtrack. (Working on a review for this product too!)

Keagan really enjoys this and it helps calm him when he is fussy. Maybe your baby would like this hi-tech toy as well? I know we do!
Here is a video slideshow I've uploaded of my artwork so you can see what it looks like. You can even view it in HD on a full screen. Just put on your favorite classical iTunes playlist, sit back and relax :)