Tangible and social interaction

Posted on Mar 18, 2005 in Interaction design, Research, Social, Technology, Ubicomp

h3. Brief history of interaction

(Based on Dourish, see reading recommendations, below)

Each successive development in computer history has made greater use of human skills:

* electrical: required a thorough understanding of electrical design
* symbolic: required a thorough understanding of the manipulation of abstract languages
* textual: text dialogue with the computer: set the standards of interaction we still we live with today
* graphic: graphical dialogue with the computer, using our spatial skills, pattern recognition, and motion memory with a mouse and keyboard

We have become stuck in this last model.

Interaction with computers has remained largely the same: desk, screen, input devices, etc. Even entirely new fields like mobile and iTV have followed these interaction patterns.

h3. Definitions:

* Tangible: physical: having substance or material existence; perceptible to the senses
* Social: human and collaborative abilities, or ‘software that’s better because there’s people there’ (Definition from “Matt Jones”:http://blackbeltjones.typepad.com/work/ and “Matt Webb”:http://interconnected.org/home/)

h3. Examples

Dourish notes in the first few chapters of his book that as interaction with computers moves out into the world, it becomes part of our social world too. The social and the tangible are intricately linked as part of “being in the world”.

What follows are examples of products or services we can use or buy right now. I’m specifically interested in the ways that these theories of ubiquitous computing and tangible interaction are moving out into the world, and the way that we can see the trends in currently available products.

I’m aware that there are also terrifically interesting things happening in research (eg the “Tangible Media Group”:http://tangible.media.mit.edu/) but right now I’m interested in the emergent things that start to happen effects of millions of people using things (like Flickr, weblogs, Nintendo DS, and mobile social software).

h3. Social trends on the web

On the web the current trend is building simple platforms that support complex social/human behaviour

* “Weblogs”:http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html, newsreaders and RSS: simple platform that has changed the way the web works, and supported simple social interaction (the basic building blocks of dialogue, or conversation)
* “Flickr”:http://www.flickr.com/: a simple platform for media/photo sharing: turned into a thriving community: works well with the web by allowing syndicated photos, bases the social network on top of a defined funciton
* Others include del.icio.us, world of warcraft, etc.

h3. Social mobile computing

On mobile platforms most of the exciting stuff is happening around presence, context and location

* “Familiar strangers”:http://berkeley.intel-research.net/paulos/research/familiarstranger/: stores a list of all the phones that you have been near in places that you inhabit, and then visualises the space around you according to who you have met before. “More mobile social software”:http://www.elasticspace.com/2004/06/mobile-social-software
* “Mogi”:http://www.thefeature.com/article?articleid=100501: location based game, but most interestingly supports different contexts of use: both at home in front of a big screen, and out on a small mobile screen.

h3. Social games

Interesting that games are moving away from pure immersive 3D worlds, and starting to devote equal attention to their situated, social context

* Nintendo DS: “PictoChat”:http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=57287, local wireless networks that can be adapted for gameplay or communication (picture chatting included as standard)
* “Sissyfight”:http://www.sissyfight.com/: very simple social game structure, encourages human behaviour, insults
* “Habbohotel”:http://www.habbo.no/: simple interaction structures, (and fantastic attention to detail in “iconic representations”:http://www.scottmccloud.com/store/books/uc.html) support human desires. Now a very large company, in over 12 countries, based on the sales of virtual furniture
* “Singstar”:http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=55470: entirely social game, about breaking social barriers and mutual humiliation: realtime analysis/visualisation of your voice actually makes you sing worse!

h3. Tangible games

* “Eyetoy”:http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=4525: Brings the viewer into the screen, creates a “performative and social space”:http://www.prandial.com/archives/2005_01.html#009045, and allows communication via PS2
* “Dance Dance Revolution”:http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=52731: taking the television into physical space
* “Nokia wave-messaging”:http://blackbeltjones.typepad.com/work/2004/06/motional_rescue.html: puts information back into space, and creates social and performative opportunities (Photo thanks to Matt Webb)
* “Yellow Arrow”:http://www.yellowarrow.org: puts digital information into city space, gives us a glimpse of the way that we might have more interaction with situated information in the future

There are also very interesting aspects of “gender”:http://foe.typepad.com/blog/2005/01/embodied_intera.html in all of this: this move towards the social implies a move towards the type of games/play that is seen more often in girls.

h3. Recommended reading

“Where the Action Is, Paul Dourish”:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0262541785/ (Read the first 3 chapters for a great introduction)

“Digital Ground, Malcolm McCullough”:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0262134357/ (Exploring the relationship between architectural and digital spaces)

“Physical Computing, O’Sullivan, Igoe”:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/159200346X/ (Practical book on making physical computing devices)

“Smart Mobs, Howard Rheingold”:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0738208612/ (Exploring wider social aspects of mobile technology)

“The Humane Interface, Jef Raskin”:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201379376/ (Covers screen based interaction, but has the best discussion on ‘modes’ of any book)

“Mind Hacks, Matt Webb and Tom Stafford”:http://www.mindhacks.com/ (Looks at our interaction with the world from the perspective of neuroscience, great introduction to ‘affordances’)

Sound objects

Posted on Feb 25, 2005 in Interaction design, Research, Sound, Technology, Ubicomp

These are some of my notes from Mikael Fernström‘s lecture at AHO.

The aim of the “Soundobject”:http://www.soundobject.org/ research is to liberate interaction design from visual dominance, to free up our eyes, and to do what small displays don’t do well.

Reasons for focusing on sound:

* Sound is currently under-utilised in interaction design
* Vision is overloaded and our auditory senses are seldom engaged
* In the world we are used to hearing a lot
* Adding sound to existing, optimised visual interfaces does not add much to usability

Sound is very good at attracting our attention, so we have alarms and notification systems that successfully use sound in communication and interaction. We talked about using ‘caller groups’ on mobile phones where people in an address book can be assigned different ringtones, and how effective it was in changing our relationship with our phones. In fact it’s possible to sleep through unimportant calls: our brains are processing and evaluating sound while we sleep.

One fascinating thing that I hadn’t considered is that sound is our fastest sense: it has an extremely high temporal resolution (ten times faster than vision), so for instance our ears can hear pulses at a much higher rate than our eyes can watch a flashing light.

h3. Disadvantages of sound objects

Sound is not good for continuous representation because we cannot shut out sound in the way we can divert our visual attention. It’s also not good for absolute display: pitch, loudness and timbre are relative to most people, even people that have absolute pitch can be affected by contextual sounds. And context is a big issue: loud or quiet environments affect the way that sound must be used in interfaces: libraries and airplanes for example.

There are also big problems with spatial representation in sound, techniques that mimic the position of sound based on binaural differences are inaccessible by about a fifth of the population. This perception of space in sound is also intricately linked with the position and movement of the head. “Some Google searches on spatial representation of sound”:http://www.google.com/search?&q=spatial+representation+of+sound. See also “Psychophysical Scaling of Sonification Mappings [pdf]“:http://sonify.psych.gatech.edu/publications/pdfs/2000ICAD-Scaling-WalkerKramerLane.pdf

h3. Cartoonification

‘Filling a bottle with water’ is a sound that could work as part of an interface, representing actions such as downloading, uploading or in replacement of progress bars. The sound can be abstracted into a ‘cartoonification’ that works more effectively: the abstraction separates simulated sounds from everyday sounds.

Mikael cites inspiration from “foley artists”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foley_artist working on film sound design, that are experienced in emphasising and simplifying sound actions, and in creating dynamic sound environments, especially in animation.

A side effect of this ‘cartoonification’ is that sounds can be generated in simpler ways: reducing processing and memory overhead in mobile devices. In fact all of the soundobject experiments rely on parametric sound synthesis using “PureData”:http://www.puredata.org/: generated on the fly rather than using sampled sound files, resulting in small, fast, adaptive interface environments (sound files and the PD files used to generate the sounds can be found at the “Soundobject”:http://www.soundobject.org/ site).

One exciting and pragmatic idea that Mikael mentioned was simulating ‘peas in a tin’ to hear how much battery is left in a mobile device. Something that seems quite possible, reduced to mere software, with the accelerometer in the “Nokia 3220″:http://www.nokia.com/phones/3220. Imagine one ‘pea’ rattling about, instead of one ‘bar’ on a visual display…

h3. Research conclusions

The most advanced prototype of a working sound interface was a box that responded to touch, and had invisible soft-buttons on it’s surface that could only be heard through sound. The synthesised sounds responded to the movement of the fingertips across a large touchpad like device (I think it was a “tactex”:http://www.tactex.com/ device). These soft-buttons used a simplified sound model that synthesised _impact_, _friction_ and _deformation_. See “Human-Computer Interaction Design based on Interactive Sonification [pdf]“:http://richie.idc.ul.ie/eoin/research/Actions_And_Agents_04.pdf

The testing involved asking users to feel and hear their way around a number of different patterns of soft-buttons, and to draw the objects they found. See “these slides”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/timo/tags/soundobjects/ for some of the results.

The conclusions were that users were almost as good at using sound interfaces as with normal soft-button interfaces and that auditory displays are certainly a viable option for ubiquitous, especially wearable, computing.

h3. More reading

“Gesture Controlled Audio Systems”:http://www.cost287.org/

Spatial memory at Design Engaged 2004

Notes on two related projects:

h2. 1. Time that land forgot

* A “project”:http://www.elasticspace.com/timeland/ in collaboration with Even Westvang
* Made in 10 days at the Icelandic locative media workshop, summer 2004
* Had the intention of making photo archives and gps trails more useful/expressive
* Looked at patterns in my photography: 5 months, 8000 photos, visualised them by date / time of day. Fantastic resource for me: late night parties, early morning flights, holidays and the effect of midnight sun is visible.
* Looking now to make it useful as part of more pragmatic interface, to try other approaches less about the abstracted visualisation

* “prototype”:http://www.elasticspace.com/timeland
* “info, details, research and source code”:http://www.elasticspace.com/2004/07/timeland
* “time visualisation”:http://www.elasticspace.com/images/photomap_times_large.gif

h2. 2. Marking in urban public space

I’ve also been mapping stickering, stencilling and flyposting: walking around with the camera+gps and “photographing examples of marking”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/timo/sets/8380/ (not painted graffiti).


This research looks at the marking of public space by investigating the physical annotation of the city: stickering, stencilling, tagging and flyposting. It attempts to find patterns in this marking practice, looking at visibility, techniques, process, location, content and audience. It proposes ways in which this marking could be a layer between the physical city and digital spatial annotation.

h3. Some attributes of sticker design

* *Visibility*: contrast, monochromatic, patterns, bold shapes, repetition
* *Patina*: history, time, decay, degredation, relevance, filtering, social effects
* *Physicality*: residue of physical objects: interesting because these could easily contain digital info
* *Adaptation and layout*: layout is usually respectful, innovative use of dtp and photocopiers, adaptive use of sticker patina to make new messages on top of old


Layers of information build on top of each other, as with graffiti, stickers show their age through fading and patina, flyposters become unstuck, torn and covered in fresh material. Viewed from a distance the patina is evident, new work tends to respect old, and even commercial flyposting respects existing graffiti work.


Techniques vary from strapping zip-ties through cardboard and around lampposts for large posters, to simple hand-written notes stapled to trees, and short-run printed stickers. One of the most fascinating and interactive techniques is the poster offering strips of tear-off information. These are widely used, even in remote areas.


Initial findings show that stickers don’t relate to local space, that they are less about specific locations than about finding popular locations, “cool neighbourhoods” or just ensuring repeat exposure. This is opposite to my expectations, and perhaps sheds some light on current success/failure of spatial annotation projects.

I am particularly interested in the urban environment as an interface to information and an interaction layer for functionality, using our spatial and navigational senses to access local and situated information.

There is concern that in a dense spatially annotated city we might have an overload of information, what about filtering and fore-grounding of relevant, important information? Given that current technologies have very short ranges (10-30mm), we might be able to use our existing spatial skills to navigate overlapping information. We could shift some of the burden of information retrieval from information architecture to physical space.

I finished by showing this animation by Kriss Salmanis, a young Latvian artist. Amazing re-mediation of urban space through stencilling, animation and photography. (“Un ar reizi naks tas bridis” roughly translates as “And in time the moment will come”.

h2. Footnotes/references

p(footnote). Graffiti Archaeology, Cassidy Curtis

p(footnote). Street Memes, collaborative project

p(footnote). Spatial annotation projects list

p(footnote). Nokia RFID kit for 5140

p(footnote). Spotcodes, High Energy Magic

p(footnote). ?Mystery Meat navigation?, Vincent Flanders

p(footnote). RDF as barcodes, Chris Heathcote

p(footnote). Implementation: spatial literature

p(footnote). Yellow Arrow

Design Engaged 2004

We are all sat around a table in Amsterdam, at Design Engaged 2004. There are lots of photos going up to Flickr, and here are my notes.

h2. Ben Cerveny
* The growth of the soil
* How do we comprehend complexity
* How do we build structures around complex information
* Accreting meta-data: GPS data, descriptive information

h3. Decomposition
* Break down of material as it hits the soil
* Soup, tags, condensed and distilled meta objects

h3. Self organisation
* sorting mechanisms, affinity browsers, related, filtering, emergent relationships, interrelationships
* How do we conceive a metaphor for building these processes? A structure that is meaningful for the users.
* Application design: movement through states of application: to tending to a flow of processes
* Tending to meta-data is a growth process
* DLA diffusion limited aggregation, natural process model
* The relationships between metadata can be visualised as this * Should model metadata using plant models: plant models have existed for eons, basic structures for material

h3. Rules for expression
* L-systems growth, mimics biological rulesets
* Map rule-sets in metadata onto L-systems, affinity rules
* Branching tree structures could be used to make metadata more useful

h3. Roots and Feeds
* RSS feeds, a root system, aggregator has roots, to the surface of a newsreader

h3. Structural information
* After applying rules of expression (algorithms, l-systems) we could see differences in the way that the plant has evolved
* A “botany” of these different structures: smaller, larger clusters, structures.

h3. Cultivation as culture
* From a user perspective the idea of cultivation: users can actually affect change: can breed your own searches, using searches generationally, using own adapted metaphors for new contexts
* Mix and match mechanisms or instruments (specific rule-sets) move expressions and apply them to different rule-sets
* Don’t have to understand genetics, but we have found use for plants for generations
* User doesn’t need to know mechanisms, just ability to make changes and view outcomes

h3. Tending the garden
* Incredible complexity, incredible diversity
* Not intimidated by the complexity of the garden
* Present similar tools to tend to data

h3. Discussion
* Casey Reas: organic information design
* Thinkmap, physical simulation systems
* Mitchell Resnick: Turtles Termites, Traffic Jams
* Matt J: Does it rely on visual metaphors: how do we get people to cultivate rather than consume?

h2. Thomas Van Der Wal
* Synching feeling

h3. Everything fit in our brain
* then libraries
* then digital bits
* then putting everything in one place
* Our information on our pdas, cellphones, somewhere
* The dream is that we have accurate information at our disposal when we need it
* Personal info-cloud
* Local info-cloud: should it be located?
* External info-cloud: things you don’t know about
* How do users use information?
* Device versus network?
* Our networked space, that exists out in space
* Usable: syncing between two devices: calendar, address book, to do list
* Dodgy: documents, media maps, web-based info, multiple devices
* Personal version control: different devices have different versions
* Personal categorisation:

h3. Standard metadata for personal info-cloud
* content description
* creator
* privacy
* context
* use type (eg)
* instruction: destroy, revise in 6 months
* object type:
* categories: not a structured system, but hackable flat data

h3. Actual solutions
* Spotlight (Apple Tiger)
* MIT Project Oxygen

h3. Possible/partial solutions
* Script aggregation by metadata tag
* Publish to private/public location in RSS
* Rsynk and CVS
* Groove (Windows)
* Quicksilver (Mac)

h2. Adam Greenfield
* All watched over by machines of loving grace
* Some ethical guidelines for user experience in ubiquitous computing environments
* Ubicomp is coming: IPV6 6.5×10 to the 23 addresses for every square metre on the planet
* Moving from describing to prescribing
* Technological artefacts are too dismissive of people
* Someone to watch over me: attractive as well as scary

h3. Default to harmlessness
* must ensure user’s physical psychic and financial safety
* must go well beyond graceful degredation
* faults must result in safety

h3. Be self disclosing
* Contain provisions for immediate, transparent querying of ownership, use, capabilities, etc.
* Seamlessness is optional
* Analogue of broadcast station identification or military IFF
* Web derived model for user-consent: cannot carry over to ubicomp, would be too intrusive to have to approve each and every disclosure of information in four space

h3. Be conservative of face
* ubiquitous systems are always already social systems: they must not unnecessarily embarras, himiliate or shame
* Goes beyond formal information-privacy concerns
* Prospect of being nakedly accountable to an inseen omipresent network

h3. Be conservative of time
* Must not introduce undue complications into ordinary operations
* Adult, competent users understand adequately what they want, shouldn’t introduce barriers
* Potential conflict with principle 1

h3. Be deniable
* Should be able to opt-out, anytime, anywhere, any process
* Critically: the ability to say no, without sacrificing anything but the ability to use whatever usage
* The “safe word” concept may find an application here

h3. Discussion
* Fabio: what about gossip
* Chris: surely there’s human responsibility
* Tom C: Social control includes humiliation and embarrasment
* Molly: systems for shaming: can be institutionalised and applied in problem places: difference between smart and smartass. Haven’t got good enough at modelling situations in order to get this right.

h2. Stefan Smagula
* Teaching and writing about interaction design

h2. Mike Kuniavsky
* Writing about ubicomp, society and social
* Material products areform from social values
* Products affect how we think
* The pattern is “a recognition of the complexity, unpredictability, confusion of the world”
* The framework of thought of the last 600 years is coming to an end
* “by dividing the world into smaller pieces, ways can be found to explain it”: this method is waning
* Communication and transportation has been the key driver of this change
* Shown people (designers?) how complex life is
* Most people don’t know what to do about this complexity
* At the end of the prescriptive rationalist vision of the world
* It is our job as designers to recognise these ideas: “design is a projection of people’s ideals onto product”
* Past the confusion of postmodernism: the complexity hasn’t been branded yet, hasn’t been given a core set of ideas
* Book: Human built world
* The complexity of the world is an uncomfortably bright light, people turn away: designers can make it manageable
* Go to the light of compexity!

h3. Discussion
* Adam: are we up against biological limits: are we wired to deal with things in a linear way? Yes: physiological limits: 7 +-2.
* Ben: we conceive as a subtractive process: a mental scene out of an excess of input: we have a body of linear tools to process. There is a realisation that we are non-linear systems: technology is becoming us, and the other way around.
* Matt: we can learn complexity way more than we realise: tests show that we subconsciously learn complexity beyond language and rational thought
* Magical thinking is not wrong: all our models are wrong
* Tom C: Looking at people as shearing layers of perception and cognition

h2. Remon Tijssen
* Behaviours, tactility and graphics
* Tensionfield between playfulness and functionality

h2. David Erwin
* The funnel
* Serial, parallel and optional interfaces

h2. Peter Boersma
* Transactional interfaces
* ezGov uses IBMs RUP
* RUP is weak in user-experience
* Added StUX, definitions of deliverables for user experience

h2. Dan Hill
* Self centred design
* Not selfish design
* Background: adaptive design, design as social process, inspiration from vernacular architecture, hackability, allowing and encouraging people to make technology what they want to be
* Inspiration from trip to US
* Assumption that UCD is generally a good thing
* The focus on usability has distracted people: it has become an end in itself
* UCD manifests itself in usability, at the expense of usefulness
* Cultural and social products: massive variation of use across the globe
* Products most innovative at BBC/music: audioscrobbler/lastFM: intense meaning in the patterns it generates. More innovative than iTunes music store. Steam: setting reminders for radio stations: hacked third party product, BBC is trying to support this innovation.
* This innovation is coming from non-designers
* Veen: Amateurised design: the most interesting design on the web: Shirky: Situated software
* Always consider a thing in it’s next larger context: Eliel Saarinen: useful piece of design process. Chair, room, house, city.
* A lot of information about the self, coming out of these systems
* Audioscrobbler: looking at ones music, bookmarks, photos, lunches, weblog posts, gps co-ordinates: how does this affect habits?
* Pace of development: what can be done on the web.
* Self-knowledge and enlightenment: how does it affect one’s life
* The practice and focus of design is moving towards behaviour

h3. Limitations
* This is early adopter activity, this is geeky, high barrier to entry, it requires code to make these things. It’s self limiting: only certain kind of people can make these products.
* Scaleability problems: resilience: lack of reliability of iterative development, when will we be at the stage when we can rely on things working?
* BBC, radio broadcasting needs to be resilient: public service
* Database design and scaleability: Flickr doesn’t need to be normalised
* Common appeal of these things is self-limiting: too much systems level thinking.
* Moving into a space where products are social, and can have social meaning, and thus be socially harmful
* People’s assumption and experiences are based on context
* Need to be more rigourous about understanding social patterns
* audioscrobbler is not good at classical music
* Designers and researchers need better understanding of each other
* Designers are at their most useful when they are enabling adaptive design
* Using ethnography within a design process, look at long-term ethnographic process: hooking it into the rapid prototyping of the adaptive design world
* There is the value of sociology here. Ethno-methodology, Heidegger
* Book: Where the action is, Dourish.
* Social systems work well when there is accountability
* Building things where this also builds an account of the building
* Place and space: place being about social structures
* Embodiment: Appropriating products, building social meanings into products
* Accountability: part of the action is a documentation of the action (Dourish). Is ‘view source’ accountability?
* Book: Presentation of self: Irvine Goffman

h2. Matt Webb
* Neuroscience and interaction design
* This is really mostly psychology
* Game: remembering animals
* Light comes from top left
* Easier to react in the direction that things approach you from
* Dialogue boxes, work with natural directions
* We follow human eye direction, not robot eye direction, pulling a lever is faster when eyes point in that direction
* We respond the same to arrows as we do to gaze
* All that neuroscience has done is to confirm what we know from psychology
* 3 types of object, animate, inanimate and tool
* 3 zones: graspable, peripersonal The schema of the body is extended by the held tools
* Our body space is quite mutable: space on a screen becomes the space represented by the body, anything which moves as part of your hand becomes part of your grasp, there’s an amount of time that this takes to understand this, learning process and experience
* Grasping has as much primacy as a cup itself: so “sit down” or “chair” are equivalent in the brain
* If we see or say grasping, or looking at coffee cup shows
* “What to do with too much information is the great riddle of our time” a* Mapping observed phenomena to the science of jetstreams, same thing will happen to neuroscience.

h2. John Poisson
* The stretch time conundrum
* Sony is a huge force: vaunted to villified in three short decades
* Loss of brand value: products are not meeting user expectations
* Sony founders have changed, directions have changed
* One of the problem is in the fact that it’s japanese: basic simple cultural processes
* Hikaru dorodango: process refinement as creative expression: successively sculpting and crafting mud balls into spheres
* 3 interconnected languages are undocumentably mixed
* Languages are connected to neurological development: learning japanese at an early age increases the threshold of tolerance of the pain of complexity: Kanji pain begets user pain.
* At first thought that it was a problem of language, but then realised this increased tolerance of complexity pain.
* Sony “iPod killer” is a user-experience nightmare, but for japanese it’s not too complex
* There’s an overall acceptance of complexity in Japan
* Pattern based learning: origami: 48 steps of process, more complex than interfaces
* Stretch time: at 3o’clock on the Sony campus everyone stops, music plays and everyone is encouraged to stretch.
* Process is good: start with rice cookers and end up with transistors: releasing lots of stuff and then seeing what works. But there are a lot more misses than hits at the moment

h2. Sanjay Khanna
* Kurt Vonnegut in “Cold Turkey”
* Mike: intended effects are insignificant compared with the emergent effects, just noise compared to the overall outcomes

h2. Niels Wolf
* Intro to JXTA
* Works on every network device
* Allows control over your data, sharing, peer to peer backup
* Implemented in many languages: including python
* Assigned a unique number, which works across IP, bluetooth, mobile rendezvous, etc.
* Everybody becomes a server if no other can be found

h2. Molly Wright Steenson
* All hail the vast comforting suburb of the soul
* Lots of research into garden cities
* Worried that the future is going to be boring
* Closing off some avenues for development by focusing on urban environments
* What are the constraints that define a suburb?

h2. Jack Schulze
* Mapping and looking
* Lots of cool stuff: no notes.

h2. Matthew Ward
* Questioning the commodification of space
* We are social, spatial, temporal beings

h3. What were the conditions for the rise of these spatial technologies
* 2001 descrambling of GPS
* FCC policy to make sure 911 callers can be located
* Ubiquity of mobile phones
* If we don’t move away from the “where’s my nearest pizza” we are going to get really bored really soon
* Differential space: socio-spatial differences are emphasised and celebrated
* Iain Borden: Skateboarding
* “social space is a social product.” “Our task now is to construct everyday life, to produce it, consciously to create it, boredom is pregnant with desires, frustrated desires” Lefebvre.

h2. Chris Heathcote
* Nuts and bolts, how to use location
* Location is co-ordinates
* Location is names and titles
* Location is also near Matt Webb, or near my iBook: relative position might be more useful way of thinking
* Physical augmentation: using, abusing, changing where they live
* Visual design: Buddy finder on mobile phones: spatially false, chart junk
* Context awareness is really hard:
* What happens when you get rid of the maps?
* Lots more cool stuff that I didn’t take notes on…

h2. Matt Jones
* Nokia: Insight and foresight
* A hard problem: “Ubicomp is hard, understanding people, context and the world is hard, getting computers to handle everyday situations is hard, and expectations are set way too high.” Gene Becker, Fredshouse.net
* Next-gen mobile: big screens, more whizzy features, but we still have the same old messy world
* A modest start: being in the world instead of in front of the screen
* 3220: 5140: power up covers with new capabilities
* 3220: LED displays with accelerometers and thus motion capture
* Where the action is: This ignores 99% of our daily lives
* dance dance revolution and eyetoy: new world
* 5140: first RFID reader phone
* New ways of using mobiles with touch based tech
* easy and concrete access to services and repeat functions
* transfer of digital items between devices as simple as a gesture of giving
* in the future also fast and convenient local payment and ticketing: fast, easy way of getting settings and services
* When you count all the steps to make simple actions are about 100 actions: to find settings, set up the human modem thing
* Touch actions are potentially two orders of complexity less: into 1 action
* LAunched active cover with NFC: near field communication: philips, sony, visa, samsung: nfcforum.org
* Pairing things up, putting things together (how is this different from BT? passive chips)
* Prototype things!
* NFC is a touch based RFID technology
* Putting the information into the tag: can contain more than an ID
* Close mapping to physical objects: Dourish
* NFC active objects will have mixed spirit world of objects having magic behind them: permitted moves for games, origins of objects, spime like stuff,
* One to one mapping: multiple digital meanings on objects
* it’s not a one-way world: these things are re-writeable: secular isn’t the dominant way of thinking
* Now that we can give objects spirit world, semiotic, actions
* Into fetish objects: auspicious computing, unique wooden balls (minority report)
* Friendster: a game of how many connections. Turning into an info-fetish physical game
* – phones are precious, tags are not
* – throwaway, data detritus, spime spume
* + programmatic product life-cycle
* + audit trails for trash
* + automation of recycling
* Techno-optimism
* WWF: sustainability at the speed of light

h3. Long now, (Stewart Brand)
* Fashion
* Commerce
* Infrastructure
* Governance
* Culture
* Nature
* Sometimes technology can disrupt these layers

h2. Fabio Sergio
* From collision to convergence
* How I learned to stop worrying and watch tv on my mobile phone
* 2001: who the hell would want to watch tv on a mobile?
* 2003: using mobile to watch big brother from the car
* consultants: timeliness, context sensitivity, self-expression, immediacy, relevance
* People rely on their connected devices to fill-in interstitial time slots
* Armed with this notion outlets aquired content and chopped it into 3-5 minute videos
* The end result is too much navigation and not enough content, undermines the concept of “snacking”. The navigation has become the experience
* Navigation is not bad per-se, the web is arguably built on it
* Flow: where the consumer is completely engaged with interaction
* Mobile content experiences happen in contexts that basically negate the ability to focus
* How do you access video: at the moment through a browser
* Big Brother: lessons learnt
* Always on-ness: there is aways something new happening: marshall mcluhan meets orwell
* Something might happen at any time
* Action can be just a video call away
* Easy to get into the flow of what’s happening
* Cut to measure: as little or as long as you want
* Conversation-based: you can keep hearing when you can’t watch: don’t need to look at the screen
* Why should the browser and media player be two different applications? should probably be one.
* People need context medium content, probably in this order
* The handset should be a remote control: as much as possible make navigation resident on teh device
* Content should be snackish: but should be grouped
* The experience should be around the on/off switch

h2. Timo Arnall

* “Presentation and notes”:http://www.elasticspace.com/2004/11/spatial-memory-design-engaged

h2. Sunday discussion

* Brief: design a ticket machine that also allows city navigation and takes care of tourists and busy commuters equally, that doesn’t have a screen
* Alternative brief: A permanent tag large enough to contain digital info, that could be unobtrusively attached to anything in public space
* Mechanisms for friendly denial

h3. I’m lost: design a physical pathway which
* includes the idea of signs to explain features of teh environment to the unmediated
* which could serve as a compensation or apology for people denied in the ubiquitous sense
* which was distinctively local and amsterdamish
* includes infrastructure
* poetics and emotional enhancements required

Overheard somewhere at the bar: anthropology/ethnography is this year’s library science: another new/old juxtaposition. Not that I agree.

Art + communication 2004

Posted on Oct 6, 2004 in Art, Conferences, Mapping, Media, Research


“Even”:http://www.polarfront.org and I presented our “Timeland”:http://www.elasticspace.com/timeland/ project during the 3 day conference and exhibition.

I have made a large “photo set”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/timo/sets/18602/ at Flickr, and we have been using the tag “art+communication”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/artcommunication/ for collaborative documentation.

The highlight of the event was a trip to Limbazi, for the opening of “Piens”:http://locative.x-i.net/piens/info.html the “milk” project, looking at the personal stories around the mapping of milk routes through the EU. It was really good to see GPS being used as a storytelling tool, a way of opening up personal stories in the documentary process.


A big thankyou to the RIXC lot, and everyone involved.

Design research books

Posted on Aug 8, 2004 in Adaptive design, Graphic design, Reading, Research

What is a designer: things, places, messages

Norman Potter.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Models and Constructs

Norman Potter.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Design Research: Methods and Perspectives

Brenda Laurel Ed.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Design Writing Research

Abbott Miller, Ellen Lupton.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com


Jessica Helfand.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Geo-referenced photography

Posted on Jul 6, 2004 in Photography, Place, Research, Technology

The easiest way of linking photos to locations is to combine the time-stamps from both a digital camera and GPS receiver or other location-aware device. If this data is available (over the same period of time) it’s possible to process a series of images and location tracks to stamp each image with location metadata.

Here are a few resources, papers, projects, guidelines and other geo-reference issues.

h3. Papers

* “Position-annotated Photographs: The Geotemporal Web”:http://www.dmst.aueb.gr/dds/pubs/jrnl/2003-PC-GTWeb/html/gtweb.html
* “GEOREP: Digital Library for Spatial Data”:http://www.dlib.org/dlib/december96/canada/12proulx.html
* “Geographic location tags on digital images, Microsoft [pdf]“:http://wwmx.org/docs/wwmx_acm2003.pdf
* “Portable digital photo album [time based interface]“:http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~elec418/project/project2handedin/nsiu/prototype.html

h3. Prior work

* “Tokyo Picturesque”:http://www.downgoesthesystem.com/devzone/exiftest/final/ “[Details]“:http://www.downgoesthesystem.com/devzone/exiftest/details/
* “Habitat Perspectives”:http://www.marumushi.com/apps/perspectives/
* “Photo Location”:http://www.986.org/sites/ghogh/CDC/CDC_5505.html “[Details]“:http://www.986.org/sites/ghogh/CDC/CDC_metadata.html
* “Geo Snapper”:http://www.geosnapper.com/index.php
* “WWMX web demo”:http://www.wwmx.org/WebClient.aspx
* “Good list of other photo mapping projects”:http://transmutable.com/PhotoMaps/

h3. Geo-referencing Photos

These are some commercial applications and scripts that link photographs to geographic information.

* “Robophoto”:http://www.robophoto.com/settings8.html
* “93 Photo Street”:http://transmutable.com/93PhotoStreet/
* “Photofusion”:http://topofusion.com/photofusion/
* “Media Mapper”:http://www.redhensystems.com/products/
* “OziPhotoTool”:http://oziphototool.alistairdickie.com/
* “GPS photo link”:http://www.geospatialexperts.com/
* “GPS TrackMaker”:http://www.gpstm.com/eng/screens_eng.htm
* “QuakeMap”:http://www.earthquakemap.com/
* “WWMX Travelogue application “:http://www.wwmx.org/Download.aspx/
* “AkuAku: GPS tagged jpegs”:http://akuaku.org/archives/2003/05/gps_tagged_jpeg.shtml
* “Adding GPS Information to EXIF Images with Photostudio”:http://www.stuffware.co.uk/articles/00000001.html
* “GPS Photo Linking in iViewMedia Pro [Mac]“:http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2004/06/15/gps_photo.html
* “GPS plotting in Flash”:http://www.marcosweskamp.com/components/tokcomponents/geoplotter/demo.html

h3. GPS track and waypoint extraction

Transferring data from GPS devices can be problematic. If this is going to work in a wider, collaborative context there is a need to make guidelines for this process. It is also really important to make sure units and timezones are correctly set up on all software, so that no translation happens as the data is converted. Exported data also tends to be messy, with mixed tracklogs and waypoints, which for us meant a lot of hand-tweaking.

* “Garmin Mapsource”:http://www.garmin.com/cartography/
* “MacGPS Pro”:http://www.macgpspro.com/
* “GPS Babel”:http://gpsbabel.sourceforge.net/
* “GPSylon tool for downloading/viewing GPS data”:http://gpsmap.sourceforge.net/
* “GPS to GEO-RDF”:http://www.hackdiary.com/archives/000040.html
* “Some notes on coordinate translation”:http://life.csu.edu.au/geo/dms.html

h3. Extracting EXIF data

To get a handle on the photographic data we need to look at the embedded EXIF information, which contains things like capture date, time, exposure and aperture.

* “Python Exif Parser”:http://pyexif.sourceforge.net/
* “Media Metadata for Python”:http://sourceforge.net/projects/mmpython/
* “Extracting EXIF data with Python”:http://simon.incutio.com/archive/2003/11/13/exif
* “Geo tagging images: Exif GPS with python and java”:http://kennethhunt.com/archives/000935.html
* “EXIF metadata extraction in java”:http://www.drewnoakes.com/code/exif/

h3. Content metadata guidelines

In order to standardise the sharing of geographic information (tracklogs and waypoints) we need to think carefully about the formats used. We initially intended to use locative packets, but have ended up using GPX format alongside some custom XML for time and photo information.

* “Locative packets”:http://locative.net/workshop/index.cgi?Locative_Packets
* “Other recommended vocabularies”:http://locative.net/workshop/index.cgi?Recommended_Vocabularies
* “GPX namespace manual”:http://www.topografix.com/gpx_manual.asp
* “JPEG RDF strategy for storing location info”:http://nwalsh.com/java/jpegrdf/jpegrdf.html
* “W3 RDF geo-vocabulary”:http://www.w3.org/2003/01/geo/
* “Describing and retrieving photos using RDF and HTTP”:http://www.w3.org/TR/photo-rdf/
* “Exif vocabulary workspace – RDF Schema”:http://www.w3.org/2003/12/exif/
* “Vocabularies for w3photo project”:http://esw.w3.org/topic/W3PhotoVocabs

Spatial annotation projects

!/images/yellowarrow01.jpg(Yellow Arrow)!:http://www.yellowarrow.org

p(caption). Image from Yellow Arrow project.

h3. “Murmure”:http://www.murmure.ca/

An archival audio project that has collected stories set in specific locations throughout Vancouver’s Chinatown. At each of these locations, a murmur sign marks the availability of a story with a telephone number and location code. By using a mobile phone, people can listen to the story of that place while engaging in the full physical experience of being there. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.

h3. “Area Code”:http://www.areacode.org.uk/

Invites you to collect and reflect upon your immediate environment, and enables new forms of engagement and information exchange between person and place. Areacode aims to inspire comments about the affect of urban regeneration in the city.

h3. “Yellow Arrow”:http://www.yellowarrow.org

A physical sticker allows people to mark places of interest, then tell a story about it using a photographic record.

h3. “Grafedia”:http://www.grafedia.net/

Grafedia is hyperlinked text, written by hand onto physical surfaces and linking to rich media content – images, video, sound files, and so forth. It can be written anywhere – on walls, in the streets, or in bathroom stalls. Grafedia can also be written in letters or postcards, on the body as tattoos, or anywhere you feel like putting it. Viewers “click” on these grafedia hyperlinks with their cell phones by sending a message addressed to the word + “@grafedia.net” to get the content behind the link.

h3. “The Blue Plaque project”:http://www.blueplaqueproject.org

Collect all of the plaques in London, and then to put the people and events they commemorate in context – with their time, their contemporaries, and location.

h3. “Implementation”:http://nickm.com/implementation/

Implementation begins as sheets of stickers, with a different text on each sticker. We will distribute these sheets to individuals, both personally and via post. Instructions, asking people to peel the stickers off and place them in an area viewable by the public, will accompany the sheets.

h3. “Talking street”:http://www.talkingstreet.com/

Using everyday technologies, like your own cell phone, Talking Street offers new ways to explore a destination. It’s having an ultra-savvy resident show you around — a guide who can reveal what a place is really like, and how it got that way.

h3. “The intelligent street”:http://www.informal.org/street/

The intelligent street will enhance the experience of users in both locations by creating a gentle sonic playground that reflects the cultures of its users, entertain and act as a talking point. Users will be able to interract by sending SMS messages from their mobile phone. A display in each location and on the web will give optional information about how users are engaging.

h3. “Neighbornode”:http://www.neighbornode.net/

Group message boards on wireless nodes, placed in residential areas and open to the public. These nodes transmit signal for around 300 feet, so everyone within that range has access to the board and can read and post to it.

h3. “TAG: Scripting Presence”:http://a.parsons.edu/~awhung/thesis/site/concept.htm

The inundation of consumer and mass media advertisements has eroded the presence of the individual within the city. In my thesis, I will explore how we can reclaim our physical landscape by reinserting the individual through visual representation into her/his urban environment. My intent is to create a momentary place to communicate messages of self-expression contributing to a network in which the next user can connect and experience.

h3. “R-Click”:http://www.nttdocomo.com/presscenter/pressreleases/press/pressrelease.html?param%5Bno%5D=379

An area-information service from NTT DoCoMo incorporating mobile phones and a “wireless tag” device. A small, handheld RFID device will enable users to receive a wide variety of area information as they walk around the new metropolitan cultural complex of shops, restaurants, entertainment facilities, residences and hotels (Roppongi Hills).

h3. “Public Play Spaces”:http://civ.idc.cs.chalmers.se/projects/pps/

A platform for creative work exploring the playful, emotional and appropriate incorporation of technology into everyday public life. Drawing on our combined background in art, architecture, game and interaction design, the work focuses on developing both innovative design methods and experimental prototypes for social interventions in public space.

h3. “Trailblazer”:http://www.interaction-ivrea.it/theses/2002-03/f.li/

A computer-mediated communication tool for supporting a virtual community. It attempts to integrate aspects of physical activity by community members in the real world into the virtual environment and to provide a structure for discourse around those activities.

h3. “34 North 118 West”:http://34n118w.net/

Lets the user uncover samples of Los Angeles’s hidden history as s/he navigates through the multi-layered depths of downtown’s most poetic and surreal space. The result is a new kind of ‘scripted space’…

h3. “InterUrban”:http://interurban.34n118w.net/

A user-driven experience that responds to participant’s amble through the city streets. Factors such as the distance traveled by the listener, time of day and proximity to fictive events, determine how the narrative unfolds.

h3. “Hidden natures”:http://www.heretico.net/pretext.html

Location based narrative. Texts read by actors are the voices of the characters you hear as you walk through a space. A double headed arrow on the screen of your pocket computer (PDA) indicates the narrative direction – the future in one direction and the past another

h3. “Greyworld: Telescapes”:http://www.creativetime.org/consumingplaces/art_greyworld.html

Visitors discover a soundscape of messages left for them by both the artists and the public via voice and email. This interactive installation calls attention to how advances in cellular and wireless technologies contribute to the ubiquity of personal communications in public spaces, while illuminating the relationship between the built environment and the invisible networks that make these fleeting exchanges possible.

h3. “Geoloqus”:http://www.geoloq.us/blog/

Geoloq.us is a service that lets users leave behind memories, comments and digital artefacts in a physical location, for others to discover and enjoy. A cameraphone with a web browser is all you need to use geoloq.us; browse pictures from the place you’re at, comment a location or a picture and find out what’s nearby. Tag your items and surf those tags for similar items from other people in other places.

h3. “GeoNotes”:http://www.sics.se/research/article.php?newsid=105

Based on positioning technology, allows people to attach virtual notes to real world locations. When other people pass the location, they will be notified about the note and will be able to read it. GeoNotes allows mass-annotations with no or little restrictions on accessing others’ GeoNotes. It is also social in the way it incorporates social filtering techniques to sort out unwanted GeoNotes.

h3. “GeoStickies”:http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/noriyuki/artworks/geostickies/index.html

An interactive public art project that enables us to make and access to collective of personal memory that could have been overlaid on to urban space. The project puts some “tags” of small events onto geographical fields so that the audience can feel correspondence between “Information space” and “Urban space”. The audience will find tiny electronic memorials for tiny events. But those are only visible or able to be experienced through mobile phones.

h3. “GeoGraffiti”:http://www.gpster.net/geograffiti.html

To demonstrate the concept of waypoint sharing we have been developing a number of waypoint sharing applications. These applications access the waypoint lists for retrieval and storage of waypoint data and other accessory information, such as text, images, audio, video, or links to other information.

h3. “Digital Graffiti (Siemens)”:http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,119598,00.asp

The application allows mobile phone owners to send a message, similar to an SMS (Short Message Service), to a geographical point where it appears on the screens of other users passing through the defined location. Unlike an SMS, the message is not sent to a person but rather to a location, and can be received by a number of mobile phone users entering the defined radius.

h3. “Ambient Wood”:http://machen.mrl.nott.ac.uk/Projects/Digitalplay/Ambientwood-I.htm

An outdoor playful learning experience. Pervasive technologies are used to digitally augment a woodland in a contextually relevant way, enhancing the ‘usual’ physical experience available to children exploring the outdoor world. Studies show this to be a highly engaging novel experience for learners, that effectively supports collaborative learning, as well as providing preliminary guidelines for designing different ways of delivering digital information for learning.

h3. “Thingster”:http://thingster.org/

Lets you publish information about places. You can use thingster to discover things in your own neighborhood that might be interesting to you – and you can use thingster to publish information about things that you find interesting. Thingster also provides signalling and discovery services for discovering other nearby folks with interests similar to your own.

h3. “World-Wide Media eXchange”:http://wwmx.org/

The project explores possibilities with digital photographs and geographic location. The location where a photo was taken provides clues about its semantic context and offers an intuitive way to index it, even in a very large collection. The combination is powerful, but still not supported well by either the photo-software or camera-hardware industries.

h3. “Mobile Media Metadata”:http://hci.stanford.edu/cs547/abstracts/03-04/040402-davis.html

Leverages the spatio-temporal context and social community of media capture to infer media content.

h3. “Altavistas”:http://proboscis.org.uk/prps/docs/p_hooker_kitchen.html

An experimental project to explore how physical and electronic spaces can be designed in conjunction with each other to provide new kinds of experience in the city.

h3. “mStory”:http://www.techkwondo.com/projects/mstory.htm

A mobile mapping and recording system built for the PocketPC platform. It integrates GPS tracking technology with a set of diary-like recording features. mStory assign a variety of attributes to recorded locations, including photos, audio recordings, narrative descriptions and icons.

h3. “Katumuisti tositarinoita Helsingista [Street memories]“:http://www.katumuisti.net/

Personal local stories for public listening using mobile phones & billboard notices.

h3. “Interactive portrait of the Liberties”:http://www.mle.ie/~vnisi/liberties/indexLib.html

An interactive digital narrative application providing multimedia content to individuals and to groups, which is relevant to them at a particular point in time and space.

h3. “Section”:http://www.section.ws/

A database video project, currently under development, that examines the embedded syntax of our routes through the city and challenges the mediated experiences of the urban environment through methods of collecting, editing and compositing video.

h3. “TRACE”:http://www.research.umbc.edu/%7Erueb/trace/paper.html

A memorial environmental sound installation that is site-specific to the network of hiking trails near the Burgess Shale fossil beds in Yoho National Park, British Columbia.

h3. “Map Hub”:http://www.maphub.org/

MapHub is a web-based, multi-user, group managed information storage system and map. Collecting information about people, places, events, and notes, can help to document unseen narratives and histories in public or private theme-based Hubs.

h3. “Community Mapbuilder”:http://mapbuilder.sourceforge.net/

Offers a range of resources to help organizations get started with standards-based online mapping. The main initial focus is creating an open source framework to allow communities to jointly build geographic databases and share them over the web.

h3. “Annotated multimedia Google map”:http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000917034960/

This how-to will show you how to make your own annotated Google map from your own GPS data. Plus, you’ll be able to tie in images and video to create an interactive multimedia map.

h3. “City of memory”:http://www.localprojects.net/cofm/cofm.shtml

A narrative map of New York City that allows visitors to create a collective memory by submitting stories. Visitors link stories together by theme, creating new “neighborhoods” of narrative that can be explored by others. Stories can be recommended, giving new visitors a sense of the narrative created by the populace.

h3. “TeleTaxi”:http://www.year01.com/teletaxi/

A site-specific media art exhibition in a taxicab. The taxi is outfitted with an interactive touch screen that displays video, animations, music, and information triggered by an onboard GPS(Global Positioning System) receiver which allows the displayed artwork to change depending on where the taxi is in the city.

h3. “New York Songlines”:http://home.nyc.rr.com/jkn/nysonglines/

By relying on maps, signs and Manhattan’s perpendicular geography, New Yorkers have given up something important: a sense of place. If you can get from your starting place to your destination without knowing anything about the points in between, chances are you won’t pay much attention to them.

h3. “Touch Tone Tours”:http://www.touchtonetours.com

Delivers tour guides of popular landmarks, museums, attractions and the unusual to wireless devices. “More info”:http://ctlss.com.

h3. “Soundwalk”:http://www.soundwalk.com/

Sound recordings as guides to specific locations. Available as audio for sale or as downloaded format from Audible or iTunes.

h3. “Tag”:http://a.parsons.edu/~awhung/thesis/

A street activity proposed for the site of Times Square, NYC. Employing mobile phone text messaging, it focuses on increasing personal contribution and interaction to the experience of this public space. Individuals will participate with one another as they tag designated areas or “nodes?? by displaying their inscription.

h3. “Mogi”:http://www.thefeature.com/article?articleid=100501

A collecting game ‘item hunt’. The game provides a data-layer over the city of Tokyo. As you move through the city, if you check a map on your mobile phone screen, you’ll see nearby items you can pick up and nearby players you can meet or trade with.

h3. “ASAP: another spatial annotation project”:http://www.techkwondo.com/projects/a_s_a_p/index.html

Allows you to visualize your location on a map, use a GPS unit (I use a GPS-based GPS device) to mark your coordinates (or just navigate the map to find your location – especially useful in cavernous cities like Manhattan), annotate that location by titling it and giving it a description, optionally adding an icon or snapping a digital picture with the attached camera.

h3. “Urban Tapestries”:http://urbantapestries.net/

A research project exploring social and cultural uses of the convergence of place and mobile technologies.

h3. “HyConExplorer”:http://www.daimi.au.dk/~fah/hycon/html/

HyCon is a framework and infrastructure for context aware hypermedia systems developed primarily by the hypermedia group at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. The HyCon framework encompasses annotations, links, and guided tours associating locations and RFID- or Bluetooth-tagged objects with maps, Web pages, and collections of resources. The HyCon architecture extends upon earlier location based hypermedia systems by supporting authoring in the field and by providing access to browsing and searching information through a novel geo-based search (GBS) interface for the Web.

h3. “Herecast”:http://www.herecast.com/

Provides location-based services on a WiFi device. At its simplest level, it can tell you where you are. More advanced services can use your location to enhance information lookups, publish presence information and create games.

h3. “Texting Glances”:http://www.mee.tcd.ie/~ledoyle/textingglances.htm

This ambient “waiting” game establishes a symbiotic relationship between a transient audience, a waiting place, and a story engine that matches SMS inputs to image output. By incorporating culturally current messaging norms, the audience becomes an active collaborating author in a layered exploration of social familiarity and public space.

h3. “Public alley 818″:http://www.ikatun.com/k/publicalley818/

Creating and performing artworks in a public alley in Boston, MA, with work selected by participants in the space and online.

h3. “One block radius”:http://www.oneblockradius.org/

Psychogeographic survey of one block in New York, building a multi-layered portrait of a particular part of the city.

h3. “Annotate space”:http://www.annotatespace.com

A project to develop experiential forms of journalism and nonfiction storytelling for use at specific locations. Stories are presented through text, images and audio files that participants can download from the Web to their handheld computers and take with them to the place of interest.

h3. “Annotated Earth”:http://www.annotatedearth.com/

The goal of AnnotatedEarth is to create a user-driven community of quality location and spatial information, a infrastructure for accessing that information, and software that uses that information to provide location-aware information.

h3. “Embedded Theatre”:http://www.interaction-ivrea.it/theses/2002-03/r.genz/

A system for creating immersive narrative experiences where location is an actor. It is the result of an intensive research and design project addressing how interactive narrative can be successfully realized through mobile technology.

h3. “Tag and Scan”:http://www.tagandscan.com/

London-based locational application and service for mobile telephones. The technology allows users to “tag” a physical locations, placing them into meaningful context. Tags can be private or public. Other TagandScan users can scan their environment for public tags left by others. TagandScan essentially enables the community to annotate its physical features.

h3. “Spotcode”:http://www.highenergymagic.com/spotcode/index.html

Each Spot is a circular symbol that holds data like a two dimensional bar code. Users of the latest camera phones point their phone at the Bango Spot circular symbol, click and the mobile site opens on their phone in a matter of seconds.

h3. “PDPal”:http://pdpal.walkerart.org/

A mapping application that transforms everyday activities and urban experiences into a dynamic city that you write. Engages the user through a visual transformation that is meant to highlight the way technologies that locate and orient are often static and without reference to the lively nature of urban cultural environments.

h3. “AmbieSense”:http://www.ambiesense.com/

Context-sensitive technology based on the use of context tags. These small electronic tags are a means of capturing and communicating information about the surroundings.

h3. “Hypertag”:http://www.hypertag.com

A commercial service allowing access to info and content on a mobile phone directly from objects like adverts and signs. It works by allowing infra-red mobile phones, and PDAs (e.g. Palm Pilots or Pocket PCs) to interact with a small electronic tag which is attached to the advert or sign.

h3. “Pathalog”:http://www.patholog.org/

Exploring the ability of a path-based publishing system, based upon GPS tracking technologies, to foster new relationships between communities of users and their environments.

h3. “Waveblog”:http://www.waveblog.com/ / “Wavemarket”:http://www.wavemarket.com/

Three commercial platforms for location based services. You can add information and commentary about restaurant reviews to safety tips. Waveblog lets users upload blog-like information with geographic metadata.

h3. “Rabble”:http://www.rabble.com/

Rabble enables a new kind of self-expression that informs, entertains and connects people through the media they create. Create your channel and post location-based media – your favorite places, photos or an up-to-the-minute newsworthy event. It’s like putting virtual sticky notes on the world around you.

h3. “Earthcomber”:http://www.earthcomber.com/

Lets you connect with customers in a timely, efficient and positive way. By providing a direct match between a user’s favorite and something you offer, Earthcomber brings you to the customer’s attention. In multiple information screens, they can see what you offer and where you are on the map.

h3. “Timespots”:http://www.timespots.com/

Offers ‘location-based services’ on mobile devices (PocketPC/phones) enabling new uses of traditional travel and tourism services. We overcome current limitations (in reach of and access to information and services) by combining information and navigation services with communication services on one device.

h3. “Websigns”:http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2001/jul-sept/websign.html

HP research labs. Using a handheld computer, cellular phone or other device, users can get information on the Web related to physical structures and objects in the immediate vicinity.

h3. “Microsoft Aura”:http://aura.research.microsoft.com/

The Advanced User Resource Annotation system (A.U.R.A.) is designed to provide the ability to access and author annotations on objects and places using machine readable tags. In our system, a user can associate text, threaded conversations, audio, images, video or other data with specific tags. Users can also review the tags and descriptions of the objects they have encountered and annotated in a custom web portal.

h3. “Active Campus”:http://www.calit2.net/briefingPapers/activeCampus.html

Community-oriented ubiquitous computing, exploring the problem and opportunity of sustaining community through mobile wireless technology. The two principal applications in operation are: ActiveCampus Explorer, which uses students’ locations to help engage them in campus life; and ActiveClass, a client-server application for enhancing participation in the classroom setting via small mobile wireless devices.

h3. “Mobile Augmented Reality Systems”:http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/graphics/projects/mars/

Exploring the synergy of two promising fields of user interface research: Augmented reality, in which 3D displays are used to overlay a synthesized world on top of the real world, and mobile computing, in which increasingly small and inexpensive computing devices, linked by wireless networks, allow us to to use computing facilities while roaming the real world.

h3. “Living Memory LiMe”:http://www.memoire-vivante.org/

A network of augmented places within the local community which support the creation and meaningful distribution of informal content within that community. LiMe provides low-threshold interfaces in natural meeting and crossing points within that community, such as cafés and bus stops.

h3. “Location linked information”:http://xenia.media.mit.edu/~mankins/lli/

LLI is similar to augmented reality systems which overlay digital information on top of the physical world. Whereas augmented reality systems typically concentrate on solving the user interface problem, LLI attempts to solve the data access and search infrastructure issues. In LLI users navigate the physical world with a variety of XML-speaking devices, discovering and leaving “handles” to information nuggets.

h3. “MUD London”:http://space.frot.org/mudlondon.html

A kind of collaborative mapping project. it consists of geographical models which are represented as RDF graphs. you can wander round them, like a MUD or MOO, with a bot interface which you can use to create and connect new places.

h3. “Psychogeographical Markup Language”:http://socialfiction.org/psychogeography/PML.html

A protocol that can be used to capture meaningful psychogeographical [meta]data about urban space. PML is a unified system of classification that lurks behind the psychogeogram: the diagrammatic representation of psychogeographically experienced space.

h3. “Spatial Annotation with Locative Packets”:http://locative.rixc.lv/workshop/index.cgi?Locative_Packets

An attempt to fuse powerful concepts of existential declaration (I am here experiencing this!) with networked social communication media. By mixing together a set of terms about space, time, description, social relationship, and media, the locative packet project has described a unique ether over which one form of collaborative map can travel.

h3. “Wooster Collective”:http://www.woostercollective.com/

Huge archive of street artists work, techniques, interviews, and guides.

p(context). Here I am only including projects that mark space, not mobile social software or dynamic gaming, smart-mobs, friend-finders or GPS drawing projects, although I have included a couple of spatial platforms, that aim to standardise the way we mark-up space.

Transcultural mapping workshops

Posted on May 20, 2004 in Art, Conferences, Mapping, Place, Research, Travel

Update: “new website”:http://www.futurefarmers.com/survey/outskirts.html

Adaptive design books

Posted on Mar 17, 2004 in Adaptive design, Interaction design, Reading, Research, Social

Notes on the Synthesis of Form

Christopher Alexander.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Nature of Order

Christopher Alexander.

The Oregon Experiment

Christopher Alexander.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

A Pattern Language

Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Timeless Way of Building

Christopher Alexander.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

How Buildings Learn

Stewart Brand.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams

Mitchel Resnick.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

Steven Johnson.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web

David Weinberger.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution

Howard Rheingold.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Adventures in Modeling: Exploring Complex, Dynamic Systems with StarLogo

Vanessa Colella, Eric Klopfer, Mitchel Resnick.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

A New Kind of Science

Stephen Wolfram.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Control Revolution

Andrew L. Shapiro.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Society of Mind

Marvin Minsky.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Electric Meme

Robert Aunger.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet

Sherry Turkle.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Virtual Community

Howard Rheingold.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Design for Community

Derek M. Powazek.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Community Building on the Web

Amy Jo Kim.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Online Communities

Jenny Preece.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Architecture theory books

Posted on Feb 3, 2004 in Architecture, Place, Reading, Research, Urbanism

City of Collective Memory

M. Christine Boyer.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Breathing Cities: Visualizing Urban Movement

Nick Barley.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture

Manuel Gausa.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Rebuilding the Reichstag

Norman Foster.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Towards a New Architecture

Le Corbusier.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Architecture and Disjunction

Bernard Tschumi.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Manhattan Transcripts

Bernard Tschumi.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Logic of Architecture

William J. Mitchell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Mobile: The Art of Portable Architecture

Jennifer Siegal ed.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

City of Bits

William J. Mitchell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com


William J. Mitchell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Strangely Familiar

Iain Borden, Joe Kerr, Alicia Pivaro, Jane Rendell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachelard, Etienne Gilson, John Stilgoe.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

De Stijl

Paul Overy.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Fragments of Utopia

David Wild.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Architects in Cyberspace

Neil Spiller, Martin Pearce.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Design management books

Posted on Oct 13, 2003 in Adaptive design, Interaction design, Reading, Research

Mastering the Requirements Process

Suzanne Robertson, James Robertson.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Software Requirements

Karl E. Wiegers.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Collaborative Web Development

Jessica Burdman.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Web Redesign: Workflow that Works

Kelly Goto, Emily Cotler.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Rapid Application Development

Steve McConnell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Usability books

Posted on Aug 11, 2003 in Interaction design, Reading, Research, Usability

The Design of Everyday Things

Donald Norman.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Things That Make Us Smart

Donald Norman.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Design of Sites: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience

Douglas K. Van Duyne, James Landay, Jason I. Hong.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

User-Centred Web Design

John Cato.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Contextual Design: A Customer-Centered Approach to Systems Designs

Hugh Beyer, Karen Holtzblatt.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

User and Task Analysis for Interface Design

Joann Hackos, Janice Redish.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Shaping Web Usability: Interaction Design in Context

Albert N. Badre.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Submit Now: Designing Persuasive Websites

Andrew Chak.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Handheld Usability

Scott Weiss.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Web Accessibility for People With Disabilities

Michael G. Paciello.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Design by People for People: Essays on Usability

Russell Branaghan.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Designing Web Usability

Jakob Nielsen.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Usability Engineering

Jakob Neilsen.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Web Site Usability

Jared M. Spool.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Steve Krug.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Game design books

Posted on Apr 11, 2003 in Experience design, Interaction design, Play, Reading, Research

Rules of Play : Game Design Fundamentals

Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Game Design

Bob Bates.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design

Andrew Rollings, Ernest Adams.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Game Architecture and Design

Andrew Rollings, Dave Morris.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Game On

Lucien King.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com


Liz Faber.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Electronic Plastic

Jaro Gielens, Robert Klanten.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Trigger Happy

Steven Poole.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Business and strategy books

Posted on Jan 12, 2003 in Experience design, Reading, Research

The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo

Tom Kelley.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Innovator’s Dilemma

Clayton M. Christensen.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Dream Society

Rolf Jensen.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Experience Economy

B. Joseph Pine.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Experiential Marketing

Bernd H. Schmitt.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

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