Categories
Film Media Narrative Technology Television

Three films on communication and networks

In the last two weeks I’ve seen three documentaries dealing with communication and networks.

Firstly, a broad and ambitious film from Ericsson, taking on the ‘networked society’ including interviews with David Weinberger, Catarina Fake and Eric Wahlforss.

Each of the interviewees discusses the emerging opportunities being enabled by technology as we enter the Networked Society. Concepts such as borderless opportunities and creativity, new open business models, and today’s ‘dumb society’ are brought up and discussed.

The next film from Nokia brings daily life around networked communication technologies to the forefront, and does it through lovely experiential sequences. However it does come across much more as a branding exercise or promotional piece, and doesn’t offer to explain or explore the practices it shows.

Third is a film by Ben Mendelsohn and Alex Chohlas-Wood about the physical, geographic and material infrastructure that goes into running the internet.

Lower Manhattan’s 60 Hudson Street is one of the world’s most concentrated hubs of Internet connectivity. This short documentary peeks inside, offering a glimpse of the massive material infrastructure that makes the Internet possible.

There is clearly a need to unpack the increasingly technology-inflected geography, and social and cultural practices of the world we inhabit, so it is good to see films like this being made.

Categories
Conferences Film Interaction design Media mediation,

Negotiating futures. Design fiction

Swiss Design Network Conference 2010:

Designers see the world not simply as it is, but rather as it could be. In this perspective, the world is a laboratory to explore the contingency of the existing and the thinking in options. Imaginations of the contra factual are a key source for the creation of alternative political, technological, social, or economic constellations of artefacts, interfaces, signs, actors, and spaces. At the same time, strategies of materialization are pivotal to shift the boundary between the fictional and the real and to finally bring possible new realities into being. The conference addresses the questions of how fictions are designed and how the multiplicity of possible new futures is negotiated and realized.

Design Fiction, Negotiating Futures October 28-30, 2010.

Categories
Media Photography Technology Ubicomp

CCD and computational photography

A few links on imaging and computation:

I’ve concluded that the promise of RFID was eclipsed by another technology out there that’s poised to become more and more disruptive, not only to RFID, but to a host of technologies, and that’s the CCD.

from CCD by Joe Gregorio. Via BERG.

Cameras might allow a photographer to record a scene and then alter the lighting or shift the point of view, or even insert fictitious objects.

from Computational Photography, American Scientist

The camera as a device you carry has completely disappeared. Image sensors have become part of the literal fabric of everyday life.

from What Photography Will Look Like By 2060

Categories
Film Media Ubicomp video

Curious Displays

Curious Displays by Julia Yu Tsao

Categories
Film Media video

Parisian Love

New Google ad: Parisian Love.

Categories
Interaction design Media Technology Ubicomp

Augmentia

Anselm lays out the emerging issues with Augmented Reality (AR). In doing so he relates it to a whole host of known and unknown problems associated with ubiquitous computing, semantic publishing and data platforms.

Below are some clippings of bits that seem particularly insightful:

bq. It puts own embodiment at risk. And whomsoever can mitigate that risk while providing reward will probably do well. I believe that organizations such as Apple and Google see this and are pursuing not merely real-time, or hyper-local or crowd-sourced apps but ownership of the “view”.

bq. Everybody wants a part of the lens of reality, the zero-click base layer beneath the beneath. As Gene Becker puts it “The World is the Platform”. And an ecosystem is starting to emerge.

bq. Suddenly game developers are arguing with GIS experts and having to unify their very different ways of describing mirror worlds.

bq. [I]nterfaces move from being heavy and solid with big heavy buttons and knobs and rotary dials to becoming liquid and effortless like the dynamic UI of the iPhone to becoming like air itself.

bq. By making hidden things visible, and visible things cheap, it will make other things possible that we don’t entirely realize yet.

bq. There will be user interface interaction issues. What will be the conventions for hand-swipes, grabs, drags, pulls and other operations to manipulate objects in our field of view.

bq. [AR] is not simply “memory” – it isn’t just a mnemonic that helps bring understanding closer to the surface of consciousness. Clearly we are surrounded by our own memories, signage, advertising, radio, friends voices and an already rich complicated teeming natural landscape loaded with signifiers and cues. But it is another bridge between personal lived experience and the experience of others. It seems to lower costs of knowing, and it seems to provide stronger subjective filters.

bq. Augmented Reality seems to at least offer the possibility that we can punch some holes in the boxes. It seems to offer a bridge between structure and chaos rather than just structure.

Categories
Film Information design Interaction design Media

Telling stories with interfaces

“But where does it go from here? Is this really just a micro-genre best suited to ads for internet companies? Or does the fact that we spend so much time on this stage our selves mean that it really can be the venue for more (and more kinds of) storytelling?

via Telling stories with interfaces « Snarkmarket.

Categories
Interaction design Media Mobility Research Sound Usability

Embodied interaction in music

I too have “ditched”:http://interconnected.org/home/2005/04/12/my_40gb_ipod_has my large iPod for the “iPod Shuffle”:http://www.apple.com/ipodshuffle/, finding that “I love the white-knuckle ride of random listening”:http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2005/01/the_rise_and_ri.html. But that doesn’t exclude the need for a better small-screen-based music experience.

The pseudo-analogue interface of the iPod clickwheel doesn’t cut it. It can be difficult to control when accessing huge alphabetically ordered lists, and the acceleration or inertia of the view can be really frustrating. The combinations of interactions: clicking into deeper lists, scrolling, clicking deeper, turn into long and tortuous experiences if you are engaged in any simultaneous activity. Plus its difficult to use through clothing, or with gloves.

h3. Music and language

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My first thought was something “Jack”:http://www.jackschulze.co.uk and I discussed a long time ago, using a phone keypad to type the first few letters of a artist, album or genre and seeing the results in real-time, much like “iTunes”:http://www.apple.com/itunes/jukebox.html does on a desktop. I find myself using this a lot in iTunes rather than browsing lists.

“Predictive text input”:http://www.t9.com/ would be very effective here, when limited to the dictionary of your own music library. (I wonder if “QIX search”:http://www.christianlindholm.com/christianlindholm/2005/02/qix_from_zi_cor.html would do this for a music library on a mobile?)

Maybe now is the time to look at this as we see “mobile”:http://www.sonyericsson.com/spg.jsp?cc=gb&lc=en&ver=4000&template=pp1_loader&php=php1_10245&zone=pp&lm=pp1&pid=10245 “phone”:http://www.nokia.com/n91/ “music convergence”:http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000540040867/.

h3. Navigating through movement

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Since scrolling is inevitable to some degree, even within fine search results, what about using simple movement or tilt to control the search results? One of the problems with using movement for input is context: when is movement intended? And when is movement the result of walking or a bump in the road?

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One solution could be a “squeeze and shake” quasi-mode: squeezing the device puts it into a receptive state.

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Another could be more reliance on the 3 axes of tilt, which are less sensitive to larger movements of walking or transport.

h3. Gestures

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I’m not sure about gestural interfaces, most of the prototypes I have seen are difficult to learn, and require a certain level of performativity that I’m not sure everyone wants to be doing in public space. But having accelerometers inside these devices should, and would, allow for the hacking together other personal, adaptive gestural interfaces that would perhaps access higher level functions of the device.

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One gesture I think could be simple and effective would be covering the ear to switch tracks. To try this out we could add a light or capacitive touch sensor to each earbud.

With this I think we would have trouble with interference from other objects, like resting the head against a wall. But there’s something nicely personal and intimate about putting the hand next to the ear, as if to listen more intently.

h3. More knobs

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Things that are truly analogue, like volume and time, should be mapped to analogue controls. I think one of the greatest unexplored areas in digital music is real-time audio-scrubbing, currently not well supported on any device, probably because of technical constraints. But scrubbing through an entire album, with a directly mapped input, would be a great way of finding the track you wanted.

Research projects like the “DJammer”:http://www.hpl.hp.com/research/mmsl/projects/djammer/ are starting to look at this, specifically for DJs. But since music is inherently time-based there is more work to be done here for everyday players and devices. Let’s skip the interaction design habits we’ve learnt from the CD era and go back to vinyl 🙂

h3. Evolution of the display

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Where displays are required, I hope we can be free of small, fuzzy, low-contrast LCDs. With new displays being printable on paper, textiles and other surfaces there’s the possibility of improving the usability, readability and “glanceability” of the display.

We are beginning to see signs of this with this OLED display on this “Sony Network Walkman”:http://dapreview.net/comment.php?comment.news.1086 where the display is under the surface of the product material, without a separate “glass” area.

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For the white surface of an iPod, the high-contrast, “paper-like surfaces”:http://www.polymervision.com/New-Center/Downloads/Index.html of technologies like e-ink would make great, highly readable displays.

h3. Prototyping

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So I really need to get prototyping with accelerometers and display technologies, to understand simple movement and gesture in navigating music libraries. There are other questions to answer: I’m wondering if using movement to scroll through search results would create the appearance of a large screen space, through the lens of a small screen. As with “bumptunes”:http://interconnected.org/home/2005/03/04/apples_powerbook, I think many more opportunities will emerge as we make these things.

h3. More reading

“Designing for Shuffling”:http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2005/04/designing_for_s.html
“Thoughts on the iPod Shuffle”:http://interconnected.org/home/2005/04/22/there_are_two
“Bumptunes”:http://interconnected.org/home/2005/03/04/apples_powerbook
“Audioclouds/gestural interaction”:http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~jhw/audioclouds/
“Sound objects”:http://www.elasticspace.com/2005/02/sound-objects
“DJammer”:http://www.hpl.hp.com/research/mmsl/projects/djammer/
“On the body”:http://people.interaction-ivrea.it/b.negrillo/onthebody/
“Runster”:http://communications.siemens.com/cds/frontdoor/0,2241,hq_en_0_91525_rArNrNrNrN,00.html

Categories
Art Conferences Mapping Media Research

Art + communication 2004

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“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.

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

Categories
Art Conferences Mapping Media Place Travel

ISEA 2004 conference

There’s a really good “writeup of the installations and artwork at Grandtextauto”:http://grandtextauto.gatech.edu/2004/09/05/isea-2004-art-report.

h3. Photos

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