Saturday, May 31, 2008

Top 15 Blog Posts: Technology Supported Human World Interaction

As of 5/31/08:
Multitouch LaserTouch from Microsoft, Andy Wilson, Innovation...
More of Microsoft's Andy Wilson: Video of Surface Multi-Touch Computing
Urban Screens, Urban Interfaces, Digital Media, and the Arts in Public Spaces
Everyware Health Care: Microsoft Health's Common User Interface website, usable health care applications, pervasive health games...
Interdisciplinary Research in Computer Science and Information Technology: Revisiting the Equator Project
Human-Information Interaction, Usability, User Interface Design Patterns, Mobile Web Design: Random Links.
Positive examples of large-touch screen display interaction: Interactive touch wall at CeBIT: UBC's Shadow Reaching
NextWindow Demos a Multi-touch Display: A more affordable "Surface"
Design Considerations: Touch screen interaction, mobile computing, and Synaptics
Nokia's Morph Prototype and Concept
Ubiquitous interactive computing comes to the corner bank?!
Technology-Supported Shopping and Entertainment-User Experience at Ballantyne Village: "A" for concept, "D" for touch-screen usability
thirteen23's Touch Screen Information Kiosk: A GOOD Example of Touch-screen Interaction and Content
Link to article: Demonstrating the Feasibility of Using Forearm Electomyography for Muscle-Computer Interfaces
I wish I could be Johnny Chung Lee for a Day! Tracking fingers with the Wii Remote

Bill Gerba's Summer Reading List: Digital Signage and Kiosks

Bill Gerba's summer reading list is a must-see for those of you interested in the business/industry side of interactive displays and pervasive computing. Take a look!

Daily Digital Out of Home post, "Billboards That Look Back" : Could miniature cameras embedded in ads lead to Big Brother at the mall?

Big Brother at the Mall?

If you visit malls, big box retailers, or frequent public spaces, you've probably noticed that there are many digital billboards cropping up. Some are in the form of interactive touch screens and kiosks, and others are in the form of informercials on large displays. What you might not have noticed is that many of these displays have embedded miniature cameras.

I had a chance to see this at a Digital Signage expo not too long ago. I was surprised that the system identified my gender as soon as I stood in front of the display. In my situation, I knew that I was within range of the camera. Out and about, I am not sure if this would be true.

Via Daily Digital Out of Home (dailydooh):

An article in the NY Times recently discussed privacy concerns related to new technology that is embedded into billboards and digital displays. Miniature cameras are embedded in ads found in in malls and other public spaces. The cameras are linked to software that takes in detailed information about the people who come across these ads.

Here is an excerpt from the NY Times:

"Now, some entrepreneurs have introduced technology to solve that problem. They are equipping billboards with tiny cameras that gather details about passers-by — their gender, approximate age and how long they looked at the billboard. These details are transmitted to a central database.

Behind the technology are small start-ups that say they are not storing actual images of the passers-by, so privacy should not be a concern. The cameras, they say, use software to determine that a person is standing in front of a billboard, then analyze facial features (like cheekbone height and the distance between the nose and the chin) to judge the person’s gender and age. So far the companies are not using race as a parameter, but they say that they can and will soon."

"....TruMedia’s technology is an offshoot of surveillance work for the Israeli government. The company, whose slogan is “Every Face Counts,” is testing the cameras in about 30 locations nationwide. One TruMedia client is Adspace Networks, which runs a network of digital screens in shopping malls and is testing the system at malls in Chesterfield, Mo., Winston-Salem, N.C., and Monroeville, Pa. Adspace’s screens show a mix of content, like the top retail deals at the mall that day, and advertisements for DVDs, movies or consumer products."

If you are interested in learning more about the business and industry side of interactive off-the-desktop and out-of-home technology, the Digital Out of Home blog is a great resource. Below is a list of some of the blog's most popular posts:

Our Top 10 Digital Signage Vendors, Part 1

Our Top 10 Digital Signage Vendors, Part 2
Our Top 10 Digital Signage Vendors, Part 3
CEO SPOTLIGHT: Simon Rees, Avanti Screen Media
Vision Media Group's Advertising Commitment
CEO SPOTLIGHT: Christian Vaglio-Giors, Neo Advertising, Geneva
iCaramba! Neo Advertising+Dot One = Iberian Market
Top 10 Companies to Watch in 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Multi-touch from Fingertapps

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If you've seen some of the NextWindow demos I've posted previously on this blog, you might be interested in knowing that some of what you've seen was developed by Fingertapps. Here is some information from the website:

"Fingertapps supports various multi-touch screen technologies including optical / blog tracking products such as Next Window as well as capacitive touch technologies such as the N-Trig screen used in the Dell XT."

"Fingertapps is an advanced software platform that makes it easy to quickly develop engaging multi-touch applications. Your applications can combine images, 3D models and video content along with natural touch screen gestures to create an unparalleled user experience

An advantage of Fingertapps is that it allows users to build their own applications, using a declarative scripting language.

Fingertapps Videos:

The third video clip is demonstrated on a Dell Latitude XT tablet, using the N-Trig capacitive touch.

Fingertapps blog

Fingertapps is responsible for the educational software, UMAJIN CREATIVE, which was designed for digital storytelling. It works on touch screens and interactive whiteboards.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cross Post: More Muti-touch, Windows 7 demo on a Dell Laptop

Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7

Via SoapBox, Greenbush Labsand CNET

If you are new to this blog and would like to learn more about multi-touch interaction and technology, enter a keyword in the search box.

Also take a look at the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.

For multi-touch DYI, check out the NUI Group!

Cross posted on

Monday, May 26, 2008

More Multitouch: NUI Group's Christopher Jette's multi-touch work featured in Engaget ; Croquet?

Christopher Jette, a member of the NUI Group, was featured in a recent article in Engadget about his DYI multi-touch project on a large rear-projection TV.

Here is the video:

Christopher Jette's multi-touch project "how to" on the Instructable website. Great work, Christopher!

I am wondering how applications built with Croquet or EduSim would play out on this sort of screen. Croquet is an open source metaverse software development environment that is a work in progress. Here is the video description:

I've played around with Croquet on a single-touch screen and it was fun to use. Croquet powers EduSim, an application that is used on interactive whiteboards with children. The "paint" capabilities of the application makes it easy to draw something in 2-D. When you move your drawing into the background, it automatically turns into 3D, and with a little bit of scripting, it moves around.

"Derived from Squeak, it (Croquet) features a peer-based network architecture that supports communication, collaboration, resource sharing, and synchronous computation between multiple users on multiple devices."

I haven't had time to experiment with the multi-user capabilities of Croquet - maybe this summer!

Croquet is derived from Squeak.

Croquet videos.

Interdisciplinary Research in Computer Science and Information Technology: Revisiting the Equator Project

One of my goals is to participate in interdisciplinary research, although I am very much aware that doctoral-level research should focus on a narrow topic, explored in great depth.

Unfortunately, the research articles that appeal to me the most are those that were written by interdisciplinary teams, or by teams that built upon ideas and research from other fields. One of the outcomes of this sort of research is that the knowledge is shared across many research communities. In my opinion, his sort of "distributed cognition" has the potential to support innovative thinking, in the form of software, products, and processes, in ways that we have not yet imagined.

One example of interesting interdisciplinary research was the Equator Project According to the project website, the Equator project ran from 2000 through 2006, with many publications presented at various conferences through 2007. Equator was involved with a "series of research challenges explored (a) new classes of device which link the physical and the digital, (b) adaptive software architectures and (c) new design and evaluation methods, which draw together approaches from social science, cognitive science and art and design. Equator involved over 60 researchers, with a range of expertise encompassing computer science, psychology, sociology, design and the arts."

Right up my alley!

As an undergraduate student, I had a double major in psychology and social science. I took a few courses in the arts at the university level, such as dance and dance composition, jazz, and art education. When I returned to school at mid-life, courses I took included computer music technology, computer multimedia, programming, web development, human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, game design, and visualization.

(I'm a school psychologist, so my previous graduate work had an interdisciplinary focus, required for psychologists trained to work in the schools.)

Back to the Equator Project.

On the Equator website, there is a page with links to videos about some of the spin-off businesses generated from project. You can also find video clips of devices and tools that were developed through various research endeavors, playing and learning experience projects, an Infrastructure Toolkit, and much, much more.

Here is a description of the three major challenges addressed by the Equator Project, from the website:

* "The Devices challenge focuses on the devices used to interleave physical and digital interaction. During the last three years, Equator has created a variety of new devices that establish different relationships between the physical and the digital. It has also generated a variety of more generic sensing, display and power technologies that are emerging as a common fabric across the IRC."

* "The Infrastructure challenge focuses on the infrastructure required to support the dynamic assembly of new devices into coherent user experiences. We have taken an emergent approach by seeking to generalise from our experiences across the different installations deployed across Equator. This takes the form of a collection and structuring of the key components developed to support our experiences, reflection on our software architectures and the development of toolkits to reduce the cost of their construction."

* "The Understanding Interaction challenge focuses on outlining the key concepts required to support our understanding of the interweaving of physical and digital interaction, and the methods needed to design and evaluate systems in this area."

Research themes and applications included the following:

The project website has a wealth of teaching and learning resources, including reading lists, images, videos, animations, and presentation slides.

The following information is for the benefit of people who are considering furthering their education in a computer/'technology related field, as it provides information about a wide area of study that most people don't normally associate with computer science or IT. High school guidance counselors need to review this information!

About 12 of the 83 or so researchers on the Equator Project were female, which is important to note.

People involved with the Equator Project, with links to each researcher's areas of interest:
University of Bristol, Wearable Computing Project
Chris Setchell

University of Glasgow, Computer Science Department

Scott Sherwood, Paul Tennent, Matthew Chalmers, Marek Bell, Malcolm Hall, Louise Barkhuus, John Ferguson, Barry Brown, Areti Galani

University of Lancaster, Equator Team (Ubiquitous Computing, Distributed Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, Ethnomethodology)
Oliver Storz, Nicolas Villar, Masitah Ghazali Martyn Welch, Martin Strohbach, Mark Rouncefield, Kristof Van Laerhoven, Jennifer Sheridan, Guy Dewsbury, Alan Dix, Adrian Friday

University of Nottingham, Mixed Reality Laboratory
Shahram Izadi, Rob Anastasi, Martin Flintham, Mark Paxton, Malcom Foster, Kher Hui Ng (Marina),
Jonathan Green, Jan Humble, Holger Schnadelbach, Hazel Glover, Dave Kirk, Daniel Fielding, Damian Schofield, Chris Greenhalgh, Boriana Koleva, Andy Crabtree, Alastair Hampshire, Adam Drozd

Royal College of Art, Interaction Design Research Studio (now at Goldmiths)
Brendan Walker, Gianni Tozzi,

Goldsmiths College, Interaction Research Studio
Toby Kerridge, Sarah Pennington , Konstantinos Grivas, John Bowers, Jacob Beaver, Jac Fennell, Bill Gaver, Bas Raijmakers, Andy Law, Andy Boucher

University of Southampton, Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia (IAM) Group
Wendy Hall, David De Roure, Mike Saywell, Mark Weal, Don Cruickshank, David Millard, Danius Michaelides, Ben Deitch

University of Sussex, Interact Lab
Sam Wolfe, Rowanne Fleck, Paul Marshall, Mark Stringer, Manuela Jungmann, Hillary Smith, Greg Hooper, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Eva Hornecker, Eric Harris, Cian O'Connor, Anthony Phillips

University College of London, Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics Group
William Steptoe, Vinoba Vinayagamoorthy, Russell Freeman, Richard Milton, Mel Slater, Joel Jordan, Jean-Daniel Nahmias, Celine Loscos, Ashwin Beeharee, Anthony Steed, Andrea Brogni

Other researchers who were involved in this project in some way can be found in the
Publications section of the Equator website.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More of Microsoft's Andy Wilson: Video of Surface Multi-Touch Computing

More multi-touch from Microsoft Research:

Andy Wilson
's demo videos of his experimental work with multi-touch computing at Microsoft Research, from East Company Live. He answers questions and explains touch-screen technologies, interaction techniques,and the upcoming IEEE conference on Tabletop Computing this October. In Part III, Wilson mentions a DYI algorithm for image-processing in a paper from an ACM UIST conference:

Part I



I want this sort of technology in my hands because I think it would help special needs children in many ways. The table or drafting board form supports collaboration, communication, and it also might be good for cooperative learning projects. Microsoft's Social Computing Group is working on several applications that might be appropriate for surface computing, if properly adapted.

Meridith R. Morris, a researcher in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft, worked on a cooperative game for developing social skills among middle school students who had Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, when she was a graduate student at Stanford.

SIDES: A Cooperative Tabletop Computer Game for Social Skills Development pdf

I know from my work as a school psychologist that more tools are needed to ensure that all children have access to engaging, meaningful learning experiences. Interactive whiteboards are great, but they are no substitute for a collaborative table!

I've been working on my own touch-screen "experiments" and ideas for over a year now, and would welcome the opportunity to test things with potential end-users, on a variety of displays and multi-touch formats. I think it would essential to develop and test multi-touch applications out of the lab.

(Disclaimer: I am not a Microsoft shill.)

Design Considerations: Touch screen interaction, mobile computing, and Synaptics

Credit: Synaptics
Keeping with my theme of touch-screen interaction, I thought I'd share some information about the work of Synaptics. I am not sure if Synaptics is venturing into the world of large touch-screen interaction, given their focus on laptops and smaller devices. From looking over the company's documents, it is clear that some of what they do could translate effectively to the large-screen arena.

Example: Synaptic's YouTube video about the use of gesture interaction with laptops:

Synaptics Presents: Things You Can Do with a Gesture

According to the company's website,

"Synaptics is the leading worldwide developer of user interface solutions for mobile computing, communications and entertainment devices. Our mission is to enrich the interaction between users and their intelligent devices. Synaptics products emphasize ease of use,small size, low power consumption, advanced functionality, durability and reliability, making them applicable to a multitude of markets, including notebook computers, PC peripherals, mobile phones, and portable entertainment devices such as MP3 players."

Kevin Arthur's Touch Usability Blog
(Kevin is a usability analyst who works with touch interfaces at Synaptics)

Voltage's Post "Best Practices of Touch Screen Interface Design"
Voltage Creative

Design and the Bottom-Line
Voltage's Post "Your Customers Care about Design, Even if they Don't"
"A 3-year Fortune-500 study conducted by research firm
Homepage" href="">Peer Insight found companies focused on customer-experience design outperformed the S&P 500 by 10-to-1 from 2000-2005. One more time for those in the back: that was 10-1. Your customers care about design; a lot; ten-to-one a lot. Even if they don’t (know it)."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Multitouch LaserTouch from Microsoft, Andy Wilson, Innovation..

I've been a Mac person since 1985, but I've warmed up to Microsoft a bit over the years. Microsoft Research is involved in many creative endeavors, despite how the company is personified by "PC" in Apple's MAC/PC commercials.

Ever since I had a chance to get my hands on an interactive whiteboard, I've been fascinated by large multi-touch and multi-user displays, and this fascination was part of my motivation to take graduate-level computer/IT classes at mid-life!

After spending an entire semester working on large touch-screen projects last year, Microsoft unveiled the Surface, which is not within my reach. Now that Bill Gate's mantra is "
every surface to be a computer", there might be hope for people like me.

Via CNET news 8/14/08: "During his keynote Wednesday at the CEO Summit, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates shows off TouchWall, a 4-foot-by-6-foot touch-screen computer prototype."(Credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Research's Andy Wilson developed the software for the LaserTouch prototype. Andy is a member of the Adaptive Systems and Interaction group.

The system will be less expensive than the Surface, but it is not yet ready for the masses:

Via CNET: "Andy Wilson, a researcher from Microsoft Research's Redmond, Wash., campus, demonstrates LaserTouch. An infrared camera tracks how he touches the screen to prompt a response from the software." (Credit: Stefanie Olsen/CNET


InfoWorld Article about TouchWall
CNET TouchWall Article

InfoWorld Article about LaserTouch
CNET LaserTouch Article

Natural User Interface - Innovative Multi-touch Solutions

NextWindow NextWindow Videoclips

Shahram Izadi's Research Website

TouchLight: An Imaging Touch Screen for Gesture-Based Interaction pdf

Interacting with Wall-Sized Screens pdf

The Large-Display User Experience pdf

IEEE Tabletops and Interactive Surfaces 2008 Conference Website

October 1-3, the Netherlands

For those of you new to this blog, I've posted quite a bit about multi-touch displays, Microsoft's Surface table, urban screens and interfaces over the past year or so on the TSHWI and Interactive Multimedia Technology blogs. Also see the links on this blog's sidebars.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Multi-touch Crayon Physics from multitouch-barcelona, inspired by Crayon Physics by Kloonig Games

Watch how you can draw simple shapes that can instantly turn into a game!

Multitouch Crayon Physics from multitouch-barcelona on Vimeo.

For a better version of this video, see For more information, see the RXSurface blog post. On May 18, Multi touch crayon physics will be offered as an alphabeta opensource! The people behind RXSurface are members of the Natural User Interface (NUI) group:

"Natural User Interface or ~ NUI Group is an interactive media group researching and creating open source machine sensing techniques to benefit artistic and educational applications."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Everyware Health Care: Microsoft Health's Common User Interface website, usable health care applications, pervasive health games...

I've been concerned about the problems people encounter with health technology, especially over the past year or so as I witnessed my father's journey in and out of hospitals, the emergency room, and various medical offices.

Technology can support quality health care. Systems that incorporate user-friendly electronic medical records (EMR) can support effective communication and collaboration among the members of medical teams. Technology that is not user-friendly can lead to inefficiency among health care team members, and can also contribute to errors that affect patient safety, if not lives.

In my opinion, health care software systems should ensure that the applications used by the patient inter-operate with those used by practitioners and health care facilities. The system should also allow for interaction with family members, especially when the patient is elderly, has a serious illness, or is a minor. This would be a good way to provide guidance for family members caring for the patient at home, and also provide an effective means of monitoring the patient's progress.

Microsoft Health's Common User Interface website provides a design guidance document, examples of toolkits and samples, a toolkit download, a showcase, and a roadmap that offers more detailed information. This is a great move on the part of Microsoft.

Microsoft's Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) are used for toolkit controls, which I think is a good idea. I've played around with both, and also Expressions Blend, and have been surprised at how quickly I've been able to create prototypes for my various "experiments".

Microsoft Health's Common User Interface guidelines appear to be user-friendly for developers, which might ensure that user-friendly applications for healthcare eventually get into the hands of health workers and patients alike. This is important.

Related Thoughts:
Last year, I read an article in Pervasive Computing about new technologies that might prove to be useful to health care workers. Despite the efforts of researchers to incorporate user-centered design concepts and usability studies during the development of health care software, health care workers continue to be frustrated with technology.

Since I've found myself on the receiving end of user-unfriendly technology for most of my working life, I decided to write a letter to the editor of Pervasive Computing and offer a solution or two. Why not harness power of the 100,000+ nurses who've participated longitudinal studies about womens' health, and apply their knowledge by inviting them to play a role in user-centered development and usability testing of software for the health care industry?

More thoughts...

I was thinking about the Games for Health conference I attended last week and how developers could go about conducting usability studies for their games. Developers of health-oriented games and related applications should also consider tapping into this great resource. Nurses are represented in all facets of health care, and their hands-on experiences with patients could inform the development of user-friendly and useful health games.

Pervasive Health Care, Pervasive Games for Health:

I envision that in the near future, mini-health games, along with health-monitoring applications, will be widely available on mobile phones and other mobile devices. Wouldn't it be fun to play a health game on your mobile while waiting for your medical appointment?

I've noticed that many clinics and pharmacies now have large screens running health info-mercials. Wouldn't it be cool to harness the display for some serious health gaming?

One place to start might be at CVS minute-clinics. These clinics are led by nurse practitioners and supported by a medical doctor in another location, and offer care to a large number of people, close to where they live.

Audio about CVS Minute Clinics
Minute Clinic Website
American Well: The next generation of health communication

Related World Health Care Blog Posts:
The New Place for Health Care is Everywhere
EMR's Might Work for Physicians in PHM
EMR "The Movie"- Coming Soon (Maybe)
On the Coming "Everyware" Bubble in Health Care

Cross Post: Seth Sandler's YouTube Video, "How to Make a Cheap Multi-touch Pad" goes viral

Seth Sandler, a member of the NUI group, has worked very hard at putting together low-cost multi-touch screen surfaces. Seth has a background in music, so his projects focus on interactive music applications. Over 315,000 people watched this video within the week that it was uploaded.

Thanks Seth, for sharing this vision with the world!

Seth's AudioTouch Blog: "An Interactive Multi-user, Multi-touch Musical Table and More"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Urban Screens, Urban Interfaces, Digital Media, and the Arts in Social-Public Spaces

intelligent agent vol. 6 no. 2interactive cityurban screens: mirjam struppek download pdf
I've noticed that an increasing number of articles I've come across have involved teams of inter-disciplinary researchers - computer scientists, engineers, social scientists, psychologists, educators, musicians, architects, artists, media artists, game developers... and more!
Each discipline involved in inter-disciplinary research brings a particular world-view to the discussion, with a vocabulary that reflects a history of ideas that span decades, if not more. This is true, to a certain extent, within disciplines. For example, the field of Human-Computer Interaction is comprised of many different sub-groups, and each sub-group has its own culture of research and method of sharing knowledge. We are experiencing convergence on many levels, and we haven't quite figured out the words we need to describe exactly what is going on.

Technology-supported human-world interaction is the phrase I created to help me handle things conceptually, and serves as an umbrella that covers the things that interest me within this sphere.
So what are we talking about here?

I recently participated in the Games for Health Conference. Eric Walker, from Ominous Development, in his talk about the development of a one-switch game, discussed the idea that when we think about games, there are three main areas of focus. One is the how the game is played within the machine, system, or computer. One is how the game is played within the interface, and one is how the game is played in the mind.

If you think about multi-player games, a fourth dimension is added- the social context. Take this one step further, in the realm of pervasive gaming, including mixed/augmented reality games, a fifth dimension must also be considered, which includes space, place, and geo-location. How does that play out in the world? I'd like to share a bit of what I've come across so far:

08 Urban Screens: The potential of screens for urban society
  • "URBAN SCREENS investigates how the currently commercial use of outdoor screens can be broadened with cultural content. We address cultural fields as digital media culture, urbanism, architecture and art. We want to network and sensitise all engaged parties for the possibilities of using the digital infrastructure for contributing to a lively urban society, binding the screens more to the communal context of the space and therefore creating local identity and engagement. The integration of the current information technologies support the development of a new integrated digital layer of the city in a complex merge of material and immaterial space that redefine the function of this growing infrastructure."
  • "URBAN SCREENS defined as various kinds of dynamic digital displays and interfaces in urban space such as LED signs, plasma screens, projection boards, information terminals but also intelligent architectural surfaces being used in consideration of a well ballanced, sustainable urban society - Screens that support the idea of public space as space for creation and exchange of culture, strengthening a local economy and the formation of public sphere. Its digital nature makes these screening platforms an experimental visualisation zone on the threshold of virtual and urban public space." (Mirjam Struppek)

One company, Soda , is involved with emerging technologies that are used in public spaces: "Soda develops creative tools that help communities work, play, and learn together" .

The Soda team members come from both art and technical backgrounds. One of Soda's projects was "Energy", which was an external light installation at a school, consisting of 45 LED panels, distributed on a large structure, in view of the playground. The designs on each panel were created by students, and the software behind the displays incorporates video shot by the children, so the art can be easily changed.

Soda partnered with FutureLab to create Newtoon, a suite of web-enabled microgames and activities, designed to promote the learning of physics social way, played on mobile devices.

Case study of the Newtoon prototype

Urban Interfaces is a project of the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design, and builds upon the work of their previous Suburban Communities project.

  • "Urban Interfaces: designs, develops and evaluates “unconventional” interfaces, such as interactive urban/public screens, and mobile and embedded content, to improve social, economic and environmental sustainability, researching appropriation (adoption and adaptation) and embodied interaction (in the moment and in the world) in master-planned and existing residential communities."

People from the Urban Interfaces project recently presented a public displays workshop at CHI 08: Designing and Evaluating Mobile Phone-Based Interactions with Public Displays . According to the workshop paper, the " program is developing Future Ethnography to combine social context approaches, particularly ethnography, with participatory design, and applying it to mobile-, embedded-, and WWW-based experiences."

The people involved in this project include Ian MacColl and Margot Brereton, from ACID/QUT, Matthew D'Souza, Andrew Dekker, Adam Postula, Fiona Redhead, from the University of Queensland, Mark Billinghurst, from HACID/HITlabNZ, Ingrid Richardson, from ACID/Murdoch University, and Montse Ros, from ACID/University of Wollongong.


I recently received a comment from Ori Inbar with a link to, which has a good review of the "top ten" devices for mobile augmented reality, also known as AR.

Another interesting post from Games Alfresco reviews "top ten" augmented reality demos that have the potential to change augmented reality gaming. Comogard, the author of this post, writes that AR "has the potential to do something that parents can't: free gamers from their couches and usher them into the real world, to play".

In my opinion, AR games, played on mobile devices that support new games for health and learning. With the influx of large interactive displays (or interactive whiteboards) in public gathering spaces, libraries, museums, and schools, there is a possibility that mobile AR can be played out on a variety of screens, large and small.

At this point, only a few public displays allow for interaction with mobile devices, but it is possible that this will change. For example, in some AT&T stores, Microsoft Surface interactive tables have been installed, and interact nicely with mobile phones.

Some of the thought behind Microsoft's Surface came from the work of Shahram Izadi, now at Microsoft Research, Harry Brignull, now a user experience consultant at Madgex, and Yvonne Rogers, a professor of human-computer interaction at Open University, and others, on the Dynamo project.

(See my previous post- Revisiting Promising Projects: Dynamo- an application for sharing information on large interactive displays in public spaces.)

For detailed information about the Dynomo project, read The Iterative Design and Study of a Large Display for Shared and Sociable Spaces (pdf).

Harry Brignull's blog post, "Microsoft Surface: standing on the shoulders of giants" , written on the day the Surface was unveiled to the public last year, also provides good background information related to this topic.

Back to the Urban Screens discussion:

First Monday, a peer-reviewed journal on the Internet, published a special issue, Urban Screens: Discovering the Potential of Outdoor Screens for Urban Society, in 2006. The articles were written by people from disciplines related to media and communications, so they provide a much broader perspective to the topic of large screen displays than found in journals published by the ACM or IEEE. (If you are a CS or IT academician involved in large display and/or ubiquitous computing research, this series is a must-read!)

Raina Kumra, in Hijacking the Urban Screen, discusses the use of non-traditional outdoor advertising, and looks at way this new "media skin" is responding to interaction, transforming the more traditional video billboard to something that is creative and invites public participation.

In Urban Screens: the beginning of a universal visual culture, Paul Marten Lester points to Otto Neurath's quote, "words divide, pictures unite". According to Lester, "Literal, narrative, horizontal, cloistered, and verbal culture is being replaced by symbolic, interactive, profound, global, and visual culture. Neurath would be pleased." Lester delves into the world of visual symbols, visual thinking, and visual communication. His reference list, for the academics out there, is full of gems!

Scott McQuire's article, The politics of public space in the media city, discusses the concept of hybrid spaces, or media cities, and his thoughts about access and interaction, and a "democratic public culture in cities connected by digital networks."

In The poetics of urban media surfaces, Lev Manovich discusses how technologies such as video surveillance, data-filled "cell-space", and electronic displays transform physical spaces into data-spaces (think "Internet of Things"). Included in his discussion is an outline of some of technological research related in some way to urban media surfaces: ubiquitous computing, augmented reality, tangible interfaces, wearable computers, intelligenct buildings, intelligent spaces, context-aware computing, ambient intelligence, smart objects, wireless location services, sensor networks, and e-paper.

I haven't finished reading all of the articles included in First Monday's special issue about urban screens. Listed below are the references and links for all of the articles, with links to many of the authors:

Hijacking the urban screen: Trends in outdoor advertising and predictions for the use of video art and urban screens by Raina Kumra First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Urban Screens: the beginning of a universal visual culture by Paul Martin Lester First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

The politics of public space in the media city by Scott McQuire First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

The poetics of urban media surfaces by Lev Manovich First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Interpreting urban screens by Anthony Auerbach First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Story space: A theoretical grounding for the new urban annotation by Rekha Murthy First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

The urban incubator: (De)constructive (re)presentation of heterotopian spatiality and virtual image(ries) by Wael Salah Fahmi First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Urban screens: Towards the convergence of architecture and audiovisual media by Tore Slaatta First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Towards an integrated architectural media space by Ava Fatah gen. SchieckFirst Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Art and social displays in the branding of the city: Token screens or opportunities for difference? by Julia Nevárez First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

For an aesthetics of transmission by Giselle Beiguelman First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Intelligent skin: Real virtual by Vera Bühlmann First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Programming video art for urban screens in public space by Kate Taylor First Monday, Special Issue #4: Urban Screens: Discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society (February 2006),URL:

Mirjam Struppek at Interaction Field: "Urban Space, Public Sphere, and the New Media"