Saturday, August 30, 2008

User-Experience and Emerging Technology: Designer-Developers at Stimulant creates engaging multi-touch apps, and more...

Those of you who follow this blog know that I've found numerous examples of touch-screen applications in public spaces that fall in the
Interactive Usability Hall of Shame category. This time, I've come across something that is headed directly to the Interactive Usability Hall of Fame!

Stimulant, the company that created the HP multi-touch wall of digital instruments, has created an application for GM that was on display at the NAIAS 2008 conference in Detroit.

According to Nathan Moody's post on the Stimulant news blog, a capacitance-sensing film was affixed to glass windows, and the images were displayed through rear projection, to create five interactive stations. The Stimulant team collaborated directly with the exhibit designer, Machinehead-Creative.

The photo below is another multi-touch application that Stimulant provided for GM. This time, it was for the Greenbuild conference, and later was displayed at the Electric Vehicle Show.

Three screens, three projectors, 4.6 million pixels, hundreds of minutes of video...all helping tell GM\'s sustainability story at the Greenbuild Conference.

There is more. The next photo demonstrates Stimulant's work with Microsoft's Silverlight to create an interactive data visualization application along with StepChange. You can find a version of this application online on the Silverlight website.

The application shows data on worldwide Silverlight development, broadband penetration, and more.

I am sure we will see more of Stimulant's work in the future -perhaps in airports, cultural centers, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and school media centers?

Update: Stimulant's collaborative partners at Obscura Digital were involved with the experience design and hardware execution for NAIAS and Greenbuild projects. Interesting website!

Link to "Internet of Surfaces" Photo Examples

Here is a link to a wide assortment of photos that provide examples of what an "Internet of Surfaces" might look like:

INTERNET OF SURFACES: Photo Examples of Screens of All Sizes

Some of the photos are from my team projects. Other photos are from the Microsoft Surface website, NUI-Group members, and odds and ends from other sources.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Useful, Usable Interaction Information Displays at the Sydney Airport?!

Most of what I've encountered in the way of interactive information displays in airports and other public spaces has been underpar, as several of my previous posts have documented. Maybe there is hope in Australia...

Although I haven't flown to Australia, I'm hoping that the latest installation of information displays will meet expectations.

Here are the details, from the NextWindow website:

"...To inform travelers about the progress of the upgrades, SACL has placed NextWindow 32” interactive touch screens throughout the complex. The touch screens provide virtual tours using animation software. "

"Passengers and airport staff have commented on the ease of use of the system and the immediate availability of relevant information at the touch of a finger."

"SACL chose integration partner Honeycom Solutions to bring the touch-enabled displays to reality. Honeycom used LCD monitors from LG Electronics in conjunction with NextWindow’s 2403 Touch Panel overlays. HoneyCom were supplied with the touch technology by NextWindow's Australian Distributor, Image Design Technology (IDT)."

The Bombay Sapphire display, also located at the Sydney airport, is visually appealing:

blog post photo

If you've encountered these displays at the Sydney airport, leave a comment and share your experience.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Microsoft Surface's Hotel Concierge Application: Let's see this deployed in classrooms, museums, libraries, welcome centers, convention halls..

Take a look at the following video to see how Microsoft Surface's Hotel Concierge application plays out at a Sheraton hotel:

Of course, surface-like applications would have to become much more affordable in order to become ubiquitous in our schools, libraries, airports, and other public spaces.

(Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chris O'Shea's Pixelsumo July Digest Posts - Design, Interactive Technology and the Arts

One of my favorite blogs is Chris O'Shea's "Pixelsumo". His July Digest is a compilation of the things he wished he had time to write about, saying, "I am finding less time to blog these days, and my list of things to blog keeps getting bigger and bigger. From now on I will do a Pixelsumo digest at the end of each month, containing projects that didn’t make it into full posts in time.
So to start off, here are projects I wish I had written about recently…"

Go on a treasure hunt to learn more about Pixelsumo by following the tags below:

Here are the intriguing pictures from Chris O'Shea's July Digest. You will have to visit Pixelsumo to find out what they represent!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Internet of Surfaces?

Internet of Surfaces? Microsoft's Pete Thompson discusses screens and surfaces of all sizes.

(Video clip via gottabemobile, plus a few of my comments related to surfaces and universal usability, on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Multi-touch Innovations: Link to two posts with video demonstrations

Here are two links to posts and video demos on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog for those of you interested in multi-touch and interaction design related to emerging technologies:

Catchyoo's Interactive Touch-screen on the Panasonic Road Show

iPhone: Multi-touch Control of a Laptop Screen!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sun Microsystem's JavaOne: Build Your Own Multi-Touch Interface with Java and JavaFX Technology

I just came cross Simon Ritter and Angela Caicedo's "how-to" presentation about building a multi-touch interface utilizing Java and JavaFX technology. The presentation, posted on Sun Microsystem's JavaOne website, provides a review of multi-touch related technology and step-by-step instructions of the process they used, as well as the problems they encountered.

Ritter and Caicedo pointed out that an advantage of using JavaFX technology is that it is good for manipulating images, and it's data binding capabilities makes it easier to design and implement the software and user interface. They also pointed out that Java technology allows for implementing heavy multi-threading, something that is important with so much going on in the application.

Here is the summary from the presentation:

  • Multi-touch screens are simple and cheap to build (Most expensive bit is the projector)
  • Java technology makes the software easy
  • JavaFX technology is easy to integrate with new types of event
  • JavaFX technology makes building multi-touch user interfaces simple

Unfortunately, the application that Ritter and Caicedo developed was very similar to most of what I've seen previously - - image rotation and manipulation.

I am pretty confident that within a year to two years there will be lighter, flatter "all-in-one" flat screen multi-touch panels available that do not rely on projectors, perhaps not much more than the current cost of a projector.

For more information about multi-touch technology, visit the NUI Group website, where you can get tons of information about building your own multi-touch table and support from others with similar interests. Some of the NUI Group members are participating in Google's Summer of Code. Current NUI Group projects are TouchLib, TouchEvent, and OpenTouch.

Also see "Multi-touch Systems that I have Known and Loved", by Bill Buxton, one of the founding fathers of multi-touch.

Another good sources is the list of interactive tables on the Pasta&Vinegar blog. Click (touch!) the links, and you'll find even more information. The Pasta&Vinegar blog is maintained by Nicolas Nova, a user-experience researcher at the LIFTlab think tank.

If you are a graduate student considering research in this area, you'll find plenty to get you going for your review of the literature.

From Tempels Digital Interactive Table (DIT) in Brazil

From Instructables

Friday, August 1, 2008

IBM Labs: PENSIEVE Software to Augment Memory via Mobile Phone: "With the personal memory organizer, everything becomes more...memorable"

Made in IBM Labs: IBM Research Develops Technology to Aid Human Memory: New Software Helps People Struggling with Information Overload

From the IBM press release:

  • "Researchers at IBM's Haifa Research Lab in Israel are pairing advanced mobile technologies with memory cues to develop a system that can analyze acquired data, create hooks to related experiences, and use them to populate a person's information management applications. Once the address books and calendars are updated, the technology enables memory recall triggered by time, location or the introduction of related information."

"With the personal memory organizer, everything becomes more...memorable"

This software might also be useful for people with ADD, those who have memory deficits due to brain injury or stroke, aging baby boomers, and the elderly.

Microsoft's Gordon Bell and
Computer World Article: IBM software acts as human memory backup