Sunday, November 23, 2008

Palantir of Orthanic: Facebook Visualization by Jack Lindamood, Kevin Der, and Dan Weatherford

Via Chris Leoni's Information Technology blog

The Project Palantir visualizes geo-located actions that occur on Facebook, which is described in detail on the video.

"Facebook isn't just about actions, it is about interaction... each color represents a different type of interaction"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Don't Make Me Click, Asa Raskin, Google TechTalk

In this presentation, Asa Raskin provides a history of interface and interaction design, including examples of bad "interaction seduction", and problems with search interactions.

Although this presentation focuses on web interaction, Aza covers concepts that designers of off-the-desktop applications should keep in mind. Asa's website is

The presentation is over an hour, so feel free to come back!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Interacting in the Funky Forest: OpenFrameworks, Multimedia, and Kids

For more information about this installation, including a great video clip, please see OpenFrameworks & Interactive Multimedia: Funky Forest Installation for CineKid 2007

Funky Forest was created by Emily Gobeille and Theodore Watson.

Every Surface a Computer: "Scratch" - Capturing Finger Input on Surfaces using Sound. (Chris Harrison and Scott Hudson's Video - UIST '08)

Chris Harrison and Scott Hudson, from the Human-Computer Interaction Group at Carnegie-Mellon University, presented their latest research at the UIST '08 conference. Take a look at the video below to see how gestures that result in sounds can can transformed on unpowered finger input surfaces, using a stethoscope sensors and filters:

Yes, every surface is a computer!
(Even your pants...)

For detailed information, read the paper presented at UIST '08 by Chris Harrison and Scott E. Hudson:
Scratch Input: Creating Large, Inexpensive, Unpowered, and Mobile Finger Input Surfaces


The Best Paper Award at UIST '08 was "Bringing Physics to the Surface", by Andrew Wilson, of Microsoft Research, and Ahahram Izadi, Otmar Hilliges, Armando Garcia-Mendoza, and David Kirk, of Microsoft Research, Cambridge.

Here is the abstract:

"This paper explores the intersection of emerging surface technologies, capable of sensing multiple contacts and of-ten shape information, and advanced games physics engines. We define a technique for modeling the data sensed from such surfaces as input within a physics simulation. This affords the user the ability to interact with digital objects in ways analogous to manipulation of real objects. Our technique is capable of modeling both multiple contact points and more sophisticated shape information, such as the entire hand or other physical objects, and of mapping this user input to contact forces due to friction and collisions within the physics simulation. This enables a variety of fine-grained and casual interactions, supporting finger-based, whole-hand, and tangible input. We demonstrate how our technique can be used to add real-world dynamics to interactive surfaces such as a vision-based tabletop, creating a fluid and natural experience. Our approach hides from application developers many of the complexities inherent in using physics engines, allowing the creation of applications without preprogrammed interaction behavior or gesture recognition."

Preparation for the Internet of Surfaces & Things?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Multi-touch, Gestures, Holograms, Oh My!

I've been posting quite a bit about emerging technologies lately on my Interactive Multimedia Technology blog, with lots of photos and video clips. Why? There has been quite a surge lately as new technologies move mainstream, much to my delight.

Microsoft's next operating system, Windows 7, allows for multi-touch and gesture recognition, and with this support, developers and harddware manufacturers are moving ahead. PDC 2008 (Professional Developer's Conference) and WinHEC 2008 (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) included lots of multi-touch and gesture-based demonstrations. At the same time, CNN's multi-touch magic map wall gained more recognition during a Saturday Night Live parody by Fred Armisen. CNN took emerging technology to the masses on election night via video holograms.

Here are links to some of my recent posts:

Multi-Touch News from WinHEC and PDC

CNN's Holographic Technology: Wolf Blitzer and Jessica Yellin, Anderson Cooper and Will.I.Am, and the Music Video

Searching for Multi-Touch Info? Drivers for Windows 7 available from NextWindow &HP TouchSmart... More about N-Trig....Multi-Touch Resources

Emerging Technologies: SHiFT 08 Conference- Sensor Networks and Data for the Open Internet of Things

Emerging Interactive Technologies: SecondLight from Microsoft, at PDC 2008

Steven Sinofsky Discusses Multi-touch and the HP TouchSmart, Windows 7, and more at PDC 2008

Grafiti - a multi-touch, table-top, surface computing application, from a member of the NUI group

Multi-touch Parody of CNN's Magic Map Wall: Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update MegaPixel Giant Touch-map

The atracTable Multi-Touch System from Atracsys

Most of my October blog posts

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Brief History of the Future of Urban Computing and Locative Media: Ann Galloway's Ph.D. Thesis

The purse lip square jaw blog was one of my favorite blogs. The author of the blog, Ann Galloway, focused on "critical social and cultural studies of technology and design", and published the blog from 2000-2008, as part of her Ph.D. work at Carelton University in Canada.

Anne recently completed her Ph.D. dissertation, which is available on-line. (pdf)

If you are serious about issues related to pervasive computing, related technologies, and the "bigger picture", Anne's dissertation is well worth reading. For those oof you who have less time, visit the archived blog. It is conveniently organized by year and month. I encourage you to take some time to browse around.

Fellow bloggers and future historians of blogging/Web 2.0 will find that Anne's reflections and participation in the blogosphere over the past years enlightening. Here is one of my favorite quotes from her blog:

"But I started to rally for multiplicity instead of homogeneity. I wanted to belong to "the race of words, which homes are built with" and to "get free of myself". I chose to be guided by Deleuzian ethics. I recognised writing my blog as a method of inquiry and began to see my dissertation as writing to get free of myself."

Excerpt from Chapter 3:

"Emphasising how blogging is simultaneously private and public, individual and
collective, I raise a variety of questions about authorship, audience and authority
in contemporary academic knowledge production. Beginning with a discussion of
blogging and affective politics, I use excerpts from my blog and the comments
people made there to draw attention to the more physical and emotional,
financial and political, aspects of intellectual labour. They may be excluded from
our formal work, and often even from the classroom, but they can nonetheless
find a place online—where we and others can engage them in new and productive
" - Anne Galloway

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Internet of Things: More from CNN -Internetting every thing, everywhere, all the time; Sensor networks for the elderly

The Internet of Things has gone mainstream.

Yesterday I posted about David Orban's recent presentation at SHiFT 08:
Sensor Networks and Data for the Open Internet of Things, and embeded the video clip, "Why We Need to Listen to our Things". I planned on revisiting this topic in a couple of weeks, but this morning, I came across two related articles that I wanted to share right away.

The first article, Internetting everything, everywhere, all the time, by Cherise Fong, for CNN, discusses the basics, and includes links to additional information about concepts, such as RFID, or Radio Frequency Identity technology, NFC (Near Field Communication), Spime, Nabaztag, Oyster, Octopus, Suica, Mirror, Tikitag, Violet, Mir:ror, ztamps - with links for the tech-curious.

What interested me the most was EEML, or Extended Environments Markup Language, which is "a protocol for sharing sensor data between remote responsive environments, both physical and virtual. It can be used to facilitate
direct connections between any two environments; it can also be used to facilitate many-to-many connections as implemented by the web service Pachube, which enables people to tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices and spaces around the world....Possible end-users range from construction managers, large-building occupants and architects, to electronics manufacturers and interactive artists and designers."

I came across the second related article in this morning's Sunday paper. The Charlotte Observer printed an article by Bob Moos, of the Dallas Observer, about the use of emerging technologies to help the elderly stay in their homes:

Robots, sensors to help elderly stay at home: Devices will detect when residents have sleepless nights or forget to take their medication

Photo via the Charlotte Observer, by Michael Mulvey - MCT Photo
Note: The system is running on Debian

The National Science Foundation and other sources have worked to fund the Heracleia Human-Centered Computing Laboratory at the University of Texas at Arlington. One of the focus of current research is to develop "smart" homes that are embedded with networks of sensors and webcams to support the independence of elderly people, without seeming like the system is an invasion of privacy. This technology, as well as related technologies, will be demonstrated at the Silvers Summit on Saturday, January 10, 2009 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).


SmartSilvers Alliance

More about David Orban and OpenSpime:

If you are interested in emerging technologies and pervasive computing, you'll find Orban's blog facinating. It is published in English, Italian, and Hungarian. He's involved in several Web 2.0 communities, including Second Life. He is also a member of OpenSpime, where you can read his post that covers the topics in his SHiFT '08 presentation.

Listening to our objects (10/27/08)

Excerpt from post:
"The granularity, frequency, and intensity of the chatter that the spimes in the network perform will be vital, and it will be a fundamental task to be able and reliably translate from their plane of communication to the one of aggregated, second-order knowledge, where we can understand it, where we can derive useful, valuable information which we can act upon!


"OpenSpime is a project of WideTag, Inc., a technology infrastructure company incorporated in California, USA, providing hardware and software solutions for an Open Internet of Things."

"The OpenSpime technology enables individuals, corporations, and governments to better understand the environment surrounding them. A new generation of GPS-enabled sensor networks, based on the open source OpenSpime communication protocol will collect the necessary data, and using scalable server technology, aggreate, manage, and visualize the data collected."
Snail Mail: RFID-enabled real snail, carrying e-mail.
"Our snails are equipped with a miniaturised electronic circuit and antenna, enabling them to be assigned messages. Your message is collected from a despatch centre at one end of their enclosure. Once associated with the tiny electronic chip on the snail's shell your message will be carried around until the snail chances by the drop off point. Here more hardware collects your message and forwards it to its final destination."

Apple's Personal Area Network Systems and Devices patent via SlashGear

IPSO Alliance: Promoting the use of IP for Smart Objects: "Welcome to the launch of the Internet of Things"
"Today, with this association, we are creating the foundation which makes the Internet of Things a reality. We are bringing together companies across the globe with the objective of using IP to interconnect physical objects with the global Internet. Through our Technical Advisory Board we will document, demonstrate and teach how IP can be used in Smart Objects and provide IPSO members with updates on technology standards. This IP Smart Object technology will play an essential role in the challenge to master our energy distribution and consumption, automate our homes and work environments, modernize our cities and satisfy many other market requirements" -Geof Mulligan, Chairman; Patrick Wetterwald, President, JP Vasseur, TAB Chairman

IPSO Alliance FAQ's

RFID Weblog

Ann Galloway's Internet of Things Working Bibliography

Privacy and Security Issues, RFID, and the Internet of Things

As RFID tracking booms, privacy issues loom (Chris Taylor, CNN, 5/11/07)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

SHiFT 08: Sensor Networks and Data for the Open Internet of Things

I first learned about the "Internet of Things" nearly two years ago when I was taking a Ubicomp class. Since that time, things have sped quickly along in the research arena, but I don't think most folks are aware of how this technological transformation will impact our daily lives.

The videoclip below is from David Orban's presentation at SHiFT 08, "Why We Need to Listen to our Things":

Orban discusses how we currently spend much of our time taking care of our mobile devices, but as the magnitude of devices increasing, it is difficult to manage things as we have in the past. There is just too much data...There is a need for obtaining information from sensor networks. "We must derive deep knowledge of the environment from these sensors."
In the video clip, Orban goes on to discuss the various challenges in this field:

  • Signal to Noise problem.
  • Signal to Signal problem.
  • Management of the sheer volume of data that is generated, or will be generated - how data is filtered and analysed.
  • Dependability - managing spime systems and sensor networks of tens of billions of elements.
  • Aggregation of data to derive second order knowledge.
  • New phenomena will surprise us in the future, we will learn more about our environment, and listen to our planet more clearly.
Video by Wide Tag Inc.
October 2008


SHifT 08 was held in Lisbon, Portugal on October 15-17. The focus of this year's conference was Transient Technologies, "in the sense that technology is breaking up with it's digital boundaries and it's becoming a vital part of a lot of the things we do and interact with in our daily lives."

The themes of SHiFT 08 included user experience, mobile computing, sustainability, the social web, web design, open technologies, digital media, artificial intelligence, spimes, and knowledge & innovation.