Sunday, August 30, 2009

Yelp has an Augmented Reality iPhone App for the iPhone 3Gs, "The Monocle" !

Thanks to Dan Saffer for the link from the Read Write Web!

Here is my partial "reblog":

"Social review service Yelp has snuck the first Augmented Reality (AR) iPhone app specifically for the US into the iTunes App Store. The undisclosed new feature allows iPhone 3Gs owners to shake their phones three times to turn on a view called "the Monocle." This view uses the phone's GPS and compass to display markers for restaurants, bars and other nearby businesses on top of the camera's view...Blogger Robert Scoble discovered the hidden feature and posted about it on FriendFeed today. "

Video (in French, but easy to understand by the demonstration)

"Both GPS and a compass are used to determine location and direction being pointed at."

Screen Shots:

I want an iPhone. Verizon, can you hear me now?!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Artefact's Blog: Contextual Interventions for Sustainable User Experiences

I recently came across a thoughtful blog post about contextual design and user experience, written by "Dave" at Artefact. In his post, Dave discusses the variety of monitors, interfaces, and devices that have recently been developed to help people monitor and save the energy that they use:

Contextual Interventions for Sustainable User Experiences

"There is a great opportunity to make contextual interventions during people’s behaviors. The intervention might be a change in affordances or simply information. It’s like a nudge but the key is to design influences that are tightly coupled with specific user behavior, making a feedback loop that takes advantage of the way we naturally learn. Thus, it isn’t helping analyze your utility bill, it’s suggesting that you turn off the faucet while you’re not using it."

I especially liked Dave's example of the Disappearing Pattern Tiles. If you stay in the shower too long, the pattern disappears. For people who daydream too much in the shower, this clue might really help them conserve water, in an unobtrusive way.

Disappearing Pattern Tiles


This might work for certain types of people, but some of us might do better with a timer that turns the water from hot to cold after so long. A wake-up call while you take your morning shower! I guess this wouldn't be considered contextual, but it might change long-shower taking behaviors among some of us pretty quickly!

The people who make up the Artefact group are 'big advocates of surface computing and natural user interfaces". Artifact is a research and design studio in Seattle, WA, that designs user-focused software and technology product and services. The Artefact blog posts are informative.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My First 100% Synthy Photosynth!

This morning I uploaded 17 pictures taken from the balcony of a cruise ship one morning when we docked in Ireland. I was expecting emerald green, but this is what I woke up to on that gray, drab day.

If you can't see the images below, you will need to go to the Microsoft Photosynth website at to get the required tools.

The pictures are fairly high-res, which makes it better for viewers to explore.

If you go to the Photosynth website, view this Photosynth in the Direct3D viewer, in full-screen. It is easy to navigate with a touch screen- I used my HP TouchSmart PC and was impressed with the fluid interaction, considering that this is a web-based application.

Haven't yet heard about Photosynth? Here is a description from the Photosynth website:

"Photosynth creates an amazing new experience with nothing more than a bunch of photos. Creating a synth allows you to share the places and things you love using the cinematic quality of a movie, the control of a video game, and the mind-blowing detail of the real world."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dancing and Interacting with the World: Break dancing and skateboarding performance artist with crutches

Here is the description on the YouTube CharityFocus channel:

"Like one in 1200 children, Bill Shannnon has a bilateral hip deformity -- his hips aren't round, and putting pressure on them creates swelling. Since the age of five, he's been using crutches, and by now, he considers them be an extension of his body. Instead of feeling handicapped, Shannon has elevated walking on crutches to an art form! In this video, watch Bill take it to the street, dance, skate and more -- all to challenge images of disability through performance art."

Here is Bill Shannon in the Visa "flow" ad, posted in Dance-Tech.NET

Dance Tech.NET: Interdisciplinary Explorations on the Performance of Motion

Thanks, Neema Moraveji, for the link!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Play Foursquare?! Interactive Local + Social Media Coming to a City Near You.

Foursquare is a locative-mobile system/game/social media game/activity that is starting to grow in popularity in a number of urban settings, such as NYC. It hasn't arrived in Charlotte, so I can only share what I've gleaned about it from the Foursquare website and a few reviews:

"We're all about helping you find new ways to explore the city. We'll help you meet up with your friends and let you earn points and unlock badges for discovering new places, doing new things and meeting new people."

"It's foursquare! Think: 50% friend-finder, 30% social cityguide, 20% nightlife game. We wanted to build something that not only helps you keep up with your friends, but exposes you to new things in and challenges you to explore cities in different ways. There's a lot of experimenting here, so bear with us as we try to figure it all out (and thanks!)"

"We have an iPhone app, a mobile-web site (Blackberry! Treo!) and an SMS shortcode (50500) that you can text check-ins to. For more info, look here." (For more information, visit the Foursquare NYC website.)


Foursquare: Check In, Tweet....Money on Beer (Jennifer Van Grove, Mashable, 8/7/2009)

"Foursquare is poised to be a prime player in the location-based social networking space."

Forsquare: Why it May Be the Next Twitter (Jennifer Van Grove, Mashable, 7/25/2009)
"The Game: To those of you not playing, it may sound like a joke, but don’t knock it till you try it. You earn points for every check-in — unless of course you check-in at the same locale all the time. You’re rewarded with more points for being adventuresome (exploring different parts of the city), for hitting up multiple spots in one night, and eventually for the tips other people try and the to-dos you complete."

Screen-shot from Jennifer Van Grove's Foursquare App:

Building an Army of Hyper-Local, Mobile-Connected Advocates: Or, Why Marketers Should Pay Attention to Foursquare (Allison Mooney, Ad Age Digital, 8/5/09)

"Co-founder Dennis Crowley puts it this way: "I think Foursquare found some kind of sweet spot between the intersection of social utility (Hey, I know where my friends are), sharing/oversharing (I log everywhere I go/everything I do) and gaming/rewards (every check-in gives you a little piece of candy)."

Foursquare is designed with these game dynamics in mind, and it's the absurd appeal of its reward that makes the service so "sticky.""

Naveen Selvadurai (Foursquare Co-Founder)

Cities: Amsterdam, Atlanta,Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, NYC, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Franscisco, Seattle, Washington D.C.

(Also posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Revisiting Urban Screens: 555 Kubik Facade Projection Video; info about media facades...

555 KUBIK | facade projection | from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

Take a look at the Urban Screen video channel on Vimeo!

About Urban (Germany):
"On one hand urbanscreen is a group of free media artists and architects, dealing with research and development of experimental media installations with the aim to stage urban areas. On the other hand urbanscreen acts as a professional agency which translates the creative potential of this current art form onto the dialogue between commerce and art.

"We are interested in getting in touch with anyone working in the field of experimental motion graphics and new media art to establish interesting cooperations as well as getting new inspiration. Please contact us with any question or idea."

For more background information about this concept, read my previous related to
Urban Screens.

Additional information about the Urban Screen movement can also be found on the Urban website:

"URBAN SCREENS investigates how the currently commercial use of outdoor screens and related infrastructure for digital moving images in urban space 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 of digital moving images."

Here is the International Urban Screens Association (IUSA) spin on Urban Screens:

"Urban Screens are dynamic digital displays and visual interfaces located within urban public spaces. They include LED screens and signs, plasma screens, information terminals and projection surfaces as well as intelligent architectural surfaces and media facades."

"Urban Screens transform the capacity of public spaces to serve as a platform for user-generated civic and cultural expression, community building, multiculturalism and public engagement in issues related to social, cultural and environmental sustainability."

"Through networking, content sharing and joint broadcasting, they constitute a rapidly expanding and still largely experimental global multimedia infrastructure for commercial and cultural exchange"

"The IUSA aims to inform and support the ‘worldwide Urban Screens movement’: the expanding use of dynamic digital displays in public spaces; their considerate and sustainable integration in the urban landscape; and the ability for screen communities to collaborate in the digital space to share content, experience, ideas, innovations and emerging possibilities." -IUSA