Sunday, September 27, 2009

Making Cities Alive: Augmented Dynamic Aerial Earth Maps with Real-Time Crowd-Cast Videos

At Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing, a research group is has developed methods for augmenting aerial visualizations of Earth with dynamic information taken from videos.

-Georgia Tech website

Project Website
Augmenting Aerial Earth Maps with Dynamic Information

Authors: Kihwan Kim , Dr. Sangmin-Oh, Jeonggyu Lee and Professor Dr. Irfan Essa(Director)

Overview (taken from project website)

The paper associated with this project will be presented at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2009) in Orlando Florida, October 19-22.


ISMAR 2009  will launch a new program featuring developments in Arts, Media and Humanities research and applications.  "The programs will be covering how Mixed and Augmented Reality is revolutionizing diverse application domains and how its innovators are applying the art and craft of melting the boundaries between the real, virtual and imagined."

 levelHead, by Julian Oliver

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Layar for Android, an Augmented Reality Browser for Android: 3D version coming in November 2009

"Eventually, the physical and the virtual worlds will become one"

The power of location-based services is harnessed by Layar, working on mobile phones that have a compass, GPS, and a camera. The first version of Layer targets mobile devices with the Android operating system.

Layar, world's first mobile augmented reality browser:

TechCrunch Video: Layar: Augmented Reality Browser for Android

How it works:

In November,  Layar Reality Browser will add 3D functionality to its augmented reality platform for Android:

"With 3D, developers can tag real-life objects with 3D text, place 3D objects in real-world space, and create multi-sensory experiences. The addition of 3D enables Layar developers to create more realistic and immersive augmented reality experiences for mobile devices" 

 Layar3D Augmented Reality Engine Trial: Arcade Game
Layar 3D Augmented Reality Engine Trial: Venue Tagging

How Layar 3D Works

" Layar 3D makes use of OpenGL, the accelerometer, the GPS and the compass of the phone. Developers can place 3D objects in their content layers based on coordinates. Objects can be optimized in size and orientation to create an immersive and realistic experience. The 3D capabilities support live downloading and rendering of 3D objects. Actions such as “open link” or “play music” can be assigned to 3D objects."

I love this concept!

For your convenience, I've provided links from the Layar website:
View all 116 layers that are now live all over the world on Layar 2.1
last update September 25th 2009

Near Field Communication Touch Interaction

From the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog:
The Touch Project is based in the Interaction Design department of the Oslow School of Architecture and Design in Norway. "Touch is a research project that investigates Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology that enables connections between mobile phones and physical things. We are developing applications and services that enable people to interact with everyday objects and situations through their mobile devices. Touch consists of an inter-disciplinary team involved in social and cultural enquiry, interaction/industrial design, rapid prototyping, software, testing and exhibitions." -

Nearness Explores Interaction Without Touching

Nearness from timo on Vimeo.

iPhone RFID: Object-based media

iPhone RFID: object-based media from timo on Vimeo.

reTouch Info Sheet (pdf)

reTouch is part of the Touch project, and it " brings together hundreds of cross-cultural examples of social norms and values involving touch—all categorised according to actions related to touching. Using quotes from ethnographic accounts written between the late 1800s and the present, re/touch encourages designers and researchers to explore how touch is used by people to relate to one another and the worlds in which we live. Browse re/touch to create design briefs, refine interaction scenarios, devise game play, or otherwise think, make and do things touchrelated." -reTouch web info, Anne Galloway.

One of the members of the research team is Anne Galloway, a social researcher and the author of the  purselipsquarejaw blog, which she recently resurrected after taking a year off from blogging.

Anne also contributes to the space and culture journal.  I've followed Anne's writing for a while.  Over the course of her Ph.D. studies, she has thought deeply about the intersections of technology, space, and culture,  including cross-cultural meanings of touch.

Inspiring Touch Related Interaction Design

Original Design Thinking Approach for Researching RFID
-Nikolas Nova, Pasta and Vinegar

Note:  Nikolas Nova's Pasta and Vinegar blog is worth taking a look at if you are interested in design, UX, emerging technologies, pervasive/ubiquitous computing.

About Nikolas and his blog:
"User Experience researcher at LIFTlab. My work is about studying how people use various technologies and turn them into insights, ideas, prototypes or recommendations to inform design and foresight.This blog is a selection of the material that I collect, especially in fields such as mobility, urban environments, digital entertainment and new interfaces. I am also part of the near future laboratory."

Sample of Pasta and Vinegar Posts:
(Touch) Interaction Vocabulary
A Graphic Language for Touch-based Interactions

Natural User Interface News: Bamboo Wacom multi-touch gesture tablet; SnowFlake Suite and PresTop multi-touch kiosks

Wacom Tablets Get Multi-Touch, Gestures
(Charlie Sorrel, Wired, 9/24/09)
"For the tech-curious, the new tablets have 512 pressure levels in the pen tip and the active area of the tablet is 5.8 x 3.6 inches, and all lose the in-pack mouse (for obvious reasons). The Touch and the Pen models are both $70, and the Pen & Touch is $100. Also, if you were thinking of buying Photoshop Elements 7 for the same price, get a tablet instead — Elements comes in the box."

Official Wacom Video

"Bamboo Touch is new type of computer input device by Wacom that lets you navigate and perform commands like zoom, scroll, rotate and more with a series of simple finger taps and hand gestures. Bamboo Touch brings Multi-Touch capability to your Mac or PC"

Video from a Wacom user:

A nice alternative to a mouse.  I'm going to get one for my laptop!

Multi-touch Kiosks!
Press release:  Dutch touchscreen supplier PresTop partners with Natural User Interface (NUITEQ)


I couldn't find any video clips of PresTop's multi-touch interaction. From what I can tell, PresTop multi-touch screens will be using SnowFlake Suite from Natural User Interface Technogies AB.

How-to:SnowFlake Suite Flash multi-touch Interactable component (NUIversity)

Without a single line of code, you can do quite a bit with Snowflake Suite

"This video covers how to make a rotatable and scalable image. The beauty about this is, that we have developed a Flash mouse input simulator, so that there is no need for multi-touch hardware in order to develop your applications. Simply simulate multiple mouse inputs for multi-touch.This project is still in alpha phase and a download will become available with the next release of Snowflake Suite 1.7 for the NextWindow platform and camera based multi-touch solutions."

Below is a video of single-touch interaction for PresTop, from Omnivision:

PresTop  PresTop offers interactive hardware and software solutions that can be used indoors as well as in outdoor environments.

Intersection of Art and Technology: Cleveland's Bridge Project, 36 Views of a Bridge

Cleveland's Detroit Superior Bridge is the centerpiece of a festival that involves, art, music, technology, and an opportunity for participatory design.   

The Bridge Project:   "Magical things will be there."

Graduate design students from Cleveland Urban Design College will be participating in a community design charrette, part of the Bridge Project/IngenuityFest scheduled on September 25th and 26th (2009). The Detroit Superior Bridge (Veterans Memorial Bridge) has a bottom level that was previously used for streetcars, but was closed for use in 1954. This level of the bridge is the space where the event will be held.

The student's designs are posted on the web and provide the chance for people to rate them by voting.

Here are a few that I liked:

Cleveland at a Glance, by Allexander Koch. 

 "What would Cleveland look like if you could see the major elements of the city all at once?"

"Infopoints", by Lilly Russell.

A comment left on the web regarding the design:  "I like this idea but want to see it combined with something else.... a little more virtual or live if you will vs just signs."

My favorite of all of the events listed on the website? 36 Views of a Bridge.

36 Views of a Bridge is an interactive film that uses time-lapse photography to explore the converging worlds surrounding the Veterans Memorial Bridge. Participants can interact with a state-of-the-art multi-touch user interface to vote on which scenes from the film will play next. Alexander Boxerbaum and Andrew D. Horchler worked on the project, and the multi-touch interface was created by Christopher Yanc, a member of the NUI Group Community.

36 View of a Bridge Interactive Video Playlist from Chris Yanc on Vimeo.

Cris Yanc's description of the project:

"People will be able to use a multi-touch table which is syncronized with the playing HD projected videos to change the playing order of the videos. The table will also display additional information about the videos. Plus there may just be some special fun extras on the table to play with.
This project on my part will be an interesting study of how multiple people will interact with in on-demand environment.

  • Will people stack the voting to circumvent which video is to be played next?
  • Will people feel the need to organize all of the videos?
  • Will they disregard the voting all together and just watch the videos as they play?
  • What is fair and unfair in this type of environment?
  • What may happen that we've never even considered happening?"
This is another example of how technology and the real-world converge.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dance in Urban Spaces: Revisiting T-Mobile's Life's For Sharing Campaign and Other Flashmob "Happenings".

I decided to take another look at a few videos of some of the ad campaigns and other smart mob-like "happenings" from the perspective of world-as-interface. In all of the videos, you can see the excitement on the faces of the on-lookers as whip out their various mobile devices, take pictures or videos, call their friends, or simply join in the fun. In just a short period of time, the digital content generated from the real-space experience is transferred cyber-space, where it continues to live on and enjoyed by others in ways the original participants had not imagined.

T-Mobile's Life's for Sharing "Happening" in the UK

What did the public think of the T-Mobile Dance at Liverpool Station?

Michael Jackson Tribute, Sweden

Boost Mobile Break Dancers in Time Square, August 2009

"Pregnant" women break dancing to raise awareness about the millions of women around the world who do not have access to healthcare during their pregnancies.

40th Anniversary of Woodstock Flashmob at San Francisco's Union Square.

Latvian Folk Dancing Flash Mob

Dancing at the Mall in Portland: Hundreds Unexpectedly Broke Out in Viral Dance at Clackamas Town Center

Urban Screens, Urban Scenes, Media Facades: Obscura Digital's Outdoor iGoogle Artist Themes Launch in NYCU

The event took place over a year ago, but I thought it was worth re-visiting, given the theme of this blog. For more pictures, visit the photo gallery of the event on the BizBash New York website.
"Google wanted to make a big impression for the debut of its iGoogle Artist Themes. Obscura Digital delivered by transforming New York City’s MeatPacking district into a massive outdoor art gallery for three nights. Using sixteen projectors perched atop three rooftops at the intersection of Little West 12th, 9th Avenue, and Gansevoort, we projected the artist themes onto the exteriors of ten buildings in a synchronized, animated display complete with audio. Many of the 70 participating artists—including architect Michael Graves, artist Jeff Koons, designer Marc Ecko, and photographer Anne Geddes—came out to see their work writ large. In spite of the rainy night, the brightness of 30,000-lumen projectors was hard to miss and people on the street stopped to take in the spectacle"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to the Future: "World-as-Interface" concepts in 1993 "You Will" AT&T commercials

AT&T's 1993 "You Will" commercials

AT&T's 1993 predictions were remarkably accurate

Mixed Reality at the Nokia Research Center: Creating an interfaced and connected world!

The people at Nokia Research Center are working hard at creating an interfaced world. The video provides a few examples of what we might expect in the near-to-mid future:

YouTube Description:

"This concept allows to you to experience immersion and effortless navigation in new ways. New types of interactions involving near-to-eye displays, gaze direction tracking, 3D audio, 3D video, gesture and touch. Through these new types of social linkages people will be connected in innovative ways between the physical and digital worlds."

Nokia's future-looking projects look have many features that support the concept of world-as-interface.  Mobile phones will be transformed into mobile magic lenses "which lets users look through the mobile’s display at a world that has been supplemented with information about the objects that it sees." The web will blend with reality through Nokia Image Space, and allow people to upload pictures and related information that can be accessed and explored in a variety of ways, through mobile phones or traditional browsers.  Near-to-Eye Displays will be used to augment mobile interfaces, and incorporate gaze tracking technologies.

The physical world will blend with the digital:  "Through the use of haptic feedback, and other technologies just being invented, our interaction with the digital world and with each other will become more integrated and tangible. Being able to “feel” when a friend is close by through a shirt that hugs you is one example. Tapping a friend on the shoulder from miles away. Having your shoes vibrate if you take a wrong turn, or walk into a bad area of town".


Nokia Research Center

Mobile Mixed Reality (pdf)

Nokia Image Space

Nokia Point and Find

Metaverse Roadmap Project
Metaverse Roadmap Overview (pdf)

Developing Gaze Tracker for Diffractive-Optics-Enabled Near-to-Eye Displays

Hyperlinking Reality via Phones - MIT Technology Review

Virtual Reality Continuum

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Interactive interfaces at the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

This video gives some background about the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and also provides a glimpse of some interesting interfaces and interaction.

forward/slash: The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts Story from GAFFTA on Vimeo.

"Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to building social consciousness through digital culture. Guided by the principles of openness, collaboration, and resource sharing, our programs promote creativity at the intersection of art, design, sound, and technology. By making digital culture accessible, substantive and inspiring, we aim to help realize the greatest power of technology: to bring us closer, faster. For more information and how you can be a part of our vision, please visit"

Thanks to Seth Sandler for the link!
(This is a cross-post.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The World Is My Interface: An Introduction (and some links)

A new name for this blog!

I've changed the name of this blog to reflect the direction of my thinking over the past 2-3 years.  At the time this blog was born, I didn't have the words to explain the concept any better!  The idea for the new title popped into my head after I wrote the following blog post:

The World Is My Web Browser:  Interactive Technology in Public Spaces

This blog was created when I was taking a graduate class,  Ubiquitous Computing.  I'd been using my TechPsych and Interactive Multimedia Technology blogs as drawers to my "online filing cabinet",  and thought I needed another drawer to organize my on-line stuff. At the time, was assigned readings from Adam Greenfield's book, "Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing".   I also was reading Dan Saffer's book, Designing for Interaction, which I selected for use as a reference when I was working on projects for a Human-Computer Interaction class. After the semester ended, I continued with this blog.  

(If you are new to this blog, it might be good to know that I'm a school psychologist in my day job, with training in educational and clinical psychology, special education, and social science. During my university days the first time around, I took elective courses in music, dance, and art.  I continue to dabble in these areas, focusing on digital photography, videography,  playing my electronic keyboard, and sketch-doodling. My journey into technology began in 2003,  initially inspired with a desire to create interactive multimedia games for young people for use on mobile devices as well as interactive whiteboards.)

Sample of my related posts:

Touch Screen Interaction in Public Spaces, if "every Surface is to be a computer" 

The interaction that had me at "hello world": SixthSense TED presentation by Pattie Maes, of MIT's Fluid Interfaces Group.

Technology-Supported Shopping and Entertainment User Experience at Ballantyne Village:  "A" for concept, "D" for touch-screen usability

Interactive Displays in Public Spaces

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

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

The Touch Research Project, re/Touch and Near Field Communication Touch Interaction
Urban Screens in Cyberspace and Public Space on 7 Continents

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

Two more examples of multi-touch and gesture interaction out in public:  Accenture at O'Hare Airport;  Tac Table

Christopher Baker Revisited:  Resident Artist at Kitchen Budapest

For a smile - T-Mobile and Flash Mobs:  Dancing and Singing in the UK

LTE vs WiMax: Trying my best to understand emerging technologies 

RFID,  Mobile Devices, and Museum Interaction

The World Is My Web Browser:  Interactive Technology in Public Spaces

Locative Media and the Mobile City Blog

News about Smart Grids and Smart Kitchens


Putting People First: Ubiquitous Computing Posts
The Web Outside

(Jayne Karolow, Director of Community at locamoda

Wayfinding Through Technology  Cennydd Bowles,  Johnny Holland Magazine 9/15/09

"We are relying ever more on technology to help us out. In this article I am discussing how people form mental models of urban environments, and how technology can augment and even replace our wayfinding skills."


PurseLips Square Jaw (Ann Galloway's in-depth blog) 
"Drawing from a background in the social sciences, I am interested in connections between material, spatial and cultural practices. My current research critically investigates new technologies in terms of embodied practice and material culture."

Ann Galloway's on-line Ph.D. Dissertation

"The dissertation builds on available sociological approaches to understanding everyday life in the networked city to show that emergent technologies reshape our experiences of spatiality, temporality and embodiment. It contributes to methodological innovation through the use of data bricolage and research blogging, which are presented through experimental and recombinant textual strategies; and it contributes to the field of science and technology studies by bringing together actor-network theory with the sociology of expectations in order to empirically evaluate an area of cutting-edge design."

Space and Culture Journal

Space and Culture Bloggers

Worldchanging Interview, Vinay Venkatraman on Interaction Design Julia Levitt, 9/17/09

"Vinay Venkatraman, an interaction designer, is one of a rapidly expanding group of scholars and professionals around the world working to define the way our stuff behaves. Although it's natural for most people to understand the need for interaction with gadgets like software and mobile devices, the field is actually remarkably broad. In an increasingly interactive age, the success of systems, services and even whole corporations and organizations often comes down to an effective interface, created with human behavior in mind."

Ubiquitous Communication in an Intelligent World
Workshop, Sept. 18–19, 2009, Budapest

"In the coming years communication chips will routinely be embedded in a great number and variety of everyday objects. Also, ever more segments in the world surrounding us become tagged with digital information. In what ways, from the point of view of the social sciences and philosophy, will the pattern of life change when ubiquitous communication extends to our inanimate environment, when information exchange, and the coordination of activities, involves not only person-to-person connections, but also person-to-object, object-to-person, and indeed object-to-object ones? It is to be expected that philosophical notions like tool, agent, and even con­sciousness, will undergo radical changes. On a more pedestrian level, looking at current technological possibilities and their effects, we can assume that when tools and objects hold enough processing power to assist their human counterpart with "behaviour prediction" and have ubiquitous communication capabilities, our coexistence with devices will become smoother, more efficient, and indeed more intimate. Artificial intelligence in cars, homes, and offices may be completely redefined if the devices in those environ­ments can freely communicate with each other."

(The above workshop is part of the Communications in the 21st Century: The Mobile Information Society, a multi-year series of conferences, publications, and research co-sponsored by T-Mobile and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The World is My Web Browser: Interactive Technology in Public Spaces

Off-the desktop Interactive technologies are spreading quickly, across many platforms.   It seems that within the next 3-5 years we will be able to have instant access to a social and dynamic web, with information and entertainment at our fingertips, anywhere we go. 

The "world-as-web-browser" concept is one I've touched upon in the past.  I'd like to focus on this topic in future posts.

I came across some of the information in this post on the Future of Media Blog,maintained by the folks at
the Interpublic Emerging Media Lab, based in California. This blog is a must-read!

The Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency in the UK created interactive games that provide people waiting in bus shelters the opportunity to pass the time by bashing digital falling eggs.

A more utilitarian approach to interactive touch screens is the EyeStop bus stop, a concept created by researchers MIT's SENSEable City Lab, along with the city of Florence and the city's transit service:

MIT researchers unveil the EyeStop: "Bus stop of the future" can sense its surroundings (pdf)


IPG Future of Media Blog

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