Posted: July 31st, 2011 | Comments Off
Interesting perspective by Leila Takayama on Kicker studio’s weblog:
“What are 5 things all designers should know?
1. People respond to many interactive technologies in ways that they respond to people, even when they won’t admit it or can’t recognize it. (See: The Media Equation)
2. There is often a gap between how people reflectively talk about an interactive product and what they actually do in the moment of interacting with that product. Know which of those matters to you.
3. What is perceived can be more important what is objectively true when it comes to how people embrace and engage with interactive objects.
4. It really does not take much for an interactive product to seem like it has its own agency and apparent intentions. (See: Heider & Simmel demonstrations)
5. Under promise and over deliver on user expectations.“
Why do I blog this? Simply because it’s an informal summary of various points that echo with my perspective.
Posted: July 30th, 2011 | Comments Off
Biophilia – Björk’s app-based music album – is a curious experience. Among the different app, the one that caught my eyes is certainly “Crystalline” (which corresponds to the first single off the new album) made by Scott Snibbe.
From a musical standpoint, the song is played with Gameleste, an iPad-controllable mix of Gamelan Celeste hybrid that makes sweet xylophone organ box sounds. On top of which she sings the following lyrics:
“underneath our feet, crystals growing like plants/ listen how they grow/ I’m blinded by the light/ listen how they grow/ in the core of the earth/ listen how they grow/ crystalline internal nebula/ crystalline/ rocks growing slow more/ crystalline/ I conquer claustrophobia/ crystalline/ and demand the light.“
Now, about the app, it’s a bit like a REZ/Katamari Damacy cross-over. It’s basically like a rail shooter except that you don’t kill targeted enemies. Instead, your avatar, a tiny crystal, travel along a predetermined path through mines in which you can collect other kinds of crystal. You just have to tilt the iOS device to catch them:
By aggregating new material, basically unlock new colorful tunnels in which you can progress. Each of them correspond to different music modules. The result is a quite immersive experience that allow listeners to discover their own music arrangements.
As discussed on evolver.fm:
“ The “Crystalline” app is the way Björk sees music in her head. I think she has a certain type ofsynesthesia, so that when she’s listening — especially to pop music, she said — she actually sees a tunnel like that. The number of sides of the tunnel changes depending on the rhythms and the music. So that app is about music structure, crystals, obviously, and this game-like interaction to move through the structures.“
See also his point about the kind of experience they created:
“or sure, people are still going to be listening to recorded music tracks while they’re doing something else (…) But with the digitization of music, we’ve lost that special moment. You can think of the app as, finally, that chance to unwrap the box and have a personal, intimate experience again with music. It might be the case that people spend a lot of time with the app when it first comes out [as they did with album covers] and then perhaps they’ll move on to purely enjoying the music after that. But we’ll really have to wait and see.“
Why do I blog this? Playing with iOS apps on Saturday morning and reflecting about them. Beyond the role of apps in music album, I find interesting to observe the sort of original experience one can create when crossing various components such as a tilting sensors, a tiny display, video game archetypes, headphones and good music.
Posted: July 29th, 2011 | Comments Off
Laurent Bolli gave me my “tweetbook” copy. It’s basically a book with the content I’ve put on Twitter for few months. Tweetbook is a print-on-demand platform made by bookap that allows to archive your Twitter feed into a beautifully printed and bound book. The project was presented at a nice exhibit called “Objet(s) numériques” at Le Lieu du Design in Paris.
As described on bookapp’s webite:
“The booklet gather biographic material and give a documentary dimension to the flow of micro-messages. In order to create one’s tweetbook, the author enter his or her Twitter ID on an vending machine and the book is automatically produce. The corresponding opus can also be sent by email (PDF) or printed on demand, as a sort of “express autobiography”“
Why do I blog this? An interesting experiment to turn digital material into a physical instantiation. Interestingly, there’s more than the tweets: tag and people indexes, basic stats and visualizations also reveal some information about your content production:
Posted: July 27th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Anne Galloway’s recent blogposts about epizoic media and the Internet of cows made me think about this PDF that I recently dropped on my computer desktop. It’s called “Animal-Computer: a manifesto (see also this technical report) and it’s written by Clara Mancini from The Open University in the UK.
The article is about sophisticated computerized environments affording complex interactivity to pets and animals. Agricultural engineering, primate cognition studies, pet-tracking systems and telemetric sensor devices worn by leopards, birds or elephants are standard examples of such animal-computer interactions. The author highlight that although these examples are fairly common, this line of research has never really entered mainstream HCI/Computer science, leaving the “animal perspective” left aside in such body of work: “For some reason, animal-computer interaction (ACI) is, quite literally, the elephant in the room of user- computer interaction research“.
Which is why the author delineates the contour of animal-computer interaction research:
“ACI aims to understand the inter- action between animals and com- puting technology within the con- texts in which animals habitually live, are active, and socialize with members of the same or other spe- cies, including humans. Contexts, activities, and relationships will differ considerably between spe- cies, and between wild, domestic, working, farm, or laboratory ani- mals. In each particular case, the interplay between animal, technol- ogy, and contextual elements is of interest to the ACI researcher.“
Of course, this draws fascinating questions both abstract and operational:
“How do we involve them in the design process? How do we evalu- ate the technology we develop for them? How do we investigate the interplay between nonhuman par- ticipants, technology, and contex- tual factors? In other words, how are we going to develop a user-cen- tered design process for animals?“
Why do I blog this? Certainly because Julian and myself dealt with animal-computer interaction few years ago, working on a project we called “new interaction partners (it aimed at exploring the animal-computer interaction in entertainment). I’ve recently been drawn to this ACI field again as one of my student at the design school in Geneva worked on project that also involved pets and cell-phones. Perhaps, this could be a new line of research to explore next year.
Posted: July 21st, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Such frames never ceases to fascinates me.
Posted: July 21st, 2011 | 4 Comments »
“It should come as no surprise that the design and development of urban informatic systems is currently dominated by people coming from a background in web design. Despite the fact that these are very smart, extremely talented people, they struggle – as we all do – with the received assumptions, latent biases, and hidden agendas that one’s background inevitably brings to the new and relatively uncharted territory. So you find urban system designers that can’t help but view the city as a website“
Mark Shepard, “Toward the Sentient City”, Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space, 2011
Why do I blog this? The perusal of this excerpt from Shepard’s book about urban informatics, on my way to Marseille for Lift France 2011, immediately echoed with my own feelings. What he expresses here, was actually a footnote but I found it quite important to highlight an interesting phenomenon. This footnote was related to a part of the book intro in which Mark Shepard describes that the underlying logic of “smart cities” can sometimes be limited to functionalist views such as “a searchable city with an easily accessible shopping cart”. More specifically, this quote echoes with my feeling when using various mobile services/apps (public transport, restaurant review, location-based signage, augmented reality…).
Posted: July 19th, 2011 | Comments Off
Theme parks and horror houses are not necessarily the kind of stuff you think about when someone tells you about interaction design… but these artifacts must be carefully thought. And this paper called The Gas Mask: A Probe for Exploring Fearsome Interactions is intriguing for that matter because it describes an interesting design research approach that explore what the authors calls “fearsome interactions”.
The papers presents a mask-based interface that is made of breath sensors, WiFi (to wirelessly transmit “breathing data”) and a wireless microphone. Two combinations of these are tested as probes in an interactive ride. The field study is quite revealing and the authors highlight “six key dimensions of designing fearsome interactions“: cultural, visceral, social, control, performance and engineering. More specifically, I was intrigued by the one they refer to as “control”:
“An important aspect of fearsome experiences such as thrill rides or perhaps even watching a horror film is that of giving up control; committing to a scary and unknown experience and not being able to back out, either physically or socially. Our gas mask interface amplifies this because the user cannot disengage from it; the sensor is strapped to their face, emphasising the message that the machine will sense and respond to their every breathing action. (…) Contrary to conventional HCI wisdom which argues that users should be able to gracefully manage their engagement and disengagement with sensing systems, the wider challenge here is to create interfaces that require them to surrender or at least fight for control.”
Why do I blog this? First because of my interest towards weird research foci. Second because of the general implications. Although this kind of research looks curious at first, the results discussion is quite important for interaction design/human-computer interaction research. The discussion about control is of particular interest.
Posted: July 17th, 2011 | Comments Off
An interesting overview of the “Talk to Me” exhibit at MoMA in the NYT written by Alice Rawthorn. Some excepts I found interesting:
““We went through so many changes in the definition of design in the 20th century with all the clichés about form following function, and the addition of meaning in the 1960s with post-structuralism, but what is really important right now is communication,” Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, said by telephone. (…) “Because of that designers can’t just think in terms of form, function and meaning when they develop new objects, they have to learn a bit of script writing too.”
Though the same same microchips that enable things as small as smart phones to fulfill hundreds of different functions also make them more opaque. In the industrial era when form generally followed function, you could guess how to use an electronic product from its appearance. You can’t do that with a tiny digital device, which is why designers face the new challenge that Ms. Antonelli calls “script writing,” in other words, ensuring that the object can tell us how to use it.
“There is still an imbalance between the aesthetic value of some projects and their functional value, and designers need to make much more effort to explain what they are doing,” Ms. Antonelli said. “This field is moving so fast, but we are still dealing with the old clichés and still adding new ones.”“
Why do I blog this? It’s interesting to see how the curator puts things into perspective (wrt to interaction design). From an STS standpoint, the notion of “script writing” can be understood in two sense: (1) the code writing aspect that underpins interaction design of course, (2) the very idea that designers/engineers embed a vision of users in the technical objects they create… what Actor-Network Theory describes as script-building (among which certain clichés about users’ attitudes, expectations and needs). It’s therefore intriguing that Antonelli uses this “script” term.
Posted: July 15th, 2011 | Comments Off
Although it’s hard to see on this picture taken in Marseille last week, it represents the maximum distance between two persons using the same iPhone headset.
Collaborative usage of music if you want and headset proxemics.
Why do I blog this? Collecting behavior like this leads me to wonder about a new book project about categorizing such habits/practices… Besides, I am fascinated by the use of audio/sound interactions (as “non-optical augmented reality”, collaborative practices, etc.).
Posted: July 12th, 2011 | Comments Off
Stumbled across this curious project this morning: the Moon Life Foundation, an interdisciplinary platform organisation for research and innovation in art and culture to a future life by people on the moon. Their aim is to create a community of practitioners and public about this sound topic.
What I found intriguing about their work is this:
“The extraterrestrial context with its extreme conditions, restrictions and opportunities forces us to abandon familiar points of departure in the design process. The fact that this can lead to innovative and functional tools for our earthly existence has already been proved by the aerospace industry (Velcro, microwave, Internet, laptop, MP3 player and airbag). With the interdisciplinary character of the project (science, technology, art and design) in a futuristic context, Moon Life aims to initiate a new development in design culture. Is it possible to create a future-oriented, innovative impulse for instance in the same way that Constant’s New Babylon did in his time?“
Why do I blog this? Documenting curious design research project as a way to show what kind of material can emerge out of it.