I didn’t actually write anything about Tagteam I realise, just kinda dumped in on Flickr, so thank god Janne is there.
Archive for the ‘blogjects’ Category
I came back from a very vibrant Near-field interactions workshop in Oslo, hosted and organized by Timo Arnall,Julian Bleeker and Nicolas Nova. This is the third workshop organized of this kind around this subject, the first one, which I attended, took place at LIFT, the second one took place in Geneva again a few months ago. Here is a chronological aggregation of some of what happened over the weekend.
Timo started by asking what the physical link to a virtual connection is. There are those who see RFID as a field worth exploring and that will open the development of a number of interesting projects but there are also some very real concerns around privacy and identity, areas which also were addressed in some of the discussions over the weekend. Katherine Albrecht was mentioned as an anti-RFID activist with the idea of spychips. There are also questions around “near-field” and the concept of “touch” and how these things literally collide. What are the different cultural meanings behind touching? What happens when the web becomes physical and is that even the right question to ask?
Nicolas spoke about bridging first and second life, between a data-bound world online and how it relates to the world of objects. What are the interfaces for these bridges?
Then we moved onto a “5-minute-madness” where each of the participants had to present themselves, why they were interested in this workshop and what their point of view was. I was invited to speak about some of my thoughts later on in the afternoon as well, so was pretty brief in the morning with these 3 slides.
I enjoyed Florian and Stephan’s presentation about the Mobile Prosumer. They were interested in researching whether touching is relevant in the retail environment and what is the relevant technology to support it. They were interested in developing a service-oriented architectures which I think is something very interesting.
Vincenzo Palotta, from the Université de Fribourg, presented his project on KUIjects or Kinetic User Interface objects. Based on the activity theory paradigm, he argued that if you want to avoid interactions between objects, you have to focus on their movement itself as the source of design. There will be incidental interactions that occur without an explicit focus on the object, in short removing objects from the equation of interactions all together.
Janne from Nokia, with whom I had a lot of fun in the group work, had some interesting thoughts about security and RFID. If we assume that near-field capabilities will be accessible to everyone owning a cell phone, what happens when 2 000 million users have access to it. How do you build trust in the technology? He also pointed out that people care about security once it’s gone and it’s in the newspapers.
Ulla-Maria talked about some of the thinking behind her project Thinglink. She spoke about the perception of potential NFC action and how we can either pre-determine these affordances or let the user generate the social affordance. These then become accumulative and organised around shared motives. We connect on a very personal and emotional level with objects (i want, like, hate, own, sell, give) and so we need to equip these objects with personal relationships on a virtual level as well.
Matt talked about the “middleware” of that project and the impact that this has on thinking about global naming and collecting information about objects that are independant of context.
He spoke about what happens when you focus on object-oriented development, literally and open-data.
Then Gil, from Plot, introduced the movie that they produced based on some interviews with “future-casters” in London. When asked to think of future RFID-services they asked some very real questions:
How visible am i? How information-leaky am i?
How close can orgs get to me?
What are the layers of visibility?
What are the implications of having things close to me?
How do we design behaviours that are appropriate behind this?
How do we build-in empathy?
How do we deal with attention span?
What is the level of agency of that technology? How are questions of control engagement, permissions dealt with?
Participation: how do i see it, how am i taking part, how can I self select in and out of this?
Data as a commodity: how are we leaving an information trail that becomes more visible, tangible and tradable?
How are people seen and valued? Are people considered active users and not passive ones?
At the end of the 2 days, Ben made the final presentation, the first time I say him speak, although we’re good friends. It was quite a treat. Some of the points he talked about I will only attempt to list as a bullit list, this will most probably not make any sense to anyone who wasn’t there…
What does nearfield mean from a culture flow: layering space with meaning in a way that we can’t see.
This is something that happens on a peer to peer level.
There will be grouping and rules that will be sorted in the background, messages that will be passed back and forth, what does this mean for civic and architectural structures.
Flow of movement is tracked, leaving information behind.
The flow through architectue becomes erosive.
People’s own awareness is accued. a new definition of personal space…the virtual fields get more physical.
Movement is happening in the heard and self organisation within flicks of people become more visibla ena tangible.
Signification intentions are blurred
Modeling – New Bablyon condensation of social purpose… second life transformation of the city… a social city above the city itself.
What does this do to products and spaces? How do you suggest action because there is no longer a physical interface? How does this influence architecture?
I was looking through the list of people who will be attending the
Are we laughing at technology or is it laughing at us i wonder?
NordiCHI is coming up next week in Oslo and although I won’t make it to the conference (too expensive for my post-graduation budget at the moment ) I will make it to the Blogject workshop organized once more by Timo, Julian and Nicholas, after a first successful workshop at LIFT in Geneva last spring.
We’re supposed to put together 5 minute pitches in the form of 3 slides and a rant about what we do, what our position is and conclusions, but Timo has also asked me to do a longer 15 minutes presentation of my ideas in the afternoon. I’m really excited about presenting to my peers and getting a conversation going about the stuff that’s been eating away at me and lead to my thesis project. Now all i have to do is make it digestible for others : )
My position paper for the workshop was the following:
“This position paper will attempt to illustrate how the new paradigm of the “internet of things” will support a shift in thinking in users and professionals towards more responsible and sustainable practices and behaviors, using “Stint”, a service designed around a collectivity of connected objects.
If we dig a little further into the current trend of the “experience economy” and PSS (UNEP) i.e. a product service society, we are encouraged to address sustainability by encouraging people to seek value from what they have access to and not what they own. On the opposite end of the spectrum however, mass customization and rapid prototyping are also on the rise as business practices follow the user-generated trend. Easy access to material goods, however personalized they might be, might lead to what one might call “moral hazard” (Reid J. Lifset, 2005) as our thirst for new and exciting products and material-based experiences have increased tenfold (J.Chapman, 2005). The semantics of objects is lost and disposal is easier because ownership is no longer valuable. This is where connected objects might play an important part.
“The internet of things” seeks to illustrate the value of connectivity and ubiquitous computing by tagging and keeping track of our surrounding everyday objects. This will become relevant in the objects we will design in the future. This means that a layer of retrievable, virtual and linkable meaning can be associated to any given object and as designers we might start to consider objects as part of an eco-system, a collective, a society of objects. This might in turn address how we design such objects and the interactions we have with them. What are a user’s expectations of a connected object and it’s capabilities? Would the use of an object change when it is semantic understood as belonging to a family? In the case of “Stint”, that question was addressed and offered one of many solutions.
Stint is a music sharing service made of physical tokens that link to people’s music. The way that a person collects and interacts with those tokens is communicated to a widget that also talks to the main music application online. Each physical object links to someone’s musical donations. A typical user would therefore collect all these tokens as representations and physical links to the music that each person would send them, in real time. To have access to that music as it reaches each token the user has to push each one. This physical connection with the object itself allows the system to record and track what content is accessed, but also allows the object to take an active part in the system. As time goes by each stint will get used and show who are the people whose collection that person has interacted most with. Inversely she will be able to identify if her friends are listening to her music by looking at their objects or their virtual and connected counterparts.
In this case study, the connected objects were treated in such a way as to physically show and display the use which matched the data being collected. The design approach goes far beyond what is traditionally considered product design (ergonomics, aesthetics, industrial processes) but starts to scratch the surface of new ways in which practitioners could use technology to infuse life and meaning into objects that make people want to build relationships with them that are more meaningful and rich than what is currently available. A new set of behaviors and semantics will change people’s understanding of the material world and eventually change their consumption habits as each object’s history becomes as precious as the object itself.
In conclusion we can expect to see a change in the practice of product design as connected objects become more popular. The interconnectedness of physical elements is bound to play a part in how we will design the behaviors and interactions they will have with each other , with their users and between users.
Chapman, Jonathan. Emotionally Durable Design – Objects, Experiences & Empathy, Earthscan ed., London, 2005.
Manzini, Ezio. Jégou, Francois. Sustainable everyday, scenarios of urban life, Edizioni Ambiente, Italy, 2003.
“UNEP and Product Service Systems.” UNEP. Jan 2005. United Nations Environmental program.