Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt

I have been chairing the Stream “Aging as a Global Issue” at the conference Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt. It is always very suprising who different research is across different diciplines…

On-Kwok Lai from Kwansei Gakuin University gave a really interesting overview on the current situation in Asia and in particular in Japan with regards the aging society. Learning more about ageing I find myself more often thinking the current “aging research” is more like treating a symptom and not looking at the real problem. And it seems the real problem: reduced reproduction in industrial states – basically we do not have enough children anymore. This leads to the obvious question: would researching into solutions and technologies that make it easier to raise children while working or studying not be the more important challenge?

In another talk Birgit Kasper reported from a study of multi-modal travel in Köln (“Patenticket”). In the trail they got people who have a yearly ticket to introduce other older people to public transport by providing them a 3 month flat-rate ticket for public transport in the region. The benefits seem to come from two sides: (1) people do not worry if they have the right ticket and (2) having a person that acts as a patron learning the public transport system is supported. If we look at the results a radical suggestion would be to introduce a car-city-tax (e.g. like London) and give in return free public transport to everyone – would this simple solution not solve many of our problems (economic, ecological, …) or would it create a two-tier society?

The social event was at castle Frankenstein – but surprisingly everyone came back in the morning unharmed ;-)

Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt

I have been chairing the Stream “Aging as a Global Issue” at the conference Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt. It is always very suprising who different research is across different diciplines…

On-Kwok Lai from Kwansei Gakuin University gave a really interesting overview on the current situation in Asia and in particular in Japan with regards the aging society. Learning more about ageing I find myself more often thinking the current “aging research” is more like treating a symptom and not looking at the real problem. And it seems the real problem: reduced reproduction in industrial states – basically we do not have enough children anymore. This leads to the obvious question: would researching into solutions and technologies that make it easier to raise children while working or studying not be the more important challenge?

In another talk Birgit Kasper reported from a study of multi-modal travel in Köln (“Patenticket”). In the trail they got people who have a yearly ticket to introduce other older people to public transport by providing them a 3 month flat-rate ticket for public transport in the region. The benefits seem to come from two sides: (1) people do not worry if they have the right ticket and (2) having a person that acts as a patron learning the public transport system is supported. If we look at the results a radical suggestion would be to introduce a car-city-tax (e.g. like London) and give in return free public transport to everyone – would this simple solution not solve many of our problems (economic, ecological, …) or would it create a two-tier society?

The social event was at castle Frankenstein – but surprisingly everyone came back in the morning unharmed ;-)

>Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt

>

I have been chairing the Stream “Aging as a Global Issue” at the conference Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt. It is always very suprising who different research is across different diciplines…

On-Kwok Lai from Kwansei Gakuin University gave a really interesting overview on the current situation in Asia and in particular in Japan with regards the aging society. Learning more about ageing I find myself more often thinking the current “aging research” is more like treating a symptom and not looking at the real problem. And it seems the real problem: reduced reproduction in industrial states – basically we do not have enough children anymore. This leads to the obvious question: would researching into solutions and technologies that make it easier to raise children while working or studying not be the more important challenge?

In another talk Birgit Kasper reported from a study of multi-modal travel in Köln (“Patenticket”). In the trail they got people who have a yearly ticket to introduce other older people to public transport by providing them a 3 month flat-rate ticket for public transport in the region. The benefits seem to come from two sides: (1) people do not worry if they have the right ticket and (2) having a person that acts as a patron learning the public transport system is supported. If we look at the results a radical suggestion would be to introduce a car-city-tax (e.g. like London) and give in return free public transport to everyone – would this simple solution not solve many of our problems (economic, ecological, …) or would it create a two-tier society?

The social event was at castle Frankenstein – but surprisingly everyone came back in the morning unharmed ;-)

History and Future of Computing and Interaction

Today I was teaching my class on user interface engineering and we covered a selected history of HCI and looked at the same time at a potential future. We discussed how user interface evolved and where UI revolutions have happed. To my question “What is the ultimate user interface?” I got three very interesting answers (1) a keyboard, (2) mind reading, and (3) a system that anticipates what I want. 
With regard to history in HCI one of my favorite texts is the PhD dissertation of Ivan Sutherland [1]. The work described was done in 1960-1963 when the idea of personal computing was very far from main stream. Even just browsing some of the pages gives an impression of the impact the work had…
For future user interfaces we talked about brain computer interfaces (BCI) and how they very much differ from the idea of mind reading. I came across a game controller – Mindlink – developed by Atari (1984) and that was never released [2]. It was drawing on the notion of linking to the mind but in fact it only measured muscle activity above the eye brows and apparently did not perform very well. However there is a new round coming up for such devices, see [3] for a critical article on consumer BCI.
On the fun side I found a number of older videos that look at future technology predictions- see the videos for yourself:
http://www.paleofuture.com one is a site that has an amazing (and largely funny) selection of predictions. There is a more serious – but nevertheless – very entertaining article on predictions for computing and ICT by Friedemann Mattern: Hundert Jahre Zukunft – Visionen zum Computer- und Informationszeitalter (hundred years future – predictions of the computing and information age) [4].
[1] Sutherland’s Ph.D. Thesis, Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System. 1963 http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-574.pdf
[3] Emmet Cole. Direct Brain-to-Game Interface Worries Scientists. Wired. 09.05.07. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2007/09/bci_games
[4] Friedemann Mattern.Hundert Jahre Zukunft – Visionen zum Computer- und Informationszeitalter. Die Informatisierung des Alltags – Leben in smarten Umgebungen, Springer Verlag 2007. http://www.vs.inf.ethz.ch/publ/papers/mattern2007-zukunft.pdf

History and Future of Computing and Interaction

Today I was teaching my class on user interface engineering and we covered a selected history of HCI and looked at the same time at a potential future. We discussed how user interface evolved and where UI revolutions have happed. To my question “What is the ultimate user interface?” I got three very interesting answers (1) a keyboard, (2) mind reading, and (3) a system that anticipates what I want. 
With regard to history in HCI one of my favorite texts is the PhD dissertation of Ivan Sutherland [1]. The work described was done in 1960-1963 when the idea of personal computing was very far from main stream. Even just browsing some of the pages gives an impression of the impact the work had…
For future user interfaces we talked about brain computer interfaces (BCI) and how they very much differ from the idea of mind reading. I came across a game controller – Mindlink – developed by Atari (1984) and that was never released [2]. It was drawing on the notion of linking to the mind but in fact it only measured muscle activity above the eye brows and apparently did not perform very well. However there is a new round coming up for such devices, see [3] for a critical article on consumer BCI.
On the fun side I found a number of older videos that look at future technology predictions- see the videos for yourself:
http://www.paleofuture.com one is a site that has an amazing (and largely funny) selection of predictions. There is a more serious – but nevertheless – very entertaining article on predictions for computing and ICT by Friedemann Mattern: Hundert Jahre Zukunft – Visionen zum Computer- und Informationszeitalter (hundred years future – predictions of the computing and information age) [4].
[1] Sutherland’s Ph.D. Thesis, Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System. 1963 http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-574.pdf
[3] Emmet Cole. Direct Brain-to-Game Interface Worries Scientists. Wired. 09.05.07. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2007/09/bci_games
[4] Friedemann Mattern.Hundert Jahre Zukunft – Visionen zum Computer- und Informationszeitalter. Die Informatisierung des Alltags – Leben in smarten Umgebungen, Springer Verlag 2007. http://www.vs.inf.ethz.ch/publ/papers/mattern2007-zukunft.pdf

>History and Future of Computing and Interaction

>

Today I was teaching my class on user interface engineering and we covered a selected history of HCI and looked at the same time at a potential future. We discussed how user interface evolved and where UI revolutions have happed. To my question “What is the ultimate user interface?” I got three very interesting answers (1) a keyboard, (2) mind reading, and (3) a system that anticipates what I want. 
With regard to history in HCI one of my favorite texts is the PhD dissertation of Ivan Sutherland [1]. The work described was done in 1960-1963 when the idea of personal computing was very far from main stream. Even just browsing some of the pages gives an impression of the impact the work had…
For future user interfaces we talked about brain computer interfaces (BCI) and how they very much differ from the idea of mind reading. I came across a game controller – Mindlink – developed by Atari (1984) and that was never released [2]. It was drawing on the notion of linking to the mind but in fact it only measured muscle activity above the eye brows and apparently did not perform very well. However there is a new round coming up for such devices, see [3] for a critical article on consumer BCI.
On the fun side I found a number of older videos that look at future technology predictions- see the videos for yourself:
http://www.paleofuture.com one is a site that has an amazing (and largely funny) selection of predictions. There is a more serious – but nevertheless – very entertaining article on predictions for computing and ICT by Friedemann Mattern: Hundert Jahre Zukunft – Visionen zum Computer- und Informationszeitalter (hundred years future – predictions of the computing and information age) [4].
[1] Sutherland’s Ph.D. Thesis, Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System. 1963 http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-574.pdf
[3] Emmet Cole. Direct Brain-to-Game Interface Worries Scientists. Wired. 09.05.07. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2007/09/bci_games
[4] Friedemann Mattern.Hundert Jahre Zukunft – Visionen zum Computer- und Informationszeitalter. Die Informatisierung des Alltags – Leben in smarten Umgebungen, Springer Verlag 2007. http://www.vs.inf.ethz.ch/publ/papers/mattern2007-zukunft.pdf

Ideas in Advertisment, Privacy, German Law

In our master course we offer a project on pervasive advertisement (it is an interdisciplinary course project from computer science and marketing) where we look at future forms of advertisement that become possible by new technologies.
The students presented a set of really exciting ideas – an I would expect (if they get some of their ideas implemented) that advertising will be more entertaining and fun in the future. For some of the ideas we discussed potential privacy issues and I promised to provide later the reference to the German privacy law that restricts the use of optical/camera devices in public spaces. The German law is at a first glance very restrictive with regard to using cameras in public spaces. In short it can be summarized that data can only obtained for a legitimate, concrete and defined purpose and that the privacy interest of the people are not higher to value as the purpose. Additionally it has to be clear to the person observed that he or she is observed. (We probably need a lawyer to figure out what is allowed ;-) In [1] the text of the law (in German) can be found.

Ideas in Advertisment, Privacy, German Law

In our master course we offer a project on pervasive advertisement (it is an interdisciplinary course project from computer science and marketing) where we look at future forms of advertisement that become possible by new technologies.
The students presented a set of really exciting ideas – an I would expect (if they get some of their ideas implemented) that advertising will be more entertaining and fun in the future. For some of the ideas we discussed potential privacy issues and I promised to provide later the reference to the German privacy law that restricts the use of optical/camera devices in public spaces. The German law is at a first glance very restrictive with regard to using cameras in public spaces. In short it can be summarized that data can only obtained for a legitimate, concrete and defined purpose and that the privacy interest of the people are not higher to value as the purpose. Additionally it has to be clear to the person observed that he or she is observed. (We probably need a lawyer to figure out what is allowed ;-) In [1] the text of the law (in German) can be found.

>Ideas in Advertisment, Privacy, German Law

>

In our master course we offer a project on pervasive advertisement (it is an interdisciplinary course project from computer science and marketing) where we look at future forms of advertisement that become possible by new technologies.
The students presented a set of really exciting ideas – an I would expect (if they get some of their ideas implemented) that advertising will be more entertaining and fun in the future. For some of the ideas we discussed potential privacy issues and I promised to provide later the reference to the German privacy law that restricts the use of optical/camera devices in public spaces. The German law is at a first glance very restrictive with regard to using cameras in public spaces. In short it can be summarized that data can only obtained for a legitimate, concrete and defined purpose and that the privacy interest of the people are not higher to value as the purpose. Additionally it has to be clear to the person observed that he or she is observed. (We probably need a lawyer to figure out what is allowed ;-) In [1] the text of the law (in German) can be found.

Lucia and Thomas from Vodafone R&D visiting

Lucia Terrenghi and Thomas Lang from Vodafone R&D in Munich visited our lab. We talked at lot about the future role of mobile devices and in particular how they may change personal computing in the near future. 

After lunch they gave a talk for our students describing Vodafone research and their particular research interests. Using a nice visualization of train lines they showed the research themes and introduced some of their research foci. One area of interest is electronic paper, resulting future devices and potential applications and services. In the discussion I briefly mentioned that I had a look at some of the displays with my microscope – have a look in the previous blog post if you are interested.