In Cologne in the Museum Ludwig I gave in the afternoon a talk on “Illusions 2.0 – embedded interactive media” at the Forum Mediendesign. The talk focused on the new qualities of magical experiences we will be able to create with pervasive computing technologies in the future and linked this to Alan Kay’s notion of user illusion and metaphors. I looked at trends that are ingredience for creating Illusions 2.0 – in particular ubiquitous communication and display, constant tracking and logging, and the decrease of value of traditional content (text, audio, video, software, tv, statistical data). I highlighted one… Continue reading

Wolfgang just sent me another picture (taken by a colleague of him) with more information in the head-up display. It shows a speed of 180 km/h and I wonder who took the picture. Usually only the driver can see such a display 😉

For assistance, information and entertainment systems in cars (an I assume we could consider taking photos an entertainment task) there are guidelines [1, 2, 3] – an overview presentation in German can be found in [4]. Students in the Pervasive Computing class have to look at them and design a new information/assistance system that is context aware… Continue reading

What is a birthday cake without a candle? Sometimes it is hard to find a candle but having a creative team there is always a solution – less than 3 minutes away 😉 As always with new technologies – after deployments ideas for Version 2 (which will include much more functionality) emerge… An there was another business idea – interactive wedding cakes – perhaps we explore this later this year 😉

Flying back from Sydney with Qantas and now flying to Seattle with Lufthansa I had to long distance flights in which I had the opportunity to study (n=1, subject=me, plus over-shoulder-observation-while-walking-up-and-down-the-aisle 😉 the user interface for the in-flight entertainment.

The 2 systems have very different hardware and software designs. The Qantas infotainment system is a regular screen and interaction is done via a wired moveable remote control store in the armrest. The Lufthansa system uses a touch screen (It also has some hard buttons for volume in the armrest). Overall the content on the Qantas system comprised of more content… Continue reading

Mark Billinghurst presented an interesting history of augmented reality and he showed clearly that camera phones are the platform to look out for. He reminded us that currently the 3D performance of mobile phones is similar to the most powerful 3D graphics cards show 15 years ago at SIGGRAPH. Looking back at Steven Feiner’s backpack [1] – the first augmented reality system I saw – can tell us that we should not be afraid to create prototypes that may be a bit clumsy if they allow us to create a certain user experience and for exploring technology challenges.

In an… Continue reading

Elise van den Hoven, the program co-chair of TEI08, organized the printing of the proceeding. We went there on Tuesday to collect the books – quite a heavy load! The books look really good and the cover is great.

In the afternoon I gave a lecture with the title “Interacting with Pervasive Computing Systems”. I have related some of our recent work and ideas to the focus of the course which is “intelligent systems, products and related services”. In particular I asked to re-think how we can find a balance between user needs and technology push – without… Continue reading

What have learned to do when our computer or phone does not work anymore? Easy just reboot it. A colleague recently told me his rental car broke down (basically did not work anymore) but after resetting it, it worked fine again. When he told me I found this pretty strange – ok the radio or opening the car boot – but essential functions related to driving?

Today I was travelling on an ICE high-speed train to Amsterdam for the CHI-Notes committee meeting and shortly after we left Germany the train lost speed and became slower and just rolled out. Then… Continue reading

Some weeks ago Ben Sutherland from The Economist called. He was researching for an article discussing the computing revolution over the last 25 years. In his research he to talked to many different people (from different countries, different fields, different views) and was particularly interested in applications that will come in the future and with me in particular on the concept of context-awareness.

The article “The trouble with computers” appeared 6th of September and discusses a mix of ideas and viewpoints. We talked about 30 minutes on the phone and I am quite surprised what statement he picked… Continue reading

Today I finally got around visiting Jan Borchers (media computing group at RWTH Aachen). Tico Ballagas hat as part of his PhD defence a public talk and took the chance to go there.

There where new parts in the talk on the impact of the selection space resolution on Fitts’s law that I had not seen in his work before. It is published in 2006 as a technical report (Rafael Ballagas and Jan Borchers. Selexels: a Conceptual Framework for Pointing Devices with Low Expressiveness. Technical Report AIB-2006-16, RWTH Aachen, Dec 2006) which is worthwhile to have… Continue reading

We visited the archeology and Stone Age museum in Bad Buchenau http://www.federseemuseum.de/. For our visit we rented their audio guide system – they had one version for kids and one for adults. The audio guides were done very well and the information was well presented.

Nevertheless such devices break the joint experience of visiting a museum! We had three devices – and we stood next to each other listening but not talking to each other. Even though it may transport more information than the written signs it makes a poorer experience than reading and discussing. I wonder how one… Continue reading

It seems that recently I come across many people that speak on the phone while they do their work. In Toronto on the bus to the airport the driver spoke on the phone (telling someone how to find and edit a file in Windows) while driving. Here in Bonn I saw it in shops and on the ferry – it felt really awkward to interrupt people in their phone conversation just to pay my ticket or bread.

At the moment most people speak while holding a handset – but given they use BT-headsets one could image new working practice 😉… Continue reading

After the Ubicomp PC meeting we went to a nice restaurant in Toronto for dinner. In the bathroom they had mounted TFT-screens above the urinals showing a TV program or adverts (was hard to tell in the short time I was there). It found it was quite distracting. The displays reminded me of a poster I saw at CHI 2003: You’re In Control: A Urinary User Interface by Maynes-Aminzade and Raffle (http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/765891.766108). Given the distraction experienced, I wonder if a design where visualization and control is spatially separated and hence control is indirect make sense for such applications.… Continue reading

This morning I washed my dished (manually in a kitchen sink) and afterwards (with dry hands) I tried to log on to my computer using the finger print scanner. My thumb did not work anymore. Looking closer at my thumb it seemed clear that this looked temporarily different as it was in the water for 10 minutes. A few minutes later the thumb is back to normal, but I already logged using a password. What do I learn from this – If I will do a ubicomp project in the kitchen (similar to things we did in Munich) I will… Continue reading

My navigation system records simple statistics. I was surprised to see that I have been sitting in my car for about 25 hours in the last 4 months – not driving. Overall it means that 30% of the time I am actually not driving (usually waiting at a traffic light or a railroad crossing – not sure if the 30% are a Bonn-phenomenon).

This makes me wonder if it would be useful to design technologies that provide entertainment or education during these forced waiting times. Could I have used these 25 hours to learn or improve a language? Or could… Continue reading

An event this week reminded me that life has an end. Getting a link to a Google Map page (satellite image) where someone found his last resting place shows how far reaching new technologies have penetrated our life. This made me think about a demo I saw at Ubicomp last year (http://mastaba.digital-shrine.com/). The digital family shrine did not really relate to my cultural experience and felt somehow strange, but still very interesting and intriguing

This morning we took some time to walk along Nevsky Prospekt, crossing Anichkov Bridge all the way to the Hermitage and to the river Neva (which was nearly completely frozen). The streets were very busy with people.

… but nearly nobody spoke on the mobile phone. It does not need much brain to figure out why – after just taking a few photos with my phone I had really cold fingers and quickly put my gloves on again! Remembering a summer day last year in Rome – were nearly everyone spoke on the phone – I wondered what phone terminal… Continue reading