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Posts in category 'Mobility'

20 October 2008

Vodafone Receiver Magazine on location and geowebbing

Vodafone_receiver_red_bg
The current edition of Vodafone Receiver Magazine is devoted to location and geowebbing, or as they write: “annotating real space digitally and using the world itself as our interface”.

Two authors have already contributed on the theme, and more articles are still to come:

A digital geography manifesto
by Jonathan Raper (Professor at the City University London)
What should you write on an academic blog? If news, trivia, detail and narcissism are all out, then what’s left? When I started my blog “The Digital Geographer” in early 2006, I decided to sidestep these sins by writing a manifesto. My digital geography manifesto was a tongue-in-cheek statement of some of the challenges that we faced in designing and implementing a new generation of “egocentric” mobile applications that will bring the power of location technology to mobile devices everywhere. As I write this, two and a half years have passed and it is instructive to revisit the manifesto’s ten principles and see which of them captured an enduring issue – and which of them has already been solved.

Creating maps for everyone and network effects for the data driving them
by Sean Gorman
Mapping was once the domain of professionals. Cartographers and geo-scientists trained in universities for several years to learn the best techniques for accurately displaying data on maps. The public often saw the end product of the map creation process, but was largely limited to scribbling on paper when it came to creating maps of its own. Beginning in 2005, this paradigm turned upside down. The last three years have fundamentally changed the way people understand their location and geography.

8 September 2008

Intel navigating future moneyscapes

Jo
Digital technology is changing the everyday forms and experience of money. Cheryl Miller reports on the Research@Intel blog how field research by Intel’s People & Practices Research team identified key themes and opportunities for technological innovation.

The researchers presented their findings at the Day Zero press event for the Fall IDF conference.

They also created Navigating Future Moneyscapes, a comic-like scenario and personas to help convey their findings about the emerging global landscape digital money.

One size does not fit all

  • Monetary literacies: There is no single or “best” practice with which to locate money in daily life, and the changing financial landscape requires on-going reassessment and skill development.
  • Currency wrangling: People juggle public and private money forms (cash, credit and debit cards, loyalty points, airline miles, etc.) and create their own earmarked subdivisions.

People use money socially

  • Relational banking: People consume financial services, but also produce them in the form of loans, donations, and partnerships with family, friends, and valued groups.
  • Expressive consumption: Not just what we buy, but how we buy it, is an important part of constructing our individual, cultural, regional, and political identities.

The project seems to be quite related to another Intel initiative, with MA students in the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art exploring the future of money when it disappears as a physical currency.

8 September 2008

Nokia presentations at LIFT 08

LIFT09
Two of the three Nokia presentations at the LIFT Asia conference are now online.

Raphael Grignani (Nokia Design, USA) talked about how Nokia Design addresses environmental and social issues including recycling, energy and making the benefits of mobile technology available to more people, as exemplified by the Homegrown project.
Presentation (with audio)

Jan Chipchase (Nokia, Japan) explains the trends that will shape the future social, when we will have to evolve new use-practices and put a greater emphasis on communicating our intended use to people in proximity.
Presentation

Now Adam Greenfield (Nokia Design, Finland) still.

5 September 2008

Ambient awareness

Awareness
The upcoming New York Times Magazine has a long feature on the effects of News Feed, Twitter and other forms of incessant online contact.

“Social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. Facebook is no longer alone in offering this sort of interaction online. In the last year, there has been a boom in tools for “microblogging”: posting frequent tiny updates on what you’re doing. The phenomenon is quite different from what we normally think of as blogging, because a blog post is usually a written piece, sometimes quite long: a statement of opinion, a story, an analysis. But these new updates are something different. They’re far shorter, far more frequent and less carefully considered. One of the most popular new tools is Twitter, a Web site and messaging service that allows its two-million-plus users to broadcast to their friends haiku-length updates — limited to 140 characters, as brief as a mobile-phone text message — on what they’re doing. There are other services for reporting where you’re traveling (Dopplr) or for quickly tossing online a stream of the pictures, videos or Web sites you’re looking at (Tumblr). And there are even tools that give your location. When the new iPhone, with built-in tracking, was introduced in July, one million people began using Loopt, a piece of software that automatically tells all your friends exactly where you are.”

Read full story

2 September 2008

Urban computing and locative media

Stripes
Anne Galloway of Purse Lip Square Jaw has published her PhD thesis, entitled “A Brief History of the Future of Urban Computing and Locative Media“.

It 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.

“Following urban computing and locative media and their accompanying visions from labs, conferences and classrooms to journal publications and popular media accounts, this dissertation presents four case histories in corporate, academic and artistic design practice. An analysis of the Mobile Bristol, Passing Glances, Sonic City and Urban Tapestries research and design projects draws out the idea that everyday life in the future city is expected to become more expressive, engaging and meaningful. The increased extensibility and transmissibility of the city itself, along with an increased ability to be socially embedded within it, is seen to be a fundamental promise inherent in these projects. The dissertation argues that such spatial and cultural potentialities can be productively understood as involving temporary, selective and mobile publics, where creative and playful interactions emerge as primary means of social innovation.”

Download thesis

(via Small Surfaces)

13 August 2008

Dell’s Digital Nomads

Digital Nomads
Coinciding with the introduction of Dell’s new laptops, the company launched a new community site called Digital Nomads (with not much Dell branding to be seen).

According to a Dell press release, the site “is designed for individuals who are not defined by the four walls in their office or home, but by a desire to always be connected for work and play no matter their location.

“Community members can come together to read about other digital nomads and share ideas, tips, tricks and best practices.”

There are even Digital Nomad communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and delicious.

According to a BBC report, Dell predicts that the demands of the digital nomad are expected to drive laptop sales to over one billion in the next five years:

There is no business as usual in the connected era,” said Andy Lark, Dell’s vice president of global marketing.

“Boundaries for businesses are virtual. This is a new class of worker who maybe doesn’t have an office and who maybe visits 10 offices in a day and visits several different customers.” [...]

“If you look at India, about 67% or more of their workforce is going to be entirely mobile and that is driving the demand for new features in the laptop like all day connectivity, long battery life, high-level security and uncompromising design and durability.”

I would be curious to hear more about the research that went into this all, but the site seems to have no information on that.

28 July 2008

SatNav usability soon to be improved?

SatNav
Something is clearly not working right:

About 300,000 motorists have crashed because of a satnav, the [UK] Mirror [newspaper] has found.

Around 1.5 million drivers have suddenly veered dangerously or illegally in busy traffic while following its directions.

And five million have been sent the wrong way down a one-way street.

I have no idea how one can actually get hold of such data, but yes, there seems to be a problem. Now TomTom, a Dutch manufacturer of automotive navigation systems, has hired Ken McAlpine, formerly at Apple, as senior vice president product design.

Ken McAlpine is an engineering professional with 27 years’ experience in consumer product design, manufacturing and project management. McAlpine was previously employed as director of engineering with Apple Inc, based at the head office in Cupertino, California. McAlpine was involved in the development of, among other products, the MacMini, AppleTV and iPhone. Additionally, McAlpine led Apple’s laptop engineering teams, which were responsible for engineering management, program management, electronic circuit design and support of all Apple laptop products. McAlpine will be responsible for product design and usability within TomTom’s PND division ensuring that the user experience is consistent across all TomTom platforms.

(via DdUX)

23 July 2008

Crowd-sourcing the e-car

Electric car
eCars – Now!” is a Finnish Internet community seeking to apply the collective approach taken by online collaborators like the authors of Wikipedia to start converting used petrol-fuelled cars to electric ones, with the first roll-out due this year.

The Finnish-language forum [now also in English and Swedish] claims to be first of its kind in the world, and wants to provide an alternative to what its members perceive as foot-dragging in the oil and auto industries.

Read full story

18 July 2008

StoryBank – using mobiles to share stories in an Indian village

StoryBank
For the last two years, David Frohlich and Matt Jones have worked together on StoryBank (movie), a project enabling textual and computer illiterate people to build a repository of audio-visual content via camera phones.

Vodafone Receiver magazine has published their report from Budikote, a village in rural India, as part of its ongoing series on emerging markets.

“The StoryBank project, based in a rural Indian region, has been looking at ways of using [mobile phones] to enable technology-poor villagers to participate in and benefit from content creation and sharing activities. Skipping the text-based internet paradigm altogether, the project is exploring how camera phones and a library of digital stories (the story-bank) can be used to extend existing initiatives in community radio.”

David Frohlich is the Director of the Digital World Research Centre and Professor of Interaction Design at the University of Surrey, where he works on future photography, literacy and communication technologies. Before joining Digital World, Frohlich, who has a PhD in psychology, spent 14 years as Senior Research Scientist at Hewlett Packard Labs, a time devoted to tangible interfaces, new media design, and the digital divide.

Matt Jones returned from New Zealand to Wales to help set up the Future Interaction Technology Lab at Swansea University. As a Reader in the FIT Lab he explores the human-computer interaction aspects of mobile and ubiquitous computing as well as socially-inclusive and impacting design. He recently co-authored Mobile Interaction Design (Wiley 2006).

Read full story

18 July 2008

Switching on: Connecting the world

Switching On
In May this year, the Guardian weekly published a 5-page special report for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on how new technologies are improving the lives of people around the world, with a particular emphasis on developing nations.

Articles focus on the concept of leapfrogging and remote education, with in-depth stories on Africa and India.

4 July 2008

From ubiquitous technology to human context (videos)

UIA World Congress of Architecture
On Wednesday 2 July Nicolas Nova (LIFT lab) moderated a session at the World Congress of Architecture in Turin, Italy, entitled “From ubiquitous technology to human context – Technology applied to architecture and design: does it solve problems or create needs?”.

Speakers were Adam Greenfield (Head of Design Direction, Nokia), Jeffrey Huang (Director, Media and Design Laboratory, EPFL, Switzerland) and Younghee Jung (senior design manager, Nokia).

Videos: About ten minutes into the session, I realised that no provisions had been made by the organisers to videotape the presentations, so I started recording everything myself, from a small handheld Nokia N95. Obviously image quality is not so great but the sound is quite good. I uploaded everything on Google Video: Adam Greenfield, Jeffrey Huang and Younghee Jung.

Two apologies: first to Nicolas for not having taped his session too – as I said, I realised too late that the organisers were not doing it themselves – but luckily Nicolas has posted a summary and his slides on his own blog. The second apology goes to Younghee, whose presentation is only half recorded, because the N95 battery died.

The session unfortunately ended a bit in chaos. As it had started late, it also ran a bit over time and people from the next session started filling up the seminar room and at one point hackled the last speaker – Younghee Jung – to finish things up. A fragile Younghee – during her talk she shared a personal event with the audience that was very close to her emotionally – suddenly had to summarise 30 slides in 2 minutes and this is luckily not on video. Perhaps she can send us her presentation still.

3 May 2008

CHI 2008: a selection on mobility

CHI 2008 proceedings
Here is my selection on mobility related papers presented at CHI 2008.

(Papers are linked to their pdf downloads, if available.)

A diary study of mobile information needs [abstract]
Authors: Timothy Sohn, Kevin A. Li, William G. Griswold, and James D. Hollan (UC San Diego)
Abstract: Being mobile influences not only the types of information people seek but also the ways they attempt to access it. Mobile contexts present challenges of changing location and social context, restricted time for information access, and the need to share attentional resources among concurrent activities. Understanding mobile information needs and associated interaction challenges is fundamental to improving designs for mobile phones and related devices. We conducted a two-week diary study to better understand mobile information needs and how they are addressed. Our study revealed that depending on the time and resources available, as well as the situational context, people use diverse and, at times, ingenious ways to obtain needed information. We summarize key findings and discuss design implications for mobile technology.

Accountabilities of presence: reframing location-based systems [abstract]
Authors: Emily Troshynski, Charlotte Lee and Paul Dourish (UC Irvine)
Abstract: How do mobility and presence feature as aspects of social life? Using a case study of paroled offenders tracked via Global Positioning System (GPS), we explore the ways that location-based technologies frame people’s everyday experiences of space. In particular, we focus on how access and presence are negotiated outside of traditional conceptions of “privacy.” We introduce the notion of accountabilities of presence and suggest that it is a more useful concept than “privacy” for understanding the relationship between presence and sociality.

17 April 2008

Transport informatics

Helsinki tram
City of Sound has published an excellent overview of new informational approaches to transport, hinging on individual behaviour and engagement via public data.

“Data, transported and shaped by the internet, is increasingly becoming a primary way that people expect to engage with public transport in particular. Engage, as in access and navigate through transport service information, but also explore and understand the transport service itself.” [...]

“So, here are transport systems where usage data has become available – or could become available – and is then built upon, as a way of exploring whether various ‘live dashboards’ of transport across a city will engender new levels of engagement with transport. And whether this will increase awareness of personal behaviour and impact on emissions accordingly.”

His long survey is divided in a number of sections depending on the type of transport: holistic, cars, scooter, cycling, bus, rail, taxi, aircraft, maritime and walking.

Read full story

13 April 2008

Cellphones save the world

Jan Chipchase
Daniel Lende wrote a good annotated summary of the New York Times magazine feature of Jan Chipchase, on the “Neuroanthropology” blog.

He thinks the “world is going to see a transformation through the convergence of four factors: people-driven processes, change for the rest of us, human-centered science, and emerging methods”.

Read full story

11 April 2008

The Economist website features Jan Chipchase video

Digital Nomads
The Economist asked Nokia’s “user anthropologist” Jan Chipchase to self-document his nomadic life in Tokyo and Seattle, taking pictures and leaving phone messages.

The video is part of The Economist special report on mobility and “digital nomads”.

Watch video

10 April 2008

Economist special report on mobility

Nomads
The Economist newspaper has published a special report on mobility, wondering what the social effects will be.

Sources are some of the top people in the field (many of whom are frequently written about on this blog).

Our nomadic future [leader article]
“Prepare to see less of your office, more of your family—and still perhaps be unhappy” or “nomadism promises the heaven of new freedom, but it also threatens the hell of constant surveillance by the tribe”.

Nomads at last
Wireless communication is changing the way people work, live, love and relate to places—and each other, says Andreas Kluth.

Labour movement
The joys and drawbacks of being able to work from anywhere.

The new oases
Nomadism changes buildings, cities and traffic.

Family ties
Kith and kin get closer, with consequences for strangers.

Location, location, location
It matters.

A world of witnesses
When everybody becomes a nomadic monitor.

Homo mobilis
As language goes, so does thought.

10 April 2008

Last three CHI 2008 interviews

CHI 2008
Luca Chittaro (blog) of Il Sole 24 Ore’s Novà just published his last three CHI 2008 interviews:

Talking cars
A collaboration between Toyota and Stanford University is experimenting a talking car interface that does much more than navigation, providing safety advice to drivers. Ing-Marie Jonsson is one of the authors of the paper that describes the experiment.

Accessibility
Vicki Hanson (IBM) received this week at CHI 2008 the Social Impact Award, for her 30-years work concerning people with disabilities (for example, deaf children, dyslexic kids, and more recently older adults).

GPS and the perception of the world
Is the widespread use of GPS changing how we perceive the world? A research group at Cornell University has studied GPS users to answer this question (and more). Chittaro discusses this with one of the authors (Gilly Leshed).

10 April 2008

Another batch of CHI 2008 interviews

CHI 2008
Luca Chittaro (blog), who covers the CHI 2008 conference in Florence for Novà, the innovation supplement of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s business newspaper, continues with his gruelling pace of interviews. Here is another batch:

Technology among the homeless
We tend to believe that technology is improving everybody’s life, at the workplace as well as at home. But what about those who have neither a job nor a home? Christopher A. Le Dantec, together with his colleague W. Keith Edwards, carried out a study on the use of technology among the homeless and will present the results tomorrow at CHI 2008. The paper that describes the study was one of those that received the conference Best Papers awards.

Attractiveness on-line
What does it make an on-line user profile attractive to members of the opposite sex? Andrew T. Fiore and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley have selected 50 user profiles on the Yahoo! Personals web site and studied the perception of these profiles on a sample of users in the 19-25 age range

On-line friendship
Imagine you have to move to a distant city. What would happen to the relationships you have with your friends? Which telecommunication tools would you use to try to maintain friendship? A research collaboration among three universities in the US (California Irvine, Carnegie Mellon e Duke) has followed 900 persons who moved to other cities. The interview is with Irina Shklovski (Univ. California Irvine).

Friends and enemies in social networks
Who’s in the list of your friends on social networking sites? True friends? People who you don’t know much? Total strangers? Should those sites offer a richer way of describing your relationship with each of them? A research group at HP Labs has studied the effects of a richer classification on users. Chittaro interviewed Michael Brzozowski (HP Labs).

What do people do with Facebook?
Facebook is definitely a popular site, but what do we know about how people use it? Adam N. Joinson (University of Bath) is studying Facebook users to learn more about it.

Interaction with future cars
Industry is working at cars that will talk more and more to their drivers and some researchers are even working at car interfaces that automatically adapt to the specific user who is driving. David Krum, project manager at Bosch Research, is one of the organizers of the special interest group “Interaction in the Automobile” which met at CHI 2008.

Driver distraction
What human factors issues should future car interfaces take into account? The need to monitor the driver and to mitigate driver distraction and inattention came out often in talking with Brian Lathrop (Volkswagen Electronic Research Lab), Brian is one of the organizers of the special interest group “Interaction in the Automobile” which met at CHI 2008.

Phishing the common user
How do common users react to a phishing attack? To know better, a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (including Serge Egelman) has carried out phishing attacks on a sample of users and studied their behaviors. They have presented their results at CHI 2008, and the picture that came out is not reassuring from the security point of view. For example, 97% of the users believed the phising e-mail and went to visit the phishing site. At that point, 87% of the users which received passive warnings (and 21% of those who received active warnings) believed also the phishing web site and entered their data.

Graffiti-covered desktop
Do users keep their software updated to prevent security attacks? What could the interface do to make users’ more aware of the need to install security updates? A research group from the Georgia Institute of Technology has proposed a new interface to this purpose at CHI 2008. When a security update is available, graffiti appear on your desktop. The more security updates you have not installed, the more the desktop becomes graphically degraded (and graffiti also mask open windows, to make work more annoying). One of the authors (Kandha Sankarapandian) explains the research.

5 March 2008

Nokia on the future of mobile phones in three, five and eight years

Nokia Research Center
Darren Waters of BBC News recently visited Nokia’s scientists and researchers at their lab in Palo Alto to talk about the future of mobile phones in three, five and eight years, and also beyond that.

The first thing he highlighted is the fact no-one at Nokia calls the devices phones anymore; they are multimedia computers.

He was shown three projects being developed at Nokia’s labs around the world, two of them in Palo Alto.

Read full story

26 January 2008

Recent publications by Prof. Paul Dourish

Paul Dourish
Putting People First regularly features the work of UC Irvine professor Paul Dourish, whose interest lies in the crossover areas between computer science, anthropology, ubiquitous computing, mobility, design and HCI.

Here are some of the recent publications by this very prolific researcher:

Brewer, J., Bassoli, A., Martin, K., Dourish, P., and Mainwaring, S. 2007. Underground Aesthetics: Rethinking Urban Computing. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 6(3), July-September, 39-45

An ethnographic study and a design proposal for a situated music-exchange application suggest how explicitly foregrounding the experiential qualities of urban life can help rethink urban computing design.

Dourish, P. 2007. Seeing Like an Interface. Proc. Australasian Computer-Human Interaction Conference OzCHI 2007 (Adelaide, Australia)

Mobile and ubiquitous computing systems are increasingly of interest to HCI researchers. Often, this has meant considering the ways in which we might migrate desktop applications and everyday usage scenarios to mobile devices and mobile contexts. However, we do not just experience technologies in situ – we also experience everyday settings through the technologies we have at our disposal. Drawing on anthropological research, I outline an alternative way of thinking about the relationship between technology and “seeing” everyday life and everyday space.

Brewer, J., Mainwaring, S., and Dourish, P. 2008. Aesthetic Journeys. Proc. ACM Conf. Designing Interactive Systems DIS 2008 (Cape Town, South Africa)

Researchers and designers are increasingly creating technologies intended to support urban mobility. However, the question of what mobility is remains largely under-examined. In this paper we will use the notion of aesthetic journeys to reconsider the relationship between urban spaces, people and technologies. Fieldwork on the Orange County bus system and in the London Underground leads to a discussion of how we might begin to design for multiple mobilities.

Williams, A., Dourish, P., and Anderson, K. 2008. Anchored Mobilities: Mobile Technology and Transnational Migration. Proc. ACM Conf. Designing Interactive Systems DIS 2008 (Cape Town, South Africa)

Mobile technologies are deployed into diverse social, cultural, political and geographic settings, and incorporated into diverse forms of personal and collective mobility. We present an ethnography of transnational Thai retirees and their uses of mobile technology, highlighting forms of mobility that are spatially, temporally, and infrastructurally anchored, and concepts of the house as a kinship network that may be globally distributed. We conclude in pointing out several ways in which our observations and analysis can influence design.

Troshynski, E., Lee, C., and Dourish, P. 2008. Accountabilities of Presence: Reframing Location-Based Systems. Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI 2008 (Florence, Italy)

How do mobility and presence feature as aspects of social life? Using a case study of paroled offenders tracked via Global Positioning System (GPS), we explore the ways that location-based technologies frame people’s everyday experiences of space. In particular, we focus on how access and presence are negotiated outside of traditional conceptions of “privacy.” We introduce the notion of accountabilities of presence and suggest that it is a more useful concept than “privacy” for understanding the relationship between presence and sociality.

(via Pasta&Vinegar)