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Search results for '"bruce sterling"'
21 October 2008

Science fiction and HCI/interaction design

Star Wars
Nicolas Nova has posted some quick pointers about the relationships between science-fiction and HCI/interaction design on his blog:

Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies by Michael Schmitz surveys the different kind of interaction design sci-fi movies envisioned during the past decade. It also interestingly describes how the film technicians made prototype possible and legible.

Make It So: What Interaction Designers can Learn from Science Fiction Interfaces by Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel is a nice presentation from SxSW08 that looked at sci-fi material as well as industry future films to show design influences sci-fi and vice versa.

The upcoming paper by Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell entitled ““Resistance is Futile”: Reading Science Fiction Alongside Ubiquitous Computing that investigates how ubiquitous computing is imagined and brought into alignment with science-fiction culture.

Julian Bleecker’s presentation from Design Engaged and SHiFt 2008 also addressed that topic.

Personally I would add Bruce Sterling’s work in general, as a major direct and indirect inspiration for interaction designers all over the world.

4 October 2008

The Internet of Things by Rob van Kranenburg

The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things. A critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID
by Rob van Kranenburg
Network Notebook #2, September 2008
Report prepared by Rob van Kranenburg for the Institute of Network Cultures with contributions by Sean Dodson

The Internet of Things is a critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID by Rob van Kranenburg. Rob examines what impact RFID and other systems, will have on our cities and our wider society. He tells of his early encounters with the kind of location-based technologies that will soon become commonplace, and what they may mean for us all. He explores the emergence of the “internet of things”, tracing us through its origins in the mundane back-end world of the international supply chain to the domestic applications that already exist in an embryonic stage. He also explains how the adoption of he technologies of the City Control is not inevitable, nor something that we must kindly accept nor sleepwalk into. In van Kranenburg’s account of the creation of the international network of Bricolabs, he also suggests how each of us can help contribute to building technologies of trust and empower ourselves in the age of mass surveillance and ambient technologies.

The Internet of Things is the second issue in the series of Network Notebooks and features an introduction by journalist and writer Sean Dodson.

Rob van Kranenburg currently works at Waag Society as program leader for the Public Domain and wrote earlier an article about this topic in the Waag magazine and is the co-founder of the DIFR Network.

Free download

(via Bruce Sterling)

1 October 2008

LIFT Asia 08 vides online

LIFT09
The first LIFT Asia 08 are online. My favourites:

Mobiles and the urban poor – Bruce Sterling

Bruce Sterling’s talk at LIFT Asia, about how the poor are moving to cities, using mobile technologies to access services like payment, was impressive.

But what made it simply brilliant was his discussion on how the future collapse of North Korea will present South Korea with a challenge of enormous proportions, and how mobile technology and mobile payment can be part of the solution:

“When you are working on cell phones, when you are working on the web, when you are working on electronic money and payment systems, you need to think: What if my user is a North-Korean? How would I do this differently if I knew my user was from Pyongyang, that his regime had collapsed, that his economy had collapsed, he was completely bewildered, and he had never seen a cell phone or a computer in his life, and I intended to make him a productive and happy fellow citizen in ten years, what kind of technology would I give that person, what kind of trading system, economic system?”

According to LIFT organiser Laurent Haug he moved a large part of the audience, leaving a strange silence in the room as they came out for the break.

The Long Here, the Big Now, and other tales of the networked city – Adam Greenfield

Adam Greenfield, head of design director at Nokia, talks about the emotional aspects of living in a networked city. What happens when the choices of action in the city are not only physical, but also influenced by an invisible overlay of networked information?

30 September 2008

Toward a European Internet-of-Things

Internet of Things
Europe could take the lead in the next generation of the Internet. In a document entitled “EU Communication on Future Networks and the Internet”, the European Commission has outlined the main steps that Europe has to take to respond to the next wave of the Information Revolution that will intensify in the coming years due to trends such as social networking, the decisive shift to on-line business services, nomadic services based on GPS and mobile TV and the growth of smart tags.

They also launched a public consultation on the policy and private sector responses to these opportunities, in order to prepare an upcoming Communication on the Internet of Things. This document will propose a policy approach addressing the whole range of political and technological issues related to the move from RFID and sensing technologies to the Internet of Things. It will focus especially on architectures, control of critical infrastructures, emerging applications, security, privacy and data protection, spectrum management, regulations and standards, broader socio-economic aspects.

A working paper on the Internet of Things accompanies the consultation by outlining the early challenges of this important development.

And to make sure you got the importance of it all: the French have even organised a ministerial conference on it all.

(via Bruce Sterling)

27 September 2008

Experientia’s Jan-Christoph Zoels at Picnic /3

PICNIC
Experientia’s senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels was this week at the Picnic conference in Amsterdam, and has been providing regular reports. Here is his third one, covering the Thursday afternoon sessions:

Making Love is Eskil Steenberg (Quel Solaar)’s take on a multi-player story adventure. Imagine seeing your favourite game inside a steam sauna. Beautifully rendered images provide an evocative and foggy background to players building and destructing their neighbourhoods. Social actions result in social pressures and player alliances. Do you want to be known for the destruction of a neighbourhood?

What will the networked city feel to its users? Adam Greenfield started his exploration of the Long Here and the Big Now by questioning new modes of place-making where new conditions of choice and actions are no longer physical but reduced to screen-based interactions. Information visualisation add a new digital sense of time extension to our live experiences in providing historical awareness and multiple views — a new parallelism of time. How can information about cities and patterns of use be visualised in ways to enable local awareness, on demand access and collective actions? Adam challenged the audience to design cities responding to the behaviour of its residents and other users in real time in moving form browsing urbanism to act upon it.

Tracking our world – A discussion brought together researchers exploring new ways to measure, visualise and make sense of changing environmental contexts to guide professional and governmental practices.

  • Stan Williams, director of the HP Information and Quantum Sytems Lab, described his labs intention to measure CeNSE – the Central Nervous System for the Earth (Fortune article | Bruce Sterling blog post) – via a variety of nanotechnology sensor systems. Imagine one trillion nanoscale sensors and actuators will need the equivalent of 1000 internets, creating huge demand for computing power but also providing energy efficiency.
  • Professor Euro Beinat showcased the effect of using people, their movement and activities as sensors in the CurrentCity.org project. Their Amsterdam visualisation explored the human agglomeration and activities across the city using aggregated and anonymous mobile phone location data.
  • Eco Map is a Cisco collaboration with three cities worldwide – Seoul, Amsterdam and San Francisco – to demonstrate the impact of real-time individual activities in aggregated views of our cities to foster individual and governmental actions. Explore the UV heat loss of your roof at night to inform insulation requirements or understand the solar capacity of the same roof and get installation advice. Wolfgang Wagner, Cisco, and Jared Blumenfeld, San Francisco, prototype how to use complex public data sets to inform individual desires for greener ways to live, work and play.

Bruno Giussani introduced the four finalists of the Picnic Challenge 08 to make a measurable impact on the reduction of carboemissions. Over 280 participants proposed their ideas competing for an award of 500,000 Euro funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

The four finalists were:

  • RouteRank, who designed a web tool to find best travel routes for time, distance and environmental impact in one single view;
  • Smart Screen consists of a thermo-responsive, shape memory window screen to reflect sun rays and reduce air conditioning costs;
  • VerandaSolar are easy mountable and affordable solar screens for self installation to reduce your energy bills, empowering millions of small scale users to make a larger impact;
  • Greensulate, the Picnic Challenge 08 winner, engineered an organic, structural insulation panel made from local agricultural by-products.

The Design as a Collaborative Process session brought together Bill Moggridge, co-founder of IDEO, and Younghee Jung, senior design manager at Nokia, to document new creative and participatory design processes.

Bill showcased The Rockefeller Foundation and IDEO initiative Design for Social Impact, the Designers Accord and Shinichi Takemura’s Tangible Earth project. Each project guides its users to action – from design processes and methods, to codes of professional conduct, to understanding the global impact of local actions in an empathic information visualisation. To discover anew why globes changed world views over the last five hundred years, check out the Tangible Earth Demo Movie.

Younghee spoke about the choices and burdens of living with intimate technology – showcasing the results of participants in Mumbai, Rio and Acara designing mobile phones. They showed how diverse subjective views of what technology could be, how not to patronise usage patterns and how emotional touchpoints and usage patterns are formed.

What happens when we pay attention?Ethan Zuckermann, a co-founder of Global Voices, described in his talk Surprising Africa a range of social actions resulting in increased media attention. He challenged the audience to stop thinking about Africa in terms of aid, but to understand the changing political climate influenced by bloggers and citizen activists, the current infrastructure developments (community media, mobile banking, malls, etc), and the innovation capabilities of local research institutions.

For more Picnic reporting, check also Bruno Giussani, Hubert Guillaud (writing extensively and excellently in French), Ethan Zuckerman, Ernst-Jan Pfauth and Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Smart Mobs.

23 July 2008

In three years…

Experientia
Three years ago we founded Experientia. It has been a very exciting ride since.

In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Our clients
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.

Our partners
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.

Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.

Thanks to you all!

Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners

PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.

9 July 2008

Polite, pertinent and… pretty

Polite, pertinent and... pretty
Polite, pertinent and… pretty: designing for the new wave of personal informatics” was the title of a talk given by Matt Jones (Dopplr) and Tom Coates (Yahoo! Brickhouse) at the recent Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Summarising their talk is not an easy thing to do, but I will give it a try. In any case the 81 slides with speaker notes are available on SlideShare.

Jones and Coates start from the premise that information is now becoming so pervasive, omni-present, localised and personalised that we can not only increase our awareness but also constantly use it to our advantage. These data come from big databases, but also from our own behaviours. Our own devices sense, record and sample data, and share these with other devices and with us and other people. They call this “personal informatics”. But this poses a huge user experience challenge, which requires a sophisticated design solution:

“The discipline of informatics is based on the recognition that the design of this technology is not solely a technical matter, but must focus on the relationship between the technology and the use in real-world settings.”

“That is, informatics designs solutions in context, and takes into account the social, cultural and organisational settings in which computing and information technology will be used.”

But what does that mean concretely? How should we design? Jones and Coates propose “three pegs to hang some thoughts off” and they all start with a P.

In defining the concept of politeness (to be thought of as the “softer ying to the hard yang of ‘privacy’), they lean on such thinkers as Adam Greenfield (and in particular his recent book “Everyware“), Mimi Ito, Leisa Reichelt, Matthew Chalmers, Anne Galloway and of course their own practice.

Pertinence is about “disclosing information that is timely and as ‘in context’ as possible”. To define this better, they refer to the ‘movement’ metaphor that Matt Webb of Schulze & Webb recently described in a talk. Webb posits that we are moving from a web of ‘places’ to “something more like a web of organisms or engines connecting and fuelling each other”.

So the issue here is to show small pieces of information in the right context at the right time, “delivered in increasingly pertinent ways, depending on our habits and contexts”.

And finally there is prettiness:

“The vast quantities of information that personal informatics generate need not only to be clear and understandable to create legibility and literacy in this new world, but I’d argue in this first wave also seductive, in order to encourage play, trial and adoption”.

So what is the future of personal informatics? Aren’t we creating our own “participatory panopticon” (Jamais Cascio)? Or are we moving to a world filled with “spimes” (Bruce Sterling)? At the moment it’s often artists who are exploring the boundaries of this unknown future.

In a long post, Alex Steffen of Worldchanging presents his own – excellent – summary of the Jones/Coates talk, but takes their analysis a step further by connecting it with sustainability and adding a fourth P (“Protection”):

“Ubiquity and sustainability could turbocharge each other. Ubiquity enables revealed backstories, observed flows and shared services, making it easier to live well at a minimum of expense and ecological impact. Sustainability, particularly in the form of compact urbanism with bright green innovation, concentrates human interactions with each other and networked systems, making it easier to suffuse daily life with the sort of intelligence that allows data to be gathered, shared and connected. The Net and the public square, as Castells wrote, are symbiants.” [...]

“PSS [product-service systems] offer enormous potential sustainability benefts. Indeed, I’d argue that it will be impossible to deliver sustainable prosperity without the widespread adoption of shared/sharing systems. But they can also have a real downside, for PSS rely on a more intimate connection with their users, and where that intimacy is not backed by protected relationships, real disaster can result.” [...]

“So, I would add a fourth P, “Protection.”

If we are going to interact with companies in intimate ways — in ways that impact our deepest life choices — those interactions ought not only to be held to a higher standard of transparency and public accountability; they ought to be safe-guarded in formal ways as well by having corporate decision-making structures that protect the user rights of the people involved.”

Steffen keeps on surprising me by the depth of his thinking.

1 July 2008

Frontiers of Interaction

Frontiers
Today I attended the Frontiers of Interaction IV conference in Turin, Italy, which — with some kind input from Bruce Sterling — has now reached quite an international level.

Speakers today were Jeffrey Schnapp (Stanford Humanities Lab – via video), Ashley Benigno (Global 3G Handset and Application Group at Hutchison Whampoa Limited), Nicolas Nova (LIFT conference), Bruno Giussani (TED – via video), David Orban (OpenSpime), Bruce Sterling (soon also to be known as “Bruno Argento”), Fabrizio Capobianco (Funambol), Adam Greenfield (Nokia), Bruno Mascaro (Sketchin), Elizabeth Churchill (Yahoo!), Stefano Sanna and Roberto Fraboni (beeweeb), Howard Rheingold (UC Berkeley and Stanford University – via video), Roberto Borri and Nico Sica (ITSME).

A full auditorium with among the attendees also Younghee Jung of Nokia, who will speak tomorrow at the World Congress of Architecture, in a session on “ubiquitous computing and the human context”, together with Nicolas Nova, Adam Greenfield and Jeffrey Huang.

Videos of all the presentations are now available online. Enjoy.

The conference was organised by a Leandro Agrò (Idearium.org) and Matteo Penzo.

13 April 2008

Videos online of Share Festival 2008 conferences

Share Festival
All videos of the conferences at the Bruce Sterling curated Share Festival that recently took place in Turin, Italy, are now online.

Aside from Bruce Sterling, exhilarating discussants were Massimo Banzi, Julian Bleecker, Donald Norman and Marcos Novak, to name just a few.

Manufacturing: From Digital to Digifab
– Bruce Sterling, Share Festival guest curator, writer
– Stefano Boeri, architect, publishing director of Abitare magazine
Share Festival conferences start – Sterling and Boeri discuss about digital manufacturing. As Bruce Sterling says “on the map there’s more than on the territory”, but it is certainly true that “in materiality i feel confortable as never before”.

Manufacturing Cultural Projects
– Montse Arbelo and Joseba Franco, artists
– Katina Sostmann, researcher
– Kees de Groot and Viola van Alphen, GogBot Festival direction
The development of digital technologies have led to new themes for art and design. Three different European projects present their production processes concerning digital art and design: ArtTechMedia, project to promote digital art, digifab activity of university department of design at Akademie der Kunste Berlin, GogBot Festival, Ducth event focused on creative applications on Robots.

Manufacturing the Streets
– Gianni Corino, researcher at Plymouth University
– Hugo Derijke, artist
– Chiara Boeri, artist
How can artists contribute to design public space and re-define the social sphere? Being part of the shared social network system, art and digital communication are the driving forces behind urban transformation, especially in public areas as museum, galleries, squares and shopping centres.

Dramatic Manufacturing
– Motor, artist
– Mauro Lupone, sound designer
– Andrea Balzola, media theorist and play writer
– Anne Nigten, managing director V2_Lab
Presentation of theatre and research projects concerning the post dramatic patterns of digital storytelling. The theatre is conceived as stage machinery where the actor is the performer and technologies play as characters.
Patching Zone: Manufacturing Interdisciplinary Collaborations
The researcher from V2, Rotterdam, shows us the way electronic art is integrating electronic art studio as a meeting table to enter into new agreements among different subjects.

Manufacturing Intelligence
– Luigi Pagliarini, artist and neuropsychologist
– Franco Torriani, critic
– Pier Luigi Capucci, university professor Università di Bologna
– Gordana Novakovic, artist
– Video by Stelarc, artist
Which is the physical, intellective and emotional relationship between man and machine? A new definition of “mind” that is finally able to be free from the prejudice that intelligence is exclusively belonging to human being, or more generally biological beings, thus assessing that artefacts can take part in this new procedure.

Manufacturing Robots
– Stefano Carabelli, university professor Politecnico di Torino
– Pietro Terna, university professor Università di Torino
– Owen Holland, university professor University of Essex
– Giampiero Masera, Turin Chamber of Commerce
The synthesis is in the title of panel, with “manufacturing robots”, looking at robots, from industrial intelligent machines to androids and to mobile applications of artificial intelligence techniques, as expression of industry, creativity, innovation and art. A perspective perfectly represented by the creative idea of the “Marinetti’s Orchestra“, as a key visiting card for the future of our area.

Manufacturing FIAT 500
– Roberto Giolito (Advanced Design Fiat)
Roberto Giolito, designer of the FIAT 500, tells how is borned the design of this vehicle symbol of the italian industrial manifacture.

A Manifesto for Networked Objects
– Julian Bleecker, professor at University of Southern California
Now objects are on-line too – blogjects , blogging objects. Once “things” are connected to the Internet, they immediately become part of the relational system, thus improving and boosting the connections in the social network, and they finally define a new relationship between presence and mobility in the physical world. With a pervading Internet network objects are now “citizens” of our space, with the possibility to communicate and interact with them.

Manufacturing Digital Art
– Massimo Banzi, Arduino co-founder
– Fabio Franchino and Giorgio Olivero, artists
In the 90s digital art was referring to immateriality, now the society has a more natural relationship with technologies, thus letting what is immaterial to become real, and experimenting new interaction processes between man and machine, that has completely become part of everyday life in the meantime. Manufacturing is also referring to digital art, where such equipment as Arduino and the explosive advent of 3D printers and devices for digital manufacturing led to integrate what is digital into what is real.

Manufacturing Future Designs
– Donald Norman, Director of the Institute for Cognitive Science
– Bruce Sterling, writer
– Luca De Biase, publishing director of Nova24- Sole24Ore magazine
– Gino Bistagnino, university professor Politecnico di Torino
Donald Norman presents his latest book, “Design of Future Things”, where objects, agents of an operating macrosystem, are inter-connected within a pervasive network where relation is more important than function. Relation must be focused on sustainability as well, since a harmful element can infect the whole system.

Manufacturing Consent
– Janez Jansa, artist
– Paolo Cirio, artist
– Antonio Caronia, theorist
Recent facts in contemporary society, dazzled by consumer offers and information pollution – people can experience forms of collective hypnosis, created by a communication system whose cultural machines are turning alienation and difference into agreement, thanks to “emotional” strategies that can mould people’s consciousness: where does communication finish and propaganda start?

From Land Art to Bioart
– Ivana Mulatero, critic
– Gianluca Cosmacini, architect
– Franco Torriani, critic
Presentation of the book “From Land Art to Bioart”, edited by Hopefulmonster Press, by Ivana Mulatero.

Is Life Manufacturable?
– Franco Torriani, critic
– Luis Bec, artist
– Nicole C. Karafyllis, biologist and philosopher
Life is now part of the manufacturing process that may produce hybrid examples widely including the two different aspects: natural living entities and technical products. Biofacts, Zootechnosemiotics, Nanotechnology: a new “parallel biology” is rising, where artificial organisms can count on some living beings’ peculiarities?

Two Architectures: Atoms and Bits
– Marcos Novak, architect
– Bruce Sterling, writer
The architecture theorist Marcos Novak and Bruce Sterling discuss about Novak’s concepts such as “trans-vergence”, “trans-architecture”, “trans-modernity”, “liquid architecture”, “navigable music”, “habitable cinema”, “archimusic”. Architectonic explorations into expanded, mixed and alternative virtual reality.

Share Prize Ceremony
The jury:
– Bruce Sterling
– Anne Nigten
– Stefano Mirti
Winner: Delicate Boundaries by Christine Sugrue

12 April 2008

Julian Bleecker joins Nokia’s Design Strategic Projects Studio

Julian Bleecker
Julian Bleecker has decided to join Nokia’s Design Strategic Projects Studio.

Julian and (LIFT conference‘s) Nicolas Nova are the co-founders of the Near Future Laboratory where client work focuses on developing emerging and conceptual design-technology for new interactive experiences. Jan Chipchase and Duncan Burns are his colleagues in the studio.

In a long post on his blog, he explains why he made this decision:

“Time for the next chapter. Shortly, I’ll be officially joining a fantastic little studio within Nokia Design called Design Strategic Projects. It’s a studio of very clever, insightful and thoughtful designers and researchers. It’s a playground of big ideas, and plenty of support to work them through. There are some big questions and even bigger opportunities to continue the work I’ve been doing in the gaps between creative practices, technology and critical analytic thinking.”

Julian was recently in Turin, Italy, as a guest of the Bruce Sterling curated Share Festival, and I met him at a small party organised by the Turin-based participatory planning firm Avventura Urbana.

In his post, Julian also gives some background on the Studio:

The studio was formerly called Insight and Innovation. The work they did in that guise is pretty much exactly the sort of work I should be involved in. It combines analysis, visual storytelling, probes about new interaction paradigms, and speculative near future inquiries into new interaction rituals. One project that recently bubbled up to the public spotlight is called Remade, a phone made entirely from upcycled and recycled materials. It’s actually one central theme in a larger network of principled design projects that are incredibly exciting. What’s more, we’re going beyond talking the talk — appearance models and styling are well and good, but this is a design studio that will be making objects that function, turning their design principles and theory and coupling it tightly to everyday practice. There’s been some recent press about the studio and its people if you want some more insight. In the near future, there’ll be more of a public voice to the studio’s work. This was one of my central discussion points when we started late last summer chatting about my joining the studio, and every rung of the ladder up the leadership, across several international borders has indicated that this is indeed part of the mission.”

10 April 2008

Videos online of Potsdam interaction design conference

Videos
Last year’s conference “Innovation Forum Interaction Design” focused on all aspects of interface and interaction design: mobile telephone and media interfaces, problem solutions and product visions, web pages and virtual worlds, art and commerce, business and science.

Speakers included Gillian Crampton Smith, Anthony Dunne, Tim Edler, Frank Jacob, Gesche Joost, Bernard Kerr, Patrick Kochlik, Kristjan Kristjansson, Bill Moggridge, Dennis Paul, Mike Richter and Bruce Sterling.

The videos are now online.

(via Bruce Sterling)

31 March 2008

Beyond blogs: the conversation has moved into the flow

Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd, an internationally recognised authority on social applications and their impact on business, media, and society, published today an interesting reflection on the fact that conversation online has moved away from the blogs that once seemed the nexus:

“Basically, conversation is moving from a very static and slow form of conversation — the comments thread on blog posts — to a more dynamic and fast form of conversation: into the flow in Twitter, Friendfeed, and others. I think this directionality may be like a law of the universe: conversation moves to where is is most social.

Personally, I don’t think the genie can be put back in the bottle. Twitter et al are simply more compelling a conversational medium than blog comments. While the close relationship of blog posts and their associated comments may seem like a positive attribute, it is actually very limiting and closed. In general, people have to blunder into an interesting comment thread by moving to the post, opening the link to the comments, and manually scrolling down through them. A lot of time and effort, all based around the metaphor of wandering around in the web of pages. It’s like a trip to the library.

Twitter and other similar apps are based on the web of flow: information of interest comes to us, not the other way around. And it flows through people, through relationships: it’s not a bunch of clicks on URLs, scrolling, and so on. It’s a move away from hunting and gathering and into relationship agriculture: information grows in our flow applications instead of us spending time hunting it down.” [...]

Today’s blog technologies were not designed with flow in mind: they are based on Web 1.0 principles, and although they have helped to engender a revolution in sociality and flow, they don’t support it very well.

Read full story

Jason Kaneshiro posted a similar reflection recently.

(via Bruce Sterling)

But — just perhaps — the situation is not so clear-cut: BBC News launched a new home page today and the announcement article already has 533 comments, that is five hundred and thirty three (and it’s still increasing).

27 February 2008

Donald Norman in Torino, Italy on 15 March

Donald Norman
Donald Norman is probably one of the most prominent guests at the upcoming Piemonte Share Festival, curated by Bruce Sterling.

Norman will be part of a panel on Saturday afternoon 15 March entitled “Manufacturing Future Designs”.

The many conferences of the festival are delving into all kinds of variations of the overall “manufacturing” theme: Manufacturing Cultural Projects; Manufacturing the Streets; Dramatic Manufacturing; Manufacturing Intelligence; Manufacturing Robots; A Manifesto for Networked Objects; Manufacturing Digital Art; Manufacturing Future Designs; Manufacturing Consent; and Is Life Manufacturable?

Speakers and guests are many, including Montse Arbelo, Andrea Balzola, Massimo Banzi, Luis Bec, Gino Bistagnino, Julian Bleecker, Chiara Boeri, Stefano Boeri, PierLuigi Capucci, Stefano Carabelli, Antonio Caronia, Paolo Cirio, Gianni Corino, Lutz Dammbeck, Luca De Biase, Kees de Groot, Hugo Derijke, Giovanni Ferrero, Fabio Franchino, Joseba Franco, Piero Gilardi, Owen Holland, Janez Jansa, Nicole C. Karafyllis, Maurizo Lorenzati, Mauro Lupone, Giampiero Masera, Motor, Ivana Mulatero, Daniele Nale, Anne Nigten, Donald Norman, Marcos Novak, Gordana Novakovic, Giorgio Olivero, Claudio Paletto, Luigi Pagliarini, Katina Sostmann, Stelarc, Bruce Sterling, Pietro Terna, Franco Torriani, and Viola van Alphen.

8 February 2008

LIFT videos online

LIFT08
The LIFT conference started on Wednesday and unfortunately I could not attend due to work pressures (our partner Jan-Christoph Zoels is there though). But there is a solution: fifteen presentations can already be viewed online.

Check out Genevieve Bell (Intel), Paul Dourish (UC-Irvine), Bruce Sterling and Younghee Yung (Nokia) to name just a few, or read up on what Bruno Giussani has to say.

4 January 2008

Scientist: ‘Hybrid’ computers will meld living brains with technology

Biomorphic
For sure Ray Kurzweil (author of The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology) and Bruce Sterling (who coined the term “Biot” – an entity which is both object and person – in his book Shaping Things) will enjoy this:

A scientist who successfully connected a moth’s brain to a robot predicts that in 10 to 15 years we’ll be using “hybrid” computers running a combination of technology and living organic tissue.

Charles Higgins, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, has built a robot that is guided by the brain and eyes of a moth. Higgins told Computerworld that he basically straps a hawk moth to the robot and then puts electrodes in neurons that deal with sight in the moth’s brain. Then the robot responds to what the moth is seeing — when something approaches the moth, the robot moves out of the way. [...]

This organically guided, 12-in.-tall robot on wheels may be pushing the technology envelope right now, but it’s just the seed of what is coming in terms of combining living tissue with computer components, according to Higgins.

“In future decades, this will be not surprising,” he said. “Most computers will have some kind of living component to them. In time, our knowledge of biology will get to a point where if your heart is failing, we won’t wait for a donor. We’ll just grow you one. We’ll be able to do that with brains, too. If I could grow brains, I could really make computing efficient.”

Read full story

(via UsabilityNews)

15 December 2007

Handmade 2.0

Handmade 2.0
Rob Walker of the New York Times Magazine asks what so many crochet-hook-wielding, papermaking, silversmithing handicrafters are doing online and tries to prove that the future of shopping — and of work — is all about the past.

The article is mostly a profile of Etsy, a company that hosts an online shopping bazaar for all things handmade.

“Only about two years old, the company is not currently profitable but is somewhat unusual among Internet-based start-ups of the so-called Web 2.0 era in having a model that does not depend on advertising revenue. It depends on people buying things, in a manner that the founders position as a throwback to the way consumption ought to be: individuals buying from other individuals. “Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost,” the Handmade Pledge site asserts. “Buying handmade helps us reconnect.” The idea is a digital-age version of artisanal culture — that the future of shopping is all about the past.”

The author is particularly interested in the new technologically enabled “new craft movement” as a social commentary on consumer culture, but has not explored what the possibilities might be if these objects themselves would become carriers of information.

If you want to know more about this, I suggest you to explore the work of Ulla-Maaria Mutanen, whose Thinglink (blog) organisation is all about the Internet of Things, applied to the world of crafts, and whose approach is closely connected to the Spime concept envisioned by Bruce Sterling.

Read full story

15 December 2007

Nova, Italy’s engaging innovation supplement

Nova
The weekly Nova supplement of Italy’s business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore is by far the most valuable innovation, science and technology forum in this country: serious and thorough, fresh and engaging, up-to-date and challenging. Some of its writers like Luca Chittaro are also particularly well versed in topics like usability, experience design, and interaction design.

Led by Luca De Biase (personal feedblog), it just celebrated its 100th edition, and a few contents are available in English:

An interview with Boris de Ruyter of Philips Research
Since 1994, Boris works on user-system interaction research at Philips Research headquarters in Eindhoven, where he is principal scientist and co-chairs the research domain Interactive Healthcare. He plays a key role in user planning and managing testing activities taking place inside facilities like Philips’ Home Lab. In this interview, Nova discusses with him about the exciting developments that are taking place in his lab.

Bruce Sterling: Generation X 2.0 (video part 1video part 2)
It’s hard to summarise Sterling lectures but he did talk about scenario forecasting, the speed of future change, the importance of fundamental science, and social areas that generate new language.The quality of the video is particularly poor. Italian summaries of and commentaries on his lecture can be found here, and here, and here. An interview with Bruce Sterling (with short Italian introduction) is available on video.

Fabio Turel runs a blog on the Nova site that is nearly entirely in English.

23 November 2007

The DIY Future: what happens when everyone is a designer?

The DIY Future
Last week Joe Lamantia, a New York-based user experience and information architecture consultant, gave the closing talk at the Italian IA Summit in Trento, entitled “The DIY Future: what happens when everyone is a designer?”.

In his seemingly very interesting presentation, he talks about integrated experiences, the need for permeability, and conflict as the missing ingredient in design – and also puts the work of Peter Morville, Bruce Sterling and Jesse James Garrett in a new context.

He just posted the abstract and the slides online. I hope audio will soon be available as well.

Broad cultural, technological, and economic shifts are rapidly erasing the distinctions between those who create and those who use, consume, or participate. This is true in digital experiences and information environments of all types, as well as in the physical and conceptual realms. In all of these contexts, substantial expertise, costly tools, specialized materials, and large-scale channels for distribution are no longer required to execute design.

The erosion of traditional barriers to creation marks the onset of the DIY Future, when everyone is a potential designer (or architect, or engineer, or author) of integrated experiences – the hybrid constructs that combine products, services, concepts, networks, and information in support of evolving functional and emotional pursuits.

The cultural and technological shifts that comprise the oncoming DIY Future promise substantial changes to the environments and audiences that design professionals create for, as well as the role of designers, and the ways that professionals and amateurs alike will design. One inevitable aspect consequence will be greater complexity for all involved in the design of integrated experiences. The potential rise of new economic and production models is another.

The time is right to begin exploring aspects of the DIY Future, especially its profound implications for information architecture and user experience design. Using the designer’s powerful fusion of analytical perspective and creative vision, we can balance speculative futurism with an understanding of concrete problems – such as growing ethical challenges and how to resolve them – from the present day.

View slideshow (click on “full”) | Download slideshow

12 November 2007

Book: ‘Processing’ — and the design critics rave

Social network
Processing is an open-source programming language that can be used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and anyone who wants to program images, animation, and interactivity. There were many people involved in making Processing to what it is now, but at is origins were two people – Casey Reas and Ben Fry.

Casey and I were both involved at the meanwhile defunct but very well known Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. I got to know Casey as a warm, humble and brilliant interaction designer and a very strong artist.

Now MIT Press has published a book by Casey and Ben on Processing and the recommendations it goes with are worth quoting:

“Processing is a milestone not only in the history of computer software, of information design, and of the visual arts, but also in social history. Many have commented on the pragmatic impact of the open source movement, but it is time to also consider Processing’s sociological and psychological consequences. Processing invites people to tinker, and tinkering is the first step for any scientific and artistic creation. After the tinkering, it leads designers to their idea of perfection. It enables complexity, yet it is approachable; it is rigorous, yet malleable. Its home page exudes the enthusiasm of so many designers and artists from all over the world, overflowing with ideas and proud to be able to share. Processing is a great gift to the world.”
Paola Antonelli, Curator, Architecture and Design, MOMA

“This long-awaited book is more than just a software guide; it is a tool for unlocking a powerful new way of thinking, making, and acting. Not since the Bauhaus have visual artists revisited technology in such a world-changing way. Ben Fry and Casey Reas have helped a growing community of visual producers open up fresh veins of expression. Their work proves that code is open to designers, architects, musicians, and animators, not just to engineers. Providing a powerful alternative to proprietary software, Processing is part of a new social phenomenon in the arts that speaks to self-education and networked engagement.”
Ellen Lupton, Director of the graphic design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, and Author of D.I.Y: Design It Yourself

“A whole generation of designers, artists, students, and professors have been influenced by Processing. Now, a handbook is published that goes far beyond explaining how to handle the technology and boldly reveals the potential future for the electronic sketchbook.”
Joachim Sauter, University of the Arts, Berlin, Founder, Art+Com

(via Bruce Sterling)

13 October 2007

Pop!Tech conference on the social impact of technology

Pop!Tech
The Pop!Tech conference is a four day summit that explores the deep forces shaping our collective future, the social impact of new scientific insights and emerging technologies, and the new approaches humanity is taking to address national and global challenges, with the aim to accelerate the impact of world-changing people and ideas.

It draws together world-leading speakers and 550 attendees that include some of the highest ranks of science, technology, business, the arts, culture, law and the press; the participants include Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur ‘genius’ award winners, and uncategorizable thought leaders who come together to look collectively at the future of the world.an elite annual gathering of “visionary thinkers”.

At this year’s conference, which runs from Oct. 17 to 20, the theme is “The Human Impact,” and the eclectic lineup of speakers ranges from the Grand Mufti of Bosnia to digital toy designer Caleb Chung. The list also includes Nathan Eagle, the mobility expert from the MIT Media Lab, Jonathan Harris, an interactive designer, Joe McCarthy, global mobility researcher, Dan Pink, author of “A Whole New Mind”, Steven Pinker, the preeminent cognitive scientist, and Katrin Verclas, mobile activism researcher.

This year the entire Pop!Tech conference (schedule) will be webcast for free between 9am and 6.30pm EST, October 18-20, 2007. Viewers can even submit questions to our stage live by emailing questions@poptech.org.

Videos of previous presentations are also available and I selected some that match the focus of this blog.

Losang Rabgey (26:34)
Anthropologist and Tibetan studies expert Losang Rabgey shows how technology is being used to open up Tibet to the world, as well as connect lives across the region, in ways true to their various experiences. [Most of the technology she is talking about is available on the site of the Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library]

Bruce Sterling (08:09)
Author, journalist and contributing editor at Wired magazine Bruce Sterling understands why people get confused about new technology concepts. In what he sees as a culture war of web semantics, Bruce gets the audience’s attention with a unique call for a new vocabulary to better describe experiences with technology.

Neil Gershenfeld (26:13)
Twenty minutes may not really be enough time to fully understand the implications of the so-called Fab Lab, invented by the director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. But it’s a mind-blowing place to start!

Chris Anderson (24:32)
What happens when material things become free? Long Tail author and Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson examines new models of wealth distribution and claims we’re moving from economies of scarcity to an age of abundance.

In an effort to make conference content more accessible to a wider audience, Pop!Tech is now teaming with dotSUB.com, a new site with Web video subtitling capabilities, to offer podcasts of selected events in eight languages—including Chinese, Arabic, and Swahili.

Business Week reports on this.