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people – ..
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Category: people

Augmented Reality, Design, people, Persuasive Technologies, Theory, Videos

Uncovering the Grammar of VR

November 2, 2015

Saschka Unseld  Creative Director, Oculus Story Studio

In virtual reality, you are at the center of every story. Saschka Unseld, head of Oculus Story Studio, wants to keep you there, experiencing virtual worlds directly, with characters who interact with you in real time. You read a book and you watch a film, but in virtual reality, you experience a story. It’s told through your senses, and Unseld and his team are now discovering what that means—how characters should react to you, how to make your experience interactive and responsive. It’s a learning curve that’s just beginning—built on a heritage of storytelling but breaking down the fourth wall in a new way. Unseld shared some of what his studio is learning at this year’s Future of Storytelling Conference.

The studio has already released two short form experiences, Lost and Henry. The latter was intended to be a comedy, but as Unseld explained, it was difficult to keep if from being a tragedy:

With Henry, for example what we did, we thought, “Okay, let’s try to tell a comedy — typical slapstick kind of animated character comedy.”

The final film turned out to be more sad than funny. If you would cut it as a film, exactly the same thing, you would have a lot of laughs. But in VR, you don’t. If someone falls on their face right next to you, it’s not funny.

In cinema. you have something like the fourth wall, which means there is this wall between the story and the world and the audience. In VR, there is no such thing as a fourth wall, because in VR you are right there with the characters in the world.

Conferences, Design, people, Theory

Understanding Perception

October 10, 2015

Lazy Chief, a Studio in London, translated the studies of neuroscientist Beau Lotto into motion design.

The 4-minute short film explains the way that evolution has shaped the way we perceive the world.

One important statement for visual designers, is that our brains don’t differentiate between imagined stimuli and real stimuli. Professor Lotto explains:

[W]hat’s remarkable is that when we imagine something, it activates the same part of our brain as if we’re actually seeing it. So imagined perception is the same as a real perception.

This has tremendous impact for thinking about the narratives that a culture tells itself.

Design for Behavior, HCI, people, Persuasive Technologies, Theory

Nir Eyal: Stop Designing Apps And Start Designing Habits

February 12, 2014


Nir Eyal constructed a framework for designing habit-forming products. He states:

The “desire engine” gives product makers and designers a model for thinking of the necessary components to create user behavior. Habit design is a super power. If used for good, habit design can enhance people’s lives with entertaining and even healthful routines. If used for evil, habits can quickly turn into wasteful addictions.

The trinity of access, data, and speed creates new opportunities for habit-forming technologies to hook users and everything becomes more addictive. Companies need to know how to harness the power of the desire engine to improve peoples’ lives, while consumers need to understand the mechanics of behavior engineering to protect themselves from manipulation. More and more developers realize that their success hinges on understanding user behavior. Nir Eyal used patterns collected from his 4 years in the gaming and advertising business and one year of research as a consultant and lecturer at the Stanford GSB, to create a tool, which should greatly improve the odds of success for a startup.

For more info, see his blog at: nirandfar.com.

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Persuasive Technologies, playstudies, Theory, Videos

NESTA’s – Digital you event

September 8, 2012

Catch up on all the insights from our NESTA’s Digital You-Event which looked at telepresence and the psychology of electronic communications. This event explored how robotics and new collaboration tools can emulate being there in person, and how we can make better use of email and video conferencing without ‘information overload’

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/24513233]
Ambient Intelligence, Books, Internet of Things, people, Persuasive Technologies, Smart Objects, Theory

A sense of place, a world of Augmented Reality

July 5, 2012


Architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer has published a two-part essay that explores how technology — especially the real-time, mediating imageries of augmented reality — influences how we perceive and inhabit place.“We’re in the first stage of a transformation of our sense of place,” he writes, “as momentous as that which occurred a couple of centuries ago, when products from smoke-stacked factories forged modern society.” Today, he argues, the “convergence of mobile phone, camera, wireless Internet and satellite communication — the key ingredients of the digital handheld — accelerates the reconstitution of place from real, occupied space to a collage of here and there, past and present.”

Mitchell Schwarzer is Professor of Visual Studies at California College of the Arts and a historian of architecture, landscape and urbanism.

Read article: Part 1 | Part 2

Via: Experienta


Books, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects, Theory

Core77 book reviews

June 11, 2011
Robert Blinn wrote a review on Core77 on the latest book by Donald Norman: Living with Complexity.

“While his book doesn’t exactly provide hard and fast rules for taming complexity, it does a very good job of framing the problem. After all, when the aspects of a problem are laid out clearly, problems begin to appear progressively less complex. Along the way, as Norman explains the problem, his text is accompanied by the usual assortment of author photographs of awkward and difficult devices. Digressing from the paradoxical nature of choosing from two rolls of toilet paper in a public restaurant to the “desire lines” caused by human behavior (creases in books and dead spots in public meadows where people walk), Norman covers social signifiers. He addresses forcing functions, grouping and countless other design/behavior problems. Norman even devotes an entire chapter to the nature of waiting in line (nearly every hospital does it wrong, and our recent visit to the Apple store on Prince Street showed that even Apple had stopped listing the names and timing of those in the queue, much to this reviewer’s consternation).”

Read article

Robert Blinn also reviewed Jon Kolko’s new book Exposing the Magic of Design (amazon) for Core77:

“Kolko’s book is subtitled “A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis,” and this reviewer joked that it sounded like an undergraduate film or semiotics course. Kolko himself states that “the ability to ‘be playful’ is critical to achieve deep and meaningful synthesis,” but the tenor of the tome is far from the giant grin the author wears while using carrots as a “phone” on the cover of his previous work. Exposing the Magic of Design is blunt, direct, serious and self-assured. At less than 200 pages and full of diagrams, processes and methods, Kolko certainly didn’t have time for any hand-holding. In this era of easy distraction, Exposing the Magic‘s interaction design requires complete attention. Perhaps that’s the way the author meant it.”

Read review

Internet of Things, people, playstudies

Alternate Reality Gaming

June 3, 2011

The Alternate Reality Gaming Network is the largest and most complete news resource available for players of online collaborative Alternate Reality Games. For many years, this site was the central hub for an affiliate network of sites that were independently owned and operated by volunteers for the enjoyment of themselves and the ARG community. In October of 2006, the site’s focus switched over to being a news network first and foremost, and will continue to operate in this facility. Simply put, ARGNet is the place to be when news breaks about new ARGs, as it offers insightful, investigative reporting from dedicated, knowledgeable volunteers through articles, interviews and netcast

Ambient Intelligence, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects, Tools


June 1, 2011

ReadWriteWeb featured Arduino as one offive companies building the Internet of Things. Arduino is akin to the transistor radio kit your grandparents used to buy when they were kids. These more-modern versions are open-source electronic protoyping platforms, and they are the preferred gadgets of Internet of Things tinkerers. Last summer we told you about how devices like Arduino and Pachube can be combined with the Web to control the lighting in your home.
You can access the blog feed here.

There are a half-dozen other prominent Internet of Things blogs that didn’t make this list. If you know of one that has been left out please make sure to post a link to their feed in the comments below.

Ambient Intelligence, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects

David Orban and WideTag

David Orban’s personal blog is balanced with the WideTag blog, which is a company he is a co-founder of. A video and PowerPoint presentation by Orban was featured on ReadWriteWeb in early April. Orban’s dream is that thousands of years of human subservience to machines will end because we will teach our machines how to not only take care of themselves, but how to take care of us as well. You can access his feeds here and here.

Ambient Intelligence, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects, Theory


This group blog is sometimes in French but mostly in English. The project originated as a LinkedIn discussion group, which readers are still invited to join. Interested developers are also encouraged to request “writer status” for the blog. “The concept of the Internet Of Things is federating more and more people every day. This Blog is a sharing space for those interested in participating in this major breakthrough.” You can access its feed here.

Ambient Intelligence, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects, Theory

The Internet of Things Council – blog

The Internet of Things Council is a European think tank of the best minds in the burgeoning Internet of Things sector. From forecasting to developing prototypes, the council members’ commonality is the “range of emotions and conceptual breakdown that comes with grasping the territory, the full logistical, business, social and philosophical implications of the Internet of Things.” You can access their blog feed here.

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Theory

Cognitive styles – get inside the user’s head

May 22, 2011
How deep does our understanding of users actually go? Sure, we know their socio-economic bracket, what industry they work in, and the top few tasks they want to achieve on our website. But are there deeper, more innately personal characteristics at work? Can we figure out what really makes them tick?

UX designer Tyler Tate writes about these questions in the UX magazine:

“We pour over analytics, conduct ethnographic studies, and interview users in order to understand the demographics, goals, and tasks of the people using our product. We create personas, write scenarios, and list use cases. And so we should; understanding who our users are and what they want to achieve is foundational to our job as designers.

But how deep does our understanding of users actually go? Sure, we know their socio-economic bracket, what industry they work in, and the top few tasks they want to achieve on our website. But are there deeper, more innately personal characteristics at work? Can we figure out what really makes them tick?

For over a century, psychologists have been trying to account for the range of individual differences people exhibit when interacting with new information. At the heart of their research lie cognitive styles—the stable attitudes, preferences, and habitual strategies that determine how an individual processes information. Understanding cognitive styles will help us design better experiences for users.”

Read article

Media Art, people

Jill Magid

May 15, 2011

Jill Magid seeks intimate relationships with impersonal structures.

“The systems I choose to work with—such as police, secret services, CCTV, and forensic identification, function at a distance, with a wide-angle perspective, equalizing everyone and erasing the individual. I seek the potential softness and intimacy of their technologies, the fallacy of their omniscient point of view, the ways in which they hold memory (yet often cease to remember), their engrained position in society (the cause of their invisibility), their authority, their apparent intangibility— and, with all of this, their potential reversibility.”

Design, Internet of Things, people, Persuasive Technologies, Tools

Project M

May 14, 2011

Article via Frog

Mobile phones are changing everything in emerging markets, as people overcome roadblocks to communication and information. Previously isolated communities are getting a taste of access and upward mobility they’ve never known before, causing economies to shift. frog and its partners believe mobile phones can transform healthcare, too. Frog created Project M, an HIV/AIDS support and awareness network driven by text communication.

“The world’s largest field trial in mobile health technology.”
– The Economist




It Starts With Research in the Field

In a partnership between frog, Aricent Group, PopTech, iTeach, Praekelt, Nokia Siemens and others, Project M (short for Project Masiluleke, which means “lend a helping hand” in Zulu) is using mobile technology to tackle the worst HIV epidemic in the world in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, where infection rates are more than 40 percent. This is not the first attempt to address the HIV problems there, but after sending a team to South Africa to do extensive research on the ground with local experts, we believe the system we’ve created is the most effective solution to date.

Almost 90 percent of people in South Africa own a mobile phone, allowing Project M to use mobile technology in three crucial ways: to encourage use of low-cost diagnostic test kits (which frog created; see video, below); to walk patients through the at-home testing process; and to guide people into care should they need it and encourage healthy preventative behaviors if they don’t.

1 Million Texts Per Day

Project M launched its first phase in 2009 when a text message was sent to 1 million phones to encourage people to be tested and treated for HIV/AIDS. The Economist called it “the world’s largest field trial in mobile health technology.” This campaign helped triple the average daily call volume to the National AIDS Helpline, encouraging more than 150,000 people to reach out for information.

Since the initial launch, we’ve done more extensive user testing and added treatment and compliance reminders in the form of an SMS-based alert system for HIV and TB patients. Our long-term goal is to show how mobile technology can positively influence healthcare issues in Africa, so we can build a series of alliances around the world that bring together mobile operators and distributed diagnostics.

The Future of Digital Healthcare

We see a future in which local healthcare providers, NGOs, and government agencies can log onto a website and configure a cost-effective diagnostic solution tailored and scaled to their needs. They will be able to increase access to diagnostic tools and regimens in some of the world’s most under-served regions.

“With hundreds of thousands of people suffering and dying, it’s no longer a question of ‘should we do this?’ or even ‘how should we do this?’ It’s ‘how fast can we do this?’”
– Dr Krista Dong, Director, iTeach

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Design, HCI, people, Smart Objects, Theory

Human 3.0

February 27, 2011

The next giant leap in human evolution may not come from new fields like genetic engineering or artificial intelligence, but rather from appreciating our ancient brains, argues Mark Changizi in the Seed Magazine

Mark Changizi is a cognitive scientist and author. His upcoming book, Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Man, is available for pre-order now. 

Read full article.

Internet of Things, Media Art, people, Smart Objects, Theory

Near Future Laboratory – Julian Bleecker

January 10, 2011

Julian Bleecker is a designer, technologist and researcher at the Design Strategic Projects studio at Nokia Design in Los Angeles and co-founder with Nicolas Nova of the Near Future Laboratory, their design-to-think studio.

He lectures and leads workshops on the intersections of art, design, technology and the near-future possibilities for new social-technical interaction rituals. He has taught interactive media at Parson’s School of Design and the University of Southern California.

Julian has given talks and exhibited many of his emerging technology projects, designs and concepts in venues such as SIGGRAPH, LIFT, Xerox PARC, O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and Where 2.0 Conference on Location-Based Technology, Ubicomp, Ars Electronica, ACM SIGCHI, ACM Advances in Computer Entertainment, Banff New Media Institute, American Museum of the Moving Image, Art Interactive, Boston Cyberarts Festival, SHiFT, Reboot, Eyebeam Atelier, and SK Telecom’s Art Center Nabi.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, a Master’s Degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, in Computer-Human Interaction, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz where his dissertation is on technology, culture and entertainment.

He was formerly a Professor of Interactive Media at the University of Southern California. He is on the board of advisors the Lift Conference and can often be found jurying and participating in international art, technology and design conferences.

Current interest are best represented by recent topics on this blog, including Design, Science Fiction, Film, Urban Space, Future Things and strategies for thinking about and creating conversations that lead to more habitable near future worlds.

Books, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects

Interview with Mike Kuniavsky, author of “Smart Things”

January 4, 2011
David Bevans of Morgan Kaufmann Publishers interviewed Mike Kuniavsky, writer, designer, researcher and entrepreneur and co-founder of both ThingM, an electronic hardware design, development and manufacturing company, and Adaptive Path, and author of “Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design.

Dave Bevans: You can look at how technology works and what tools can work best, but what drives you to make them easier?

Mike Kuniavsky: “Easier” is a difficult question. I like to think of it as using technology in appropriate places. And I can think of it as creating technologies that help people live their lives better. What tools can we build to help people have happier and more productive lives? Part of that is understanding the appropriate places for technological interventions based on the available technology, and part of that is understanding the way to make those technological interventions appropriate to people and to what they’re trying to do. I think the combination of those things is what combines to form the concept of easier. Because when technology is easy to use, it means that it’s appropriate to the task and it’s sufficiently understandable to be able to be used for that task.”

Read interview

(via InfoDesign)

Design, Internet of Things, people, Videos

OpenIDEO: A New Collaboration Platform for Designers

August 10, 2010

by Francisco Noguera

This week saw the launch of OpenIDEO, a new collaboration platform where you can literally work with IDEO staff and other design thinkers around the world. OpenIDEO was conceived to encourage collaboration and apply the principles of design thinking to critical social challenges.  A catchy video with an accent whose origin I’ve not yet deciphered (IDEO’s take on the “About Us” section) explains in a couple of minutes how you can actually contribute to design-driven solutions to social challenges, while increasing your Design Quotient and creating a name for yourself as a capable “designer for social impact.”

The days when you needed an introduction to get your resume to the right person are long gone. If you want to work with IDEO, go and do it. Start by collaborating on the fascinating challenge related to affordable private schools, part of the Enterprising Schools project of Grey Matters Capital.

This post originally appeared on NextBillion.

Books, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects, Theory

The beauty of networks

June 30, 2010

Words by Jacqui

Can organizations be beautiful?

That was a recent question posed by Tim Brown, CEO of design and innovation firm IDEO, on his blog, Design Thinking. His book, Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, discusses how thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy.  Tim’s blog explores design thinking, and we thought we would share two recent posts about organizations and networks:

Can organizations be beautiful?

At IDEO we have been working on the topic of designing organizations for a while, most specifically the design of organizations to be more innovative. My struggle with this particular domain of design thinking has been one of aesthetics. Great design thinking results in functionally and emotionally satisfying solutions where the emotional value is generated through the creation of meaning. In design, meaning largely comes from aesthetics and so I have been wondering how to think about aesthetics when considering the design of organizations. Hence the question, can organizations be beautiful? More specifically can organizational designs be beautiful? Is there a ‘designerly-ness’ to the process of organizational design?

I have been wondering about this partly because I believe without an aesthetic component the best design minds will not apply themselves to these kinds of problems and partly because of a frustration with current organizational design practice that seems to largely be about arranging boxes in an organizational chart.

Are there overarching design concepts that can be described as beautiful? I think Shaker communities might be considered beautiful, not just because they created beautiful things but because of the simplicity of structure, clarity of purpose and thoughtfulness for every aspect of the experience.

Is Google, with its twenty percent personal project time, a beautiful organization? Are there organizational archetypes that can be evaluated in aesthetic terms? A bee colony could be considered a beautiful example of emergence. What would a beautiful, innovative organization look like or feel like?

Honeybee_282_Image credit: USDA
from designthinking.ideo.com

How about networks?

As a follow up, I want to say something about networks as organizations and their aesthetics. I am most of the way through reading Connected, a brilliant book on the science of social networks by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler. Among the many insights is that we will be able to intentionally manage social networks as we understand more deeply how they operate. Given the power of networks to achieve many things I think it likely that many more organizations will seek to design themselves as networks.

There is much to admire about the aesthetics of networks including their emergent behavior, their resilience and their ability to evolve to be more fit over time. These are things that classically designed organizations have struggled with. Does this make networks beautiful? I certainly find the social network maps of the Framingham heart study, that the authors use to illustrate contagious behavior, quite beautiful.

Homepage and top image by Dr. Nicholas Christakis, from designthinking.ideo.com

Via: Design 21

HCI, Internet of Things, people, playstudies, Theory, Videos

Hiroshi Ishiguro – Geminoid

April 25, 2010

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro (石黒浩 Ishiguro Hiroshi) is director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, part of the Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University, Japan. A notable development of the laboratory is the actroid, a humanoid robot with lifelike appearance and visible behaviour such as facial movements.

In robot development, Professor Ishiguro concentrates on the idea of making a robot that is as similar as possible to a live human being; at the unveiling in July 2005 of the “female” android named Repliee Q1Expo, he was quoted [1] as saying “I have developed many robots before, but I soon realised the importance of its appearance. A human-like appearance gives a robot a strong feeling of presence. … Repliee Q1Expo can interact with people. It can respond to people touching it. It’s very satisfying, although we obviously have a long way to go yet.” In his opinion, it may be possible to build an android that is indistinguishable from a human, at least during a brief encounter.

Ishiguro has made an android that resembles himself, called the Geminoid. The Geminoid was among the robots featured by James May in his 5 October 2008 BBC2 documentary on robots Man-Machine in his series Big Ideas. Update: Ishiguro has been listed as one of the 15 Asian Scientists To Watch by Asian Scientist Magazine on 15 May 2011.


List at Osaka university website


List at Osaka university website


Media Art, people, Uncategorized

One Tree Project

March 8, 2010

Natalie Jeremijenko’s new “One Tree(s)” art/tech/science/culture project involves planting 1,000 clones of the same tree in various places and monitoring what happens. One Tree, Jeremijenko planted genetically identical trees in various socio-economically different neighbourhoods in order to question the logic of genetic determinism. While the trees themselves feature no sensors at all, they effectively “visualize” the locative data of the contingent environment (thriving in rich areas while struggling in poor neighborhoods), thereby critiquing the construction of nature as existing outside a network of relations. However One Tree suggests that the point for Pervasive Media may to be to think more metaphorically, beyond technology design in specific, so as to understand and map the relations between technology, nature and politics. Link to One Trees website, Discuss

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Internet of Things, people, Theory

Book: The Internet of Things

March 4, 2010

Rob van Kranenburg, The Internet of Things. A critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID, Network Notebooks 02, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2007. ISBN: 978-90-78146-06

About the publication:

Cities across the world are about to enter the next phase of their development. A near invisible network of radio frequency identification tags (RFID) is being deployed on almost every type of consumer item. These tiny, traceable chips, which can be scanned wirelessly, are being produced in their billions and are capable of being connected to the internet in an instant. This so-called ‘Ambient intelligence’ promises to createa global network of physical objects every bit as pervasive and ubiquitous as the worldwide web itself. Some are already calling this controversial network the ‘internet of things’, describing it as either the ultimate convenience in supply-chain management, or the ultimate tool in our future surveillance. This network has the power to reshape our cities and yet it is being built with little public knowledge of consent.Here Rob van Kranenburg examines what impact RFID, and other systems, will have on our cities and our widersociety; while also ruminating on what alternative network technologies could help safeguard our privacyand empower citizens to take power back into their own hands. It is both a timely warning and a call to arms.

about the author: Rob van Kranenburg (1964) has been teaching at various schools in the Netherlands (UvA, EMMA Interaction Design, Industrial Design) and has worked at several Dutch cultural institutions; de Balie, Doors of Perception and Virtual Platform. Currently he works as the Head of the Public Domain Program at Waag Society. He lives in Ghent, Belgium.

colophon: Network Notebooks editors: Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer. Copy editing: Sean Dodson. Design: Studio Léon&Loes, Rotterdam http://www.leon-loes.nl. Print: Telstar Media, Pijnacker. Publisher: Insitute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam. Supported by: Amsterdam School of Design and Communication, Interactive Media (Hogeschool van Amsterdam) and Waag Society, Amsterdam.

View the pdf

Order a hard copy of the reader at LULU (online print on demand publisher) for € 3,9

HCI, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects, Theory, Videos

Video-interviews of Danah Boyd and Sherry Turkle

February 14, 2010
Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research, and Sherry Turkle, MIT Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, were interviewed for Digital Revolution, an open source documentary that takes stock of 20 years of change brought about by the World Wide Web.

Danah Boyd interview – USA
Danah Boyd is a social media researcher at Microsoft Research. She met with Aleks Krotoski to discuss the changes in young people’s behaviour when online, their attitudes to privacy and the importance that might be placed upon building their identities online.

Sherry Turkle interview – USA
Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauxe Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT. She met with Aleks Krotoski to discuss the issues of privacy, communication and identity in the web-connected world.

Also published are interviews with Doug Rushkoff (author, teacher, columnist and media theorist), discussing the realities of ‘free’ content and services on the web, and Gina Bianchini (CEO and co-founder of Ning), speaking about online social networks and the changing nature of relationships and human interactions in the connected world of the web.

Ambient Intelligence, Media Art, people, Persuasive Technologies, playstudies


October 8, 2009

iSee is a web-based application charting the locations of closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras in urban environments. With iSee, users can find routes that avoid these cameras (“paths of least surveillance”) allowing them to walk around their cities without fear of being “caught on tape” by unregulated security monitors.

Books, Design, people, Theory


October 3, 2009

In 2003, Alex Steffen, a Seattle-based journalist, co-founded the website Worldchanging to provide news and informed solutions to environmental threats. Three years later, a book spun out of that effort. Worldchanging: A User’s Guide to the 21st Century was a 600-page synthesis of strategies for global challenges, with a foreword by Al Gore, design by Stefan Sagmeister and photos by Edward Burtynsky.

Widely recognized as a leading resource, the Worldchanging organization itself proved unsustainable because of a nonprofit business model that drained the energies of its formidable yet skeletal staff. After publishing a reported 12,000 articles, Steffen’s website closed late last year. Its legacy is continued through a revised and updated edition of Worldchanging, the book, which was published by Abrams.

Readers who want to keep up with Alex Steffen’s latest work can follow his posts on Twitter (@AlexSteffen) and on his site ( http://www.alexsteffen.com/ ).

Via: changeobserver – read the interview

Media Art, people, playstudies


September 8, 2009

When artist Esther Polak and researcher Ieva Auzina discovered that much Latvian milk is transported to the Netherlands, they decided to follow its progress from the cow’s udder to the consumer’s mouth using GPS navigation. Milk received the prestigious Golden Nica new-media prize.

“Really, everyone needs their own map. Everyone has their own spatial pattern, their own view of reality.”

Esther Polak
“I wondered how to represent our economic relationship with the landscape, and realised I could use new technology.”
Esther Polak

Books, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Smart Objects, Theory

Book: Evocative Objects

August 10, 2009

Evocative Objects – Things We Think With
Edited by Sherry Turkle

Table of Contents and Sample Chapters

For Sherry Turkle, “We think with the objects we love; we love the objects we think with.” In Evocative Objects, Turkle collects writings by scientists, humanists, artists, and designers that trace the power of everyday things. These essays reveal objects as emotional and intellectual companions that anchor memory, sustain relationships, and provoke new ideas.

This volume’s special contribution is its focus on everyday riches: the simplest of objects—an apple, a datebook, a laptop computer—are shown to bring philosophy down to earth. The poet contends, “No ideas but in things.” The notion of evocative objects goes further: objects carry both ideas and passions. In our relations to things, thought and feeling are inseparable.

Whether it’s a student’s beloved 1964 Ford Falcon (left behind for a station wagon and motherhood), or a cello that inspires a meditation on fatherhood, the intimate objects in this collection are used to reflect on larger themes—the role of objects in design and play, discipline and desire, history and exchange, mourning and memory, transition and passage, meditation and new vision.

In the interest of enriching these connections, Turkle pairs each autobiographical essay with a text from philosophy, history, literature, or theory, creating juxtapositions at once playful and profound. So we have Howard Gardner’s keyboards and Lev Vygotsky’s hobbyhorses; William Mitchell’s Melbourne train and Roland Barthes’ pleasures of text; Joseph Cevetello’s glucometer and Donna Haraway’s cyborgs. Each essay is framed by images that are themselves evocative. Essays by Turkle begin and end the collection, inviting us to look more closely at the everyday objects of our lives, the familiar objects that drive our routines, hold our affections, and open out our world in unexpected ways.

Essays by: Julian Beinart, Matthew Belmonte, Joseph Cevetello, Robert P. Crease, Olivia Dasté, Glorianna Davenport, Judith Donath, Michael M. J. Fischer, Howard Gardner, Tracy Gleason, Nathan Greenslit, Stefan Helmreich, Michelle Hlubinka, Henry Jenkins, Caroline A. Jones, Evelyn Fox Keller, Tod Machover, Susannah Mandel, David Mann, Irene Castle McLaughlin, Eden Medina, Jeffrey Mifflin, William J. Mitchell, David Mitten, Annalee Newitz, Trevor Pinch, Susan Pollak, Mitchel Resnick, Nancy Rosenblum, Susan Spilecki, Carol Strohecker, Susan Rubin Suleiman, Sherry Turkle, Gail Wight, Susan Yee

About the Editor

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and Founder and Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. A psychoanalytically trained sociologist and psychologist, she is the author of The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (Twentieth Anniversary Edition, MIT Press), Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, and Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud’s French Revolution. She is the editor of Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, Falling for Science: Objects in Mind, and The Inner History of Devices, all three published by the MIT Press.

Book at MIT Press.

Ambient Intelligence, Books, HCI, people, Persuasive Technologies, Smart Objects, Theory

Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do

July 8, 2009

Description of the book:

Can computers change what you think and do? Can they motivate you to stop smoking, persuade you to buy insurance, or convince you to join the Army?

“Yes, they can,” says Dr. B.J. Fogg, director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. Fogg has coined the phrase “Captology”(an acronym for computers as persuasive technologies) to capture the domain of research, design, and applications of persuasive computers.In this thought-provoking book, based on nine years of research in captology, Dr. Fogg reveals how Web sites, software applications, and mobile devices can be used to change people’s attitudes and behavior. Technology designers, marketers, researchers, consumers—anyone who wants to leverage or simply understand the persuasive power of interactive technology—will appreciate the compelling insights and illuminating examples found inside.

Persuasive technology can be controversial—and it should be. Who will wield this power of digital influence? And to what end? Now is the time to survey the issues and explore the principles of persuasive technology, and B.J. Fogg has written this book to be your guide.


It is rare for books to define a new discipline or fundamentally change how we think about technology and our jobs. This book does all of this. You MUST read this book, whether to grow your business or to teach your children how to overcome manipulation. –Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group

Today’s technology is used to change attitudes and behavior. This powerful, yet easy-to-read book addresses the issues critically, with insight, and in depth. B.J. Fogg has created an important new discipline, one that is of vital importance to everyone. –Donald A. Norman, Northwestern University, Co-founder, The Nielsen Norman Group

Any medium has the potential to do great good or harm. Learn how to use design to intervene and make our interaction with technology more humane. A must read for those who are serious about designing the future. –Clement Mok, Designer and CEO of CMC

Book at Amazon.

Books, Design, HCI, people, Theory

What Things Do

July 4, 2009

What Things Do – Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design

By Peter-Paul Verbeek

“Peter-Paul Verbeek is one of the up-and-coming philosophers of technology. He has been able to combine some of the best insights from both contemporary philosophy of technology and the newer strands of science studies. Looking at materiality, he extends the attentiveness to things that comes from these movements. His own original insights show forth in this book.” —Don Ihde, SUNY–Stony Brook

“This is really a good book. The goal is to advance our philosophical and cultural understanding of technology with a focused interpretation of artifacts or material culture. . . . Verbeek demonstrates a solid appreciation of what has gone before him, fairly explicates and criticizes (his criticisms are always judicious and acknowledge others), and then creatively extends the movement toward a fuller appreciation of artifacts. If I were to give this book my own title, it would be ‘Artifacts Have Consequences’ (playing off the Richard Weaver book ‘Ideas Have Consequences’).” —Carl Mitcham, Colorado School of Mines

“In this insightful examination of the technological mediation in human action, he both poses new philosophical and societal questions, and offers a new way of bringing ethics into the practice of designing technical artifacts.” —Katinka Waelbers, Science and Engineering Ethics

Our modern society is flooded with all sorts of devices: TV sets, automobiles, microwaves, mobile phones. How are all these things affecting us? How can their role in our lives be understood? What Things Do answers these questions by focusing on how technologies mediate our actions and our perceptions of the world.

Peter-Paul Verbeek develops this innovative approach by first distinguishing it from the classical philosophy of technology formulated by Jaspers and Heidegger, who were concerned that technology would alienate us from ourselves and the world around us. Against this gloomy and overly abstract view, Verbeek draws on and extends the work of more recent philosophers of technology like Don Ihde, Bruno Latour, and Albert Borgmann to present a much more empirically rich and nuanced picture of how material artifacts shape our existence and experiences. In the final part of the book Verbeek shows how his “postphenomenological” approach applies to the technological practice of industrial designers.
Its systematic and historical review of the philosophy of technology makes What Things Do suitable for use as an introductory text, while its innovative approach will make it appealing to readers in many fields, including philosophy, sociology, engineering, and industrial design. Robert P. Cease

Peter-Paul Verbeek is a teacher and researcher in the philosophy of technology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. His book was originally published in Dutch under the title De daadkracht der dingen: Over techniek, filosofie en vormgeving (2000).

Robert P. Crease is Associate Professor of Philosophy at SUNY–Stony Brook

To the book

Media Art, people, Uncategorized


May 8, 2009

In Traces, Simon Penny has advocated the design of “ethical” ubiquitous systems modeled on a understanding of the human that is relational, taking embodied experience as a starting point . Years before it was being used by the game industry, Penny’s project ’99 project Traces, for instance, brought built a virtual reality experience around the body via camera-based motion tracking and an immersive CAVE interface. Far from being an artifact of meatspace, the body is the content of Traces. If we take this approach to the cognitive level, as designers we can think in terms of designing interfaces which situate our selves as political actors in relation to our perception. Whether this is identified with Ubiquitous Media is of little relevance, but in terms of the “avant garde of the control society” it seems important that artists map this terrain.

Ambient Intelligence, Books, HCI, people, Persuasive Technologies, Smart Objects, Theory

Love and Sex with Robots

February 18, 2009

Love, marriage, and sex with robots? Not in a million years? “Maybe a whole lot sooner!” A leading expert in artificial intelligence, David Levy argues that the entities we once deemed cold and mechanical will soon become the objects of real companionship and human desire. He shows how automata have evolved and how human interactions with technology have changed over the years. Levy explores many aspects of human relationships–the reasons we fall in love, why we form emotional attachments to animals and virtual pets, and why these same attachments could extend to love for robots. Levy also examines how society’s ideas about what constitutes normal sex have changed–and will continue to change–as sexual technology becomes increasingly sophisticated. Shocking, eye-opening, provocative, and utterly convincing, “Love and Sex with Robots” is compelling reading for anyone with an open mind.


Ambient Intelligence, Books, Internet of Things, people, Persuasive Technologies, Theory

Book on Ambient Intelligence

February 10, 2009

The Evolution of Technology, Communication and Cognition Towards the Future of Human-Computer Interaction

Volume 6 Emerging Communication: Studies on New Technologies and Practices in Communication

Edited by: G. Riva, F. Vatalaro, F. Davide and M. Alcañiz


The metaphor of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) tries to picture a vision of the future where all of us will be surrounded by ‘intelligent’ electronic environments, and this ambient has claims to being sensitive and responsive to our needs. Ambient Intelligence without invasion of privacy represents a long-term vision for the EU Information Society Technologies Research programme. A strong multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach is a key requirement for large scale technology innovation and the development of effective applications. Up to now, most of the books and papers related to AmI focus their analysis on the technology potential only. An important feature of this volume is the link between the technology – through the concepts of ubiquitous computing and intelligent interface – and the human experience of interacting in the world – through a neuro-psychological vision centered on the concept of ‘presence’. Presence, the sense of being there, is the experience of projecting one’s mind through media to other places, people and designed environments. The combination of recent discoveries in cognitive neuroscience – that make it possible to acquire a better understanding of the human aspects of presence, and the breakthroughs at the level of the enabling technologies make it increasingly possible to build novel systems based on this understanding. The goal of this volume is to assess the technologies and processes that are behind the AmI vision to help the development of state-of-the-art applications. More in detail, this volume aims at supporting researchers and scientists, interested in the understanding and exploiting the potential of AmI.

Book at IOS Press.

Ambient Intelligence, HCI, people, Persuasive Technologies, Smart Objects, Theory, Videos

Mechanical Love

January 25, 2009

Can a human love a robot? Can a robot love a human? Mechanical Love is a documentary on the interrelationship between robots and humans.

The film portrays people who in different ways enjoy a close relationship with a robot. We meet an old German woman who desperately seeks to keep her memories alive through talking with a baby seal robot called Paro. We also meet Professor Ishiguro who is developing androids, and who, in his current work on his own geminoid, wonders what it takes to be human.

The film takes us from the high temple of robot technology, Tokyo, Japan, to Braunschweig in Germany, to Italy and back to Copenhagen in Denmark. By this world tour director Phie Ambo seeks to highlight the human need for love and our craving to be loved by others – perhaps the two most important aspects of life. Through the main characters, she also examines the cultural differences in how we accept emotional robots in the East and the West.

The robot is no longer just a mechanical gadget that sits inside your coffee machine or performs monotonous, mechanical work, but made to provide meaningful presence. Welcome to the brave new world.