Visual representation of tangible interaction

A nice approach to communicate multimodal streams originating from devices.
Tufte would be pround.

The representation of sound and vibration uses waveforms, showing amplitude over time. Although this is quite limited, it seems to be a useful shorthand for communicating a small range of tangible feedback.

via Visual representation of tangible interaction.

Design methodologies in RFID

I will definitely look into this paper on designing location-aware everyday objects by Martinussen and Arnall

that just fall onto my desk from pasta and vinegar. I always wondered what can be seriously made with a thing that small and simple in it’s capabilities such as is RFID. Especially the design methodologies as p&v points out are quite interesting.

Designing with RFID by Einar Sneve Martinussen and Timo Arnall is an highly interesting read if you’re into alternative visions to the internet of things. Based on what the authors call “a practice-driven design approach“, through sketching, making and form-explorations, they explore the possibilities for richer design of RFID products in everyday contexts.

However, I was even more interested by the design methodologies proposed in the paper. The way the articulate different techniques, such as sketching, modeling, form exploration or evaluation, is original and curious. What is relevant to me is the clear definition of a purpose (”to gain a rich working knowledge of the kinds of design qualities that RFID objects may embody“) and the way they proposed different investigation phases: [...]

[From Original design thinking approach to RFID research via Pasta & Vinegar]

Abstract of the paper

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless technology that is emerging in consumer products as a method for input and interaction. Although RFID is relatively well known from a technical perspective, the methods for designing with RFID are less well understood, particularly the tangible and physical aspects of RFID form. Using a practice-driven design approach we explore the possibilities for richer design of RFID products in everyday contexts. Through sketching, making and formexplorations we build a visual and physical design vocabulary for RFID forms. This includes properties such as direction, balance, ergonomics and geometry that are communicated through designfocused language and visualisations.


	Address = {New York, NY, USA},
	Author = {Martinussen, Einar Sneve and Arnall, Timo},
	Booktitle = {TEI '09: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction},
	Pages = {343--350},
	Publisher = {ACM},
	Title = {Designing with RFID},
	Year = {2009}

Data Transfer through Sound

2009-SoundCommunication.jpgToday, I stumbled across this article that investigates into using sound as a transfer medium for digital information.

Though this is actually a very old and commonly used method for transferring files back in the 90s (we did this via tty telephone modems), it is kind-of pleasing to see this idea popping up again, and triggered some thoughts about it’s usefulness in cooperative livecoding situations.  

Yes, it would be really fun not have to setup wireless LAN that invisibly and–for the audience–almost magically transfer information from one laptop to another, and, instead, having some sort of musical/non-aweful sound that transmit additional information from one laptop to another.

I wonder if anyone ever thought of this in the SuperCollider / LiveCoding community, but I think it’s worth!

Soldering a Mutitouch Surface

[Together with René]

Pervasive 2008, Day 1 + 2

I currently attend the Pervasive 2008 in Sydney. After 22 hours flight I finally arrived yesterday at 5:30am EST; a horrible time to be awake, at least when responsible for stuff (luggage, laptop, etc.) and to organize where to go, and how to do that…

Finally, I managed all that (including a horrible couple of minutes where I thought I’ve lost my credit card), and had a nice day at Sydney, basically sightseeing and walking through the town.

Yesterday was workshop day, and I attended in the morning the first part of Pervasive@Home, where three people presented their findings on how to add digital intelligent functionality into our everyday environment. Interestingly, there are a couple of labs around the world which set up so-called smart homes where people more or less live in. The Tampere University, Finland (TuT) for example had a 50m^2 sized apartment where a couple (scientists) used to live for three years. Lasse Kaila, a PhD Student at TuT told us about their findings in this context. I was surprised when he told us that this particular couple formed new routines evolving out of the systems rules (They had an automatic light control which they decided to slowly turned out the lights at 11pm each day, and, while watching TV, the lights slowly dimmed in the evening they knew that it was time to go to bed).

In the afternoon I attended the Pervasive Expression workshop where mostly designer and artists presented their findings and experiences in using pervasive sensing and acting techniques for their work. It turned out to be a pretty much challanging workshop with lots of stuff to get inspired and a nice little group (approx. 15 attendencies) of friendly people. In the evening, we went to a belgium restaurant drinking belgium beer. Strange experience to fly 22 hours to drink beer you can get by travelling two hours by train from Bielefeld…

Today, the conference started at 9am with some words by the conference chairs. They basically where proud of their low acceptance rate (18 full papers out of 130 submissions). Unfortunately the steering committee decided to not include the dinner into the registration. I am really disappointed about this decision, not only because it is while cruising the harbour, but also because this would be the opportunity to speak to people and get socially integrated into the community. Poor me. (cruising would cost me 150 AU$, which are 92 EUR).

Instead, I will have one or two beers with friendly people I met here… lucky me!

update: The steering Committee now is in the position to get us all aboard of the cruising ship. Thank you guys, who paid my bill! I gonna enjoy it!

[ Pervasive 2008 | Conference Proceedings ]

Aspects of my Work

Till Bovermann: Aspects of my Work

With this chart I try to show relations between mostly tangible computing applications I designed and developed together with colleagues during the last 4 years.
Wow. Sometimes making a rough chart of what you’re doing in your daytime job takes a lot of time. I really like this organic kind-of structure. This chart, by the way, is intended to be interactive: first, it is possible to click on the applications, which hides all other apps, and secondly, the used application (OmniOutliner) allows to easily reconfigure the nodes’ and edges’ positions. There is, however, no straight way to convert these features into something web-friendly. If you are curious, please feel free to contact me.

Tangible Radio Tuner Rocky Radio

Natural Radio2-1A bit counterintuitive is this design study of a radio. FM-frequency and volume are controlled by placing stones and pebbles on the radio box. The weight in the volume or tuning area determines the volume, respectively the tuning.Honestly, for me this looks a bit like many pseudo-intuitive works, which all try to get more out of a given concept by applying <em>intuitiveness</em>. Unfortunately they all fail when it comes to real usability, though I don’t know if this particular example tries to be usable at all (as a radio rather then a sculpture). I think usability itself does not end at the hardware design, but should include the software interface (here, the way volume and tuning are determined based on the pebbles). It is not sufficient to replace standard controllers by new ones, in case of the Rocky Radio, also the underlying controlling mechanism has to be changed. For example by linking predefined frequencies to given stones or combination of stones. For me, what counts is not the fact of using a new hardware interface, but rather a new concept, namely the linkage of stones, i.e. graspable, tangible real world artifacts to digital information.The above-described problem of hardware designs also applies the other way round; having a favorites system attached to a standard, button-equipped HCI interface fails in adding really new and better HCI techniques. The absence of an analog slider that shows the current frequency, adjustable by a knob prevents users to manually adjust the tuning to a frequency. Their radio experience is fixed to the tuner’s capability to find appropriate tunings.So, I suggest to think of both, the hardware and the software control structure when designing new interfaces for existing technology. 
[via Rocky Radio—Yanko Design]


A catch-all term for all those aspects of a sound not included in pitch and duration. Of no value to the sound composer!

[Trevor Wishart: Audible design – A Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Sound Composition, Glossary]

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