Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Hiya-Atsu" media: Augmenting digital media with temperature

In this video from NTT in Japan, they have a heat-display on a mouse. A surface changes from hot to cold depending on the voltage applied, and the sign on the voltage.

Imagine putting this on a phone.

More immersive movies. Heat at explosions, etc.
Feel a spot on the device in your pocket. If it gets cold when you press it, the sound is off.
Send vacation messages and convey how hot/cold it is.
Weather widgets can be more intuitive if they display heat/cold.

Wikipedia describes the Peltier effect.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Topology-Aware Navigation in Large Networks

I think this is a promising idea for displaying geographic connections. In the video, the example is international flights. But you could visualize subway stations or data traffic the same way.

Morphing Gesture Feedback

This idea, by Shumin Zhai, and Caroline Appert, solves two important feedback problems with gestures. When you've made a gesture, you can see what gesture the computer thinks you did, and how it's ideally drawn.

In the example, a delete gesture is drawn.

Great idea.

Their paper contains a lot more on gestures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Augmented reality is starting to get such an old dry idea now that it's ready to explode. The combination of compass and GPS is finally going to make it possible. The first phone that had this combination was the G1. So they get the cred for a lot of the innovation happening in this space. The new iPhone is also going to have a compass, and others will follow.

This shows the power of adding more sensors to a phone and hoping for the best. If you have an open platform you can get really lucky. Good work Google.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Discovering the Chiaroscuro of Mobile

by Rachel Hinman

Hampus Jakobsson presented a fantastic talk at this year’s MEX conference about the “wild west” gold rush mentality surrounding mobile app stores. Hampus warned most players in the mobile space are merely mimicking Apple’s model, leaving many user experience challenges that hinder the app store experience unaddressed. This talk inspired a host of great discussions about many of the fundamental user experience issues that plague app stores and ways to improve the process through design.

However, Hampus’ talk brought focus to a question that’s been lingering on my mind for a while now. As the once innovative app store strategy quickly becomes “hygiene” for many in mobile, I can’t help but wonder if all this fast follower behavior is an incremental step to something much bigger.

What if the real problem with app stores doesn’t stem from Apple’s ridiculous application approval process, scalability problems, or mediocre social recommendation functionality? What if the real problem with app stores is what they are selling?

What if the real problem is the notion of applications on mobile phones?

Applications as a means for both expressing and manipulating information in a mobile context is an interaction model we’ve borrowed wholesale from the PC. While application stores have solved many issues – ease in application development, downloading applications to a device, payment – it’s easy to forget the application model was originally developed for a fundamentally different context. A static context....

Read the full post here >>

Friday, June 12, 2009

Google Wave

This is amazing!

The basic metaphor is a bulletin board. It replaces e-mail. I think it kind of looks like a cross between Skype(without voice and video) and Google Docs.

It runs in a browser, and it's open source.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Project Natal

The rule of gestures is that you can't do them in mid-air. It's too hard. Seems like the guys at Microsoft just made up a new set of rules. We will all have to go back to school.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Malmö University K3: Bubble UI

As part of their mobile applications course, Ivar Boson, David Christensen, Tomas Lundqvist, and Axel Jacobson prototyped this branching UI concept.

They envision this as a user customized homescreen/launcher. It explores new methods of exploring applications and media. Though there are some issues with the concept (e.g. attaching a novel free form, branching menu structure to a rigid cube), it is impressive to see design students questioning existing UI paradigms - and creating hands-on prototypes!

Along with the rest of their class, they were over to TAT today to present their concepts and show a wide range of applications. Thanks to K3 and all the students.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Juggle UI

Today, several smartphones support copy, paste and multitasking. However, these features are often difficult to use or unattractively designed. TAT believes that multitasking can be a more natural and useful part of the user experience.

Juggle UI, a new demo by TAT, allows users to conveniently get an overview of all open applications. By using touch surfaces outside the screen, switching between different applications and transferring content between them becomes easy.

Juggle UI is seamless and open applications hover in the extended space just below the idle screen. The user can access the open applications at any time by swiping a finger over the touch surface to the right.

When using an application in full screen mode, content such as images and text can be copied and stored on a clipboard under the left side of the screen. Content from the clipboard can be accessed at any time by swiping a finger over the touch surface to the left.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brown University's Lineogrammer

There are so many interesting pen-related ideas in the above video, I'm just baffled. The alignment tool near the end seems very nice.

They kind of gloss over their very interesting GestureBar. A common criticism to gesture interfaces is that gestures are hard to discover and remember. I think GestureBar improves the approachability of their gesture-based interface in an elegant way.

More about GestureBar below.