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Gates Looks Into PC’s Future as Career Shift Approaches June 26, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in innovative displays, innovative interfaces, physical interaction design.
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Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will soon retire from his full-time duties, but he will continue to work on the natural user interfaces that he believes will advance computing beyond the keyboard and mouse. Devices such as Tablet PCs with handwriting recognition and Surface tabletop computers that recognize objects and human touch are the machines of the future, Gates says. No one expects natural user interface technologies to completely replace the keyboard, as there is no better interface for inputting text, not even voice recognition. Microsoft’s Chris Pratley says people talk at about 20 to 30 words a minute while many people can type twice as fast as that. Furthermore, voice will always have some small error rate, probably more than typing, Pratley says. Still, Gates estimates that the keyboard and mouse account for about 95 percent of the interaction between people and computers, and he believes that percentage will drop significantly. While Microsoft has invested heavily in alternative interfaces, so far Apple and its iPhone have made the most progress in converting multitouch technology into mainstream products, says Gartner analyst David Smith. In addition to touch technology, Gates is still a strong supporter of Tablet PCs, which have not seen the sales Gates once predicted. However, improved Tablet PCs are increasingly being adopted in insurance and medicine, and Gates says there is still a significant opportunity for the technology in education.

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Zygote: the interactive party ball June 21, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in physical interaction design.
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Zygote, interactive party ball

Created by designer Alex Beim of the interactive collective Tangible, the Zygote consists of a cube of touch-sensitive, colored LEDs, surrounded by a helium filled globe; when the ball is hit, squeezed, or tapped it emits a variety of colors.

Zygote Interactive Ball at BIP (Building Interactive Playgrounds), Italy

whiSpiral June 20, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in e-fashion.
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A spiral-shaped shawl that carries whispers of your loved ones.

The whiSpiral is a new kind of keepsake that allows the simple intimacy of a whisper to be carried in a garment that you can wrap around you, take everywhere, and keep for all time.

The whiSpiral is a spiral-shaped shawl that consists of 9 miniature audio recording modules integrated directly in the textile, each capable of storing a 10 second message. It could, for example, be given as a going-away present when someone leaves a job or moves to a new place.

More info:

Connected furniture June 19, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in remote communication.
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Another project in the series of connecting two distant people.

Phone calls, or a SMS are technologies that connect people but in some way “interrupt” what the other one is currently doing. The Habitat project lets you keep in touch with the flow of your loved one’s daily life. The author of the concept, Dipak Patel, was a researcher at Media Lab Europe in Dublin (Media Lab Europe has been closed since January 2005).

The demo of his project is made of two networked tables, equipped with radio tag readers, projectors and computers. These tables could be half a world apart. When an object — a plate or book, for example — is placed on one table, an image of that object appears on the second. When the object is removed its image turns grey, then gradually fades away.

Just by glancing at your own table, you can get an idea of the ways in which your remote partner has been using theirs.

Unique RFID tags are embedded in objects typically placed on kitchen tables at each site, such as cups, plates, books, and so on. Placing these items on the table causes messages to be sent to the remote table, which displays a graphical representation of the objects. The system operates in both directions, conveying impressions of presence and activity around the tables at each site.

Read also in Wired magazine.

Kiss Communicator June 19, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in remote communication.
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The Kiss Communicator is a a concept prototype that allows you to blow a kiss to your beloved when s/he’s at another part of the world.

To let a partner know that you are thinking of him/her, you squeeze the communicator gently. It responds with a slight glow to invite you to blow into it and create your “message” in the form of an animated light sequence as the device responds to your breath. The “message” shows while you blow and if you are happy with it, you simply relax your grip and it is sent to the corresponding Communicator.

Sensors in the handheld device pick up your kiss, translate the impulse into a series of randomly lit LEDs, which are then transmitted as a slow glow to your partner’s device. On the other end, the Kiss Communicator indicates that there is a message but waits until its owner squeezes it to play back the light sequence.

This concept is similar to one that I embedded in my thesis project BuddyWall, where a rubbing gesture was translated into light to let a remote loved one know that you were thinking of him/her. I really enjoy exploring how can we have a sense of remote presence and non-verbally communicate emotion.

The Telectroscope June 6, 2008

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in Uncategorized.
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Over a century ago, an eccentric engineer from England began construction of the Telectroscope, a giant double-ended telescope designed to connect the cities of London and New York via a large tunnel running under the Atlantic Ocean. The dream unfortunately ended in tragedy but it was rediscovered by the engineer’s great-grandson and finally completed a few weeks ago, connecting the two metropolises.

The Telectroscope is actually a massive piece of interactive art by the artist Paul St. George. It provides a broadband connection between observers in London and observers in New York, allowing them to interact with one another in real time.

The Telectroscope in London
The Telectroscope in London

The Telectroscope in New York
The Telectroscope in New York

The piece will be in exbition in London and New York from 22 May till 15 June 2008.
More info here: www.telectroscope.net