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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.

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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 Good Night Lamp October 10, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays, remote communication.
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As we move towards a society of single households, our notion of community will change. Keeping in touch with people will gradually become more than being “always on, sometimes off”. We will learn to share parts of our lives with our families, friends and lovers in more subtle ways with the help of an ever sensitive, invisible and intelligent technology.

The Good Night Lamp project is a family of lamps which allow people to communicate the act of coming back home to their loved ones, remotely. As you turn the bigger light on, your presence home is indicated to your friends whose smaller lamps turn on as well. Inversely, the smaller lamps that you’ve collected from your friends will turn on/off as they come home, go out, go to bed. You’ll never come back to an empty home again.

Chatter Pillow October 10, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays, gadgets, innovative displays, remote communication.
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chatter-pillow.jpg Some of the most popular items these days are internet-connected objects that contain glanceable information, such as the status of your inbox, the weather, or stock prices.

The “Chatter Pillow” designed by Rebecca Stern, an undergrad at the Parsons School of Design in New York, is a midterm project for her “Making Wireless Toys” class.

The pillow basically allows Stern to stay on IM from her bed or her couch, without the burden of a laptop — one of the pillow’s trio of icons will light up when one of three possible messages are received, so long as they’re sent only from her boyfriend. If he sends “talk to me,” “xo,” or “on my way,” then the icons (pictured) will glow blue accordingly.

The Hug Shirt October 10, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in innovative interfaces, remote communication, wearables.
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The Hug Shirt created by CuteCircuit is a shirt that allows people to send and receive the physical sensation of a hug over long distances. Embedded in the shirt are sensors that feel the hug’s strength, the skin’s warmth, and the heartbeat rate of the sender. Actuators re-create those sensations in the shirt of the distant loved one.

How does it work?The Hug Shirt is a Bluetooth accessory for Java enabled mobile phones. Hug shirts don’t have any assigned phone number, all the data goes from the sensors Bluetooth to your mobile phone and your mobile phone delivers the hug data to your friend’s phone and it is seamlessly transmitted Bluetooth to his or her shirt!
Sending hugs is as easy as sending an SMS and you will be able to send hugs while you are on the move, in the same way and to the same places you are able to make phone calls (Rome to Tokyo, New York to Paris).

The system is very simple: a Hug Shirt (Bluetooth with sensors and actuators), a Bluetooth java enabled mobile phone with the Hug Me java software running (it understands what the sensors are communicating), and on the other side another phone and another shirt. If you do not have a Hug Shirt but know that your friend has one you can still send them a hug creating it with the HugMe software and it will be delivered to your friend’s Hug Shirt!

When touching the red areas of the Hug Shirt your mobile phone receives the sensors data via Bluetooth (hug pressure, skin temperature, heartbeat rate, time you are hugging for, etc) and then delivers it to the other person.

The hugs shirt is Bluetooth and works with mobile phones on any bandwidth (900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and so on). Runs on rechargeable batteries.

Why the Hug Shirt?

Interfaces and systems must be intuitive, natural, and compatible with our emotional status. Combining emotion and technology should be part of every design process. An increasing mobility of humans throughout the globe, has brought loved ones to spend most of their time apart from each other. Humans need physical contact with each other. Technology should allow for a pleasant Human-Human Interaction.

Hyperlinking Reality via Phones April 3, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in remote communication, visualization.
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nokialg1.gifA Nokia research project could one day make it easier to navigate the real world by superimposing virtual information on an image of your surroundings. The new software, called Mobile Augmented Reality Applications (MARA), is designed to identify objects viewed on the screen of a camera phone.

The Nokia research team has demonstrated a prototype phone equipped with MARA software and the appropriate hardware: a global positioning system (GPS), an accelerometer, and a compass.

The souped-up phone is able to identify restaurants, hotels, and landmarks and provide Web links and basic information about these objects on the phone’s screen. In addition, says David Murphy, an engineer at Nokia Research Center, in Helsinki, Finland, who works on the project, the system can also be used to find nearby friends who have phones with GPS and the appropriate software.

Read full article at: http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/17807/page1/

Infolight March 10, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays, gadgets, innovative interfaces, physical interaction design, remote communication.
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bt_infolight1.jpgA physical ambient visualization that notifies users of news & information pulled from a personalized online portal using ambient light sequences & sound alerts. The device is equipped with a matrix of 45 LED multicolor pixels, text-to-speech software, movement sensors & WiFi connectivity.
From BT Group

Networked ambient objects March 10, 2007

Posted by Melissa Quintanilha in ambient displays, innovative interfaces, physical interaction design, remote communication.
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NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program have been exploring networked ambient visualization devices that allow users to transmit their current mood state to remote friends. Some examples include highlighted emoticons or robotic flowers.