TagInteraction design

Skinput turns your arm into a touchscreen


In Skinput, a keyboard, menu, or other graphics are beamed onto a user’s palm and forearm from a pico projector embedded in an armband. An acoustic detector in the armband then determines which part of the display is activated by the user’s touch. As the researchers explain, variations in bone density, size, and mass, as well as filtering effects from soft tissues and joints, mean different skin locations are acoustically distinct. Their software matches sound frequencies to specific skin locations, allowing the system to determine which “skin button” the user pressed.

Read More –PhysOrg: Skinput turns your arm into a touchscreen

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

Abe’s notes on the iPhone

I really wasn’t going to post anything else about the iPhone, at the very least until I use one myself. But Abe’s notes are very good, if you’re at all interested in seeing an critical look at the interface design of this product.

Interesting notes about the non-tactile buttons. One complaint I’ve heard is that you have to look at the keyboard while typing because there are no tactile clues about where the keys are or where your fingers are in relation to them. I could type really quick w/o looking on my old Sidekick. But the touchscreen keyboard would still be an improvement over typing on a numerical keypad.

Design of Everyday Things notes

Notes on the Design of Everyday Things

Principles of design for understandibility and usability

  • Provide a good conceptual model
  • Make things visible
  • The Principle of Mapping
  • The Principle of Feedback

The three requirements for a system to be explorable:

  1. In each state of the system, the user must readily see and be able to do the allowable actions.
  2. The results of the action must be both visible and easy to interpret.
  3. Actions should be without cost

Seven principles for transforming difficult tasks into simple ones:

  1. Use both knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head
  2. Simplify the structure of tasks
  3. Make things visible: bridge the gulf of Execution and Evaluation.
  4. Get the mappings right
  5. Exploit the power of contraints both natural and artificial
  6. Design for error
  7. When all else fails, standardize

Re: mapping. Make sure the user can determine the relationships:

  • between intentions and possible actions
  • between actions and the effects on the system
  • between actual system state and what is perceivable by sight, sound, or feel
  • between the perceived system state and the needs, intentions, and expectations of the user

Whenever the number of functions and required operations exceeds the number of controls, the design becomes arbitrary, unnatural and complicated.

People usually blame themselves for errors

When there is a problem, people are apt to focus on it to exclusion of other factors, thus performing dangerous actions like sticking a knife in the toaster to get a stuck piece of bread.

Adam on Design Engaged

Adam thinks the future of the ‘net may be in web services after all (I’m not sure I agree):

I also find it verrrrry interesting, and not at all coincidental, that at least two of the above-named applications (Konfabulator and Quicksilver) [Flickr is the other above named application] and possibly all three point towards an emergent theme of my Design Engaged, which is the disappearance of Web sites and standard applications in favor of little distributed chunks of functionality.

(Yeah, I know you’ve heard the “Web services” spiel before. You have reason to be skeptical. But this time it’s actually started to happen, and maybe you’ll find that makes the argument a little more convincing. Certainly when I look at an image from Flickr in an RSS feed, and immediately send it on to someone in an IM window, without ever engaging my Web browser, I get the sense that something epochal is yet again happening. And that, my friends, is fodder for the next discussion.)

Wireless Music’s New Social Sound

Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about:

As one participant naturally sways to the groove, the PDA’s motion sensor detects his motion and shifts the tempo of the song. With the song’s intensity building, another listener subconsciously grips her PDA tighter, introducing echo effects into the mix. The closer that listening partners move to each other, the more prominent their part in the song becomes. Meanwhile, the software applies various “error correction” techniques to prevent an onslaught of arrhythmic noise, unless of course that’s the goal. As they listen to it, the mobile music orchestra transforms the tune into a dubby, spacey version of the familiar Bjork song. […]

An artist, he says, might release a song from an upcoming album specially prepared for the Malleable Music System. Someday, malleable music may even become an art form in its own right, leading to a duet between the artist and the audience.

Connect the dots

Anyone thinking what I’m thinking?

Camera phone movie

$200 digital film


3D gaming on cell phones


DIY video projectors (or and commercial portable projectors)

Red | Blue

Wireless future

Open Source TV

Interactive video: Voodoo Office


Office Voodoo is an interactive film installation for two people.

It tells the story of Frank and Nancy, two bored Irish officemates, condemned to spend their lives in an office. This infinite film is an algorithmic sitcom inspired from Sartre’s play “Huis clos”, crossbred with an office life simulator.

Two physical voodoo dolls, that represent the protagonists, can be manipulated in order to change the emotions of the characters in the film. It is a social laboratory where the viewers can experiment on the influence of emotions as initial conditions in any social interaction. As viewers get skilled manipulating the dolls, they can control the emotions of Frank and Nancy, and see what happens when : Frank is cranky and Nancy is hyperactive ? Frank is horny and Nancy is depressed ?

Why didn’t I think of this?

(via Notes from Somewhere Bizarre)

Sky Ear

Shortly before dusk in Spring 2004 the Sky Ear structure will be released from its ground moorings and slowly float up into the sky sampling the electromagnetic spectrum as it rises, rather like a vertical radar sweep.

This non-rigid “cloud”, made up of several hundred glowing helium balloons will be embedded with mobile phones. The balloons will contain miniature sensor circuits (simple gaussmeters) that detect levels of electromagnetic radiation at a variety of frequencies. When activated, the sensor circuits will cause ultra-bright coloured LEDs to illuminate. The cloud will glow and flicker brightly as it passes through varying radio and microwave spaces.

Via Space and Culture

12 Myths of Mobile Device User-Interface Design

Conference on mobile user-interface design (via Boing Boing)

Myth: Users want power and aesthetics. Features are everything.
Myth: What we really need is a Swiss army knife.
Myth: 3G is here!
Myth: Focus groups and other traditional market analysis tools are the best way to determine user needs.
Myth: If it works in Silicon Valley, it will work anywhere.
Myth: The killer app will be games, er, no, I mean, horoscopes, or
Myth: Mobile devices will essentially be phones, organizers, or combinations, with maybe music/video added on.
Myth: The industry is converging on a UI standard.
Myth: Highly usable systems are just around the corner.
Myth: One underlying operating system will dominate.
Myth: Mobile devices will be free-or nearly free.
Myth: Advanced data-oriented services are just around the corner.

Tonite’s Dorkbot

Just got home from Dorkbot, and realized I never posted anything about last month’s Dorkbot. A couple very cool things I may write some more about… tonight featured Steve Safarik talking about his very cool Space Wars project, and Jeremy Winters of the Madness Machine talked about Max/MSP and showed some of the stuff he’s done with it.

A related Wired story by Erik Davis, for personal reference.

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