Author Archives: kterraciano

Skeuomorphs

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2012/01/st_thompson_analog/

Those of us in the Intro to HCI class were recommended to read this article from Wired a few weeks ago. It talks about the use of “old-fashioned design” in our new technology and the importance of both staying connected to the world we are already really familiar with and thinking in new ways with our new tools. There are a few examples in the article, but we come across so many day-to-day. It’s hard not to think of skeuomorphs whenever I see Instagram photos (quite often) where the quality of the photo is purposefully degraded to look like it was taken with a Polaroid camera.  I think there’s something to be said for using this type of design in promoting interactions that are familiar and already make sense to us, but I think it’s important to emphasize for us HCI students that we can really think outside the box and come up with new interactions that take advantage of the incredible technology we are using.

Cinemin Slice Pico Projector

http://mashable.com/2012/04/27/cinemin-slice/

It’s a little pricey for college students but I think it’s a good idea and could see it being a good direction for displays to be moving. We have so many portable devices that we use for watching media, but it’s so hard to share it with someone. If you had a small projector to plug into all you would need is a wall in order to share the experience. I could see portable displays like this becoming more popular, especially as the price comes down and the quality becomes better.

Home Technology for Women?

I saw this article today talking about technology that could be implemented in the home:

http://www.techvibes.com/blog/more-women-seeking-out-home-technology-solutions-now-than-ever-before-2012-04-27

It talks about lighting, security, media, appliance monitoring, and other solutions for the home. All of this sounds good, but they frame it in a way that makes it sound like this is mainly made for women. I’d be interested to know how they know that these ideas are influenced by what women want, and if this is true, how to design to better meet their needs. I think of technology being sort of a male-dominated field, so it would be interested to see if there is a design shift if it turns out that women really are becoming the “key influencers.”

AT&T Research Lab’s Innovations Showcase

Link to article: http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/20/att-research-lab-connected-car/

Recently  AT&T was showing prototypes of what can be done with their APIs . This video and article highlights a few of the cool prototypes that were on show. I thought the first two were really cool. The first one was basically an RFID reader in the car that checks to see if you’re forgetting anything when you get into the car.  Everyone has experienced being on your way to work or some event and realizing that you left your wallet or laptop or something at home. This technology isn’t really brand new, but it’s a great application that could definitely  be useful.

The other prototype I liked was a phone that emitted a certain type of  vibration that would be conducted through your bones so that when you touch a doorknob your door would know whether you are the owner (and would unlock for you) or whether you are a friend or stranger. I don’t see this kind of technology being used right away, but I have seen research at GT where sound is being conducted through bone, which I thought was really interesting.  It would be really interesting to see an application of this vibration technology outside of sound.

Nervous Structure (field)

This isn’t so much a useful thing as it is a cool, artistic installation. I think it would be cool to have something like this in the home, on a wall, so that you feel like you are interacting with your home (or that it is interacting with you) as you walk around and go about your daily life. It kind of adds “life” to the home. It’s different from the Tableau Machine in that you would very clearly see how you are manipulating what is being displayed.

Siri Home Automation

Here is another way to control your home though a smartphone. This company, Carnes Audio, is using automation technology from Creston to control electronics around the home (like the thermostat, lights, tv, and speakers) just by using Siri. Not only do you not have to get up to adjust the temperature, but you don’t even need to press any buttons or anything now.

I know “smart home” is kind of a blanket term, but I think some kind of universal control (especially something like a smartphone that you’ll always have nearby) for electronics  is essential. I’m surprised something like this is not more common by now, but I guess that would mean that companies would have to coordinate and come up with standards and protocols…

Smart Kitchen and Cabinets

Apparently last year at CES a company demonstrated some technology that was similar to what I and a couple of other people were thinking for CIC projects. Through the packaging in some food and other products, sensors in the cabinets can track the nutritional information, expiration date, amount left, and other pieces of information, all without having to log anything. This is all displayed on a nice touchscreen interface.

They also have some cool technology where you can cook things and use appliances on the counter without having to plug anything in. This could free up your whole kitchen so you don’t have to limited to certain areas of your countertop. I’d be interested to see where this technology goes.