Friday, 3 April 2009

Visit to Newcastle University, digital jewelry

I went to see Chris Kray at Culture Lab at Newcastle University. Over the next months we will be working on a joined project on a new approach to creating and building interactive appliances. I am looking forward to spending some more time in Newcastle.

Chris showed me around their lab and I was truly impressed. Besides many interesting prototypes in various domains I have not seen this number of different ideas and implementations of table top systems and user interface in another place. For picture of me in the lab trying out a special vehicle see Chris' blog.

Jayne Wallace showed me some of her digital jewelry. A few years back she wrote a very intersting article with the title "all the useless beauty" [1] that provides an interesting perspective on design and suggests beauty as a material in digital design. The approach she takes it to design deliberately for a single individual. The design fits their personality and their context. She created a communication device to connect two people in a very simple and yet powerful way [2]. A further example is a piece of jewelry that makes the environment change to provide some personal information - technically it is similar to the work we have started with encoding interest in the Bluetooth friendly names of phones [3] but her artefacts are much more pretty and emotionally exciting.

[1] Wallace, J. and Press, M. (2004) All this useless beauty The Design Journal Volume 7 Issue 2 (PDF)

[2] Jayne Wallace. Journeys. Intergeneration Project.

[3] Kern, D., Harding, M., Storz, O., Davis, N., and Schmidt, A. 2008. Shaping how advertisers see me: user views on implicit and explicit profile capture. In CHI '08 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 - 10, 2008). CHI '08. ACM, New York, NY, 3363-3368. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1358628.1358858

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