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Archive for the ‘Interaction Design’ Category

Why not goeco?

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The creative team behind goeco have been running a contest where competitors have the chance to win 1000 SEK, which is about 137 USD or 105 EUR. The rules are quite simple, all you have to do is become a fan of their Facebook page and come up with an innovative, efficient and simple tip to consume less energy in your home which you then post on their page. After the contest ends on the 12 of August, the team will go through each contribution and decide on a winning tip.

For those that aren’t familiar with goeco, it’s a mobile phone application that tracks you transportation behaviour and gives you feedback as well as gives you tip on how to change your behaviour to be more environmentally friendly. The application doesn’t stop there, it goes on to give you a measurement of how many calories you’ve burned and how much money you’ve spent on transportation. With this data the application can not only lighten your carbon footstep but also save you money and help you keep fit.

But if you feel that you still need to travel by car everywhere then at least make sure it’s eco-friendly. And with that I leave you with this video and say goodbye.

//Saligia

The Future of Televisions?

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

3D as a medium has been around for quite a while. I remember that there were these dinosaur magazines that i used to collect as a child that sometimes came with those cheap red and blue 3D glasses in order to see the cool 3D dinosaur pictures, but even then the technology was quite old. 3D cinemas have been around since the 50s and the concept of 3D televisions are quite old as well. But for some reason, ever since Avatar, everyone (electronics companies mostly) are trying to sell us on the idea of 3D televisions, just a mere years after they convinced us that HD televisions were a good idea. On top of that, they charge ridiculously high prices for the pair of 3D glasses that every person watching that the TV needs.

I feel that this trend has arrived a couple of years too early for the general public. Sure, the early adopters will eat it up, but they also buy phones that are incapable of having a signal long enough to make a phone call. I will be keeping my television for some time. For me, 3D isn’t all that much of a thing, and I saw Avatar in 3D and 2D. 😛

But today I saw something that intrigued me and opened up possibilities for more uses of the 3D glasses than just simulating depth perception. Today I read an article about some of Sony newly filed patents, US20100177172 and US20100177174, and after reading the patents I got more optimistic about the development of televisions.

The patent describes a system in which one can use one display to successfully show several feeds at the same time to different individuals using the provided “shutter glasses”. The system sends out the video feed in sequences that are matched with the shutter glasses in a way that one individual sees one feed while the other sees the other feed. The patents illustrate this far better than I can describe it, so I urge you to at least have a quick look at them.

With this system split-screen multiplayer modes on games are a thing of the past, since every player gets a full-screen experience.But the system still has one problem, the fact that spectators will need to have their own pair of glasses in order to probably not get a headache from watching the screen. But since the glasses fill more function than just being able to see the screen in 3D then maybe people might feel that it’s worth it. The system also gives the user the option to see in 3D or in regular 2D so that someone may be playing a 3D game while the others are watching TV.

My guess would be that there will be a limit to how many feeds can be shown at the same time. That number would then be halved if they are all 3D feeds, since the 3D feeds take up two “slots” in the sequence, one for the right eye and one for the left.

I saw another article a while back that was about another 3D television system, by Microsoft, that was completely free of glasses. The idea was based around a special screen and a camera. The camera detected how many people were in front of the television and where they were aligned. The screen then steers light to the viewer’s eyes by switching light-emitting diodes along its bottom edge on and off. The system can then send two different images to the viewer’s left and right eye, creating a autostereoscopic 3D effect. This system could, just as the Sony patent, send different video feeds to different viewers, but the problem then would be how to transfer the sound to each person. At this moment the prototype is able to send 3D feeds to one or two individuals or send 2D feeds to up to four individuals, but who knows what that can be expanded to.

It’s fun to see the new technology that is being developed, especially the above mentioned technologies. The idea of 3D televisions and holograms have been around forever in our culture, most common in sci-fi, but these new systems seem to break off from the mold and come up from seemingly nowhere. Who could have pictured that by looking at the same screen, different people could see different things. One may wonder what will come after these steps.

Well that’s it for now, I’ve already written more than I should. Bye! //Saligia

TAT Home

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

On Valentines day the Swedish developer The Astonishing Tribe (or TAT) released their new concept video for an Android user interface, called TAT Home, which relied heavily on 3D graphics. TAT is most known for creating the original Android user interface.

While there were a lot of good ideas, there were also bad ideas. Lets start by reviewing the good ideas.

The first thing they show is the Widget Fan, as they call it, it’s basically an easy way to overview and choose your home screens. The thing I like about it, is that one can easily use it using the same hand that’s holding the phone making it easier to handle.
The thing that I liked the most was possibly the Alarm. It uses a new way of setting the time for the alarm clock that I can see being really fast to use when one gets used to it. At first you might be more careful with how many times you spin(?) the alarm, but once you’ve used it for a while you probably don’t even think about it.

What I didn’t like was the Messages Widget, maybe I’ve grown accustomed to the easy way of organizing SMS and MMS with the conversion metaphor, but only being able to see three messages at the time doesn’t seem optimal to me. There’s way too much scrolling with their implementation.
The same critique goes for the Music Remote. If you have several artists and several albums on your phone then it quickly becomes a hassle to scroll between artists and album. It may be a fun and new way to show the music player but it lacks the usability that I need. It would have been fun to see how they would have tackled user-created playlists since I seldom listen to only one album at the time.

When it comes to the Contact Widget, the Weather Widget and TAT Cascades, I’m fairly neutral.
The Contact Widget isn’t something new, the Weather Widget is functions as well as other weather widgets and TAT Cascades can cause a minor problem with the depth perception of the widgets but nothing to worry about.

TAT usually have a lot of great concepts and material so it’s always fun to see something new from them. Maybe their next release might come from two of my seniors from my education that are doing their master thesis work with them., who knows?

//Saligia

Windows Phone 7 Series

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I may be a day late in reporting this but I’m blaming it on the Olympics and the fact that I celebrated a friend’s birthday yesterday.

Windows Mobile was never really an option for me, so when news of the new Windows Phone 7 Series came I got intrigued. Windows decided to kill the old look and feel of Windows Mobile and decided to start fresh with a new mobile OS that feels more like a social phone than their old dated miniature Windows OS.

The home screen feels a lot like a website filled with advertisements and banners, which could be bad but for some reason it feels good and the phone seems more “alive”.

They’ve done some great work integrating social media in your phone in a natural way that doesn’t disturb the user and the way to take advantage of all your media from these social sites and combine them in your phone. I like the fact that all your Flickr and Facebook albums are available on your phone by just going to your photo album tile on the phone. Everything seems really great but at the same time it’s a bit scary to have everything in your phone, at least I know that leaving your phone or computer with friends, while you leave the room for a while, is a big no-no 😛

Another feature that is really nice is the contextual search that Bing, their search engine, uses. By just typing something like pizza the engine automatically knows where you are and can list all the pizza restaurants in your vicinity. Your search is also categorized in 3 different ways from what I saw in their demo, local, web and news.

I’ll be waiting to see more on the new mobile OS before deciding on what my next phone might be, specifically I’m interested in how third-party applications are going to work with the new OS and how developer friendly it will be. But I have to say, that the new Windows Phone 7 Series looks without a doubt really promising, and it was about time that Microsoft got in the game.

You can watch the Windows Phone 7 prototype demo over at Channel 9 MSDN or just go to the official page.

//Saligia