Ash at CIID

Ashwin Rajan's blog while at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Emotional Considerations in UbiComp

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Mark Weiser’s seminal article has proved to be sweeping in title as well as consequence. It is widely argued today that “The Computer for the 21st Century” was the first of its kind to effectively capture the essence of the idea about what is today known variously as ..ahem – pervasive computing/ubiquitous computing/ambient intelligence/physical computing/the internet of things/things that think/haptic computing and so on and so forth. And why not? I love loaded words, especially those that also mean something!

But the point here is that this space gets more and more real all the time. Its serious enough now to prompt such long-term projects such as the, again, quite sweepingly titled “The Disappearing Computer” initiative, while figures such as Bill Gates have made efforts in the past to publicly address this emerging domain.

Needless to say, I am excited about this stuff, and before jumping headlong into the embedded, gesturally-triggered world, its probably also worth asking (as Gwen Floyd brought up in class the other day): what technologies should be allowed to disappear, become hidden? And what artifacts should stay external, be apparent, tactile? Which interactions provide those intrinsic emotional connections we love to have with the world of things around us? And what extrinsic behaviors exhibited by our products enrich our everyday experience in yet unnoticed and un-researched ways? How come some people want to pay all their bills with one flick of a wrist, only so they can go back to building that IKEA bookshelf one shelf at a time? 


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