Ash at CIID

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

Posts Tagged ‘the disappearing computer initiative

Screen-based solutions for eldercare – ‘PhotoCaring’ concept

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In my previous post ‘Screen-based solutions for eldercare – process and concepts’ I discussed the brief, process and concepts for the project that my team worked on in GUI class. Here are snapshots that present the rationale for the final concept we created and presented as a conclusion to the investigation. It is based on the field observations, interviews and user testing of the primary persona based on elderly resident Annie.

One of the main sources of inspiration was the many picture frames in the hallways of the elderly home, with photographic content supplied by the events from the daily lives of the residents, both from their time spent in the home as well as from before their admittance to the home.


Picture frames in the elderly home hallway with photographic content provided by events in the daily lives of residents.

Annie was enthusiastic about showing us her pictures and postcards, but she had to look at the descriptions behind them to tell us exactly who they came from or when (the occasion) they were sent. The investigation also revealed that  she would value having such information on a need-to-know basis, a device or system that helped her share such information (and compare it with similar information) with that of other residents.


Annie needed to look up descriptions behind her postcards and pictures to tell us more about their senders or content.


Annie was comfortable discussing interactions via simple buttons and menu options on picture frames in the hallways of the elderly home.

The final concept is designed to promote social interaction between residents of the elderly home. It consists of individual picture frames that are networked with each other via interactive digital wallpaper.

Interactive picture wall facilitates social interaction between residents.

Interactive picture wall facilitates social interaction between residents.

The interface elements on each individual frame provides feedback by proximity, using RFID tags. It allows the user to view similar pictures of other residents by theme and alerts users to the presence of other users who are also near the wall, thus providing cues to spark meaningful and contextual conversations between residents (snapshot of  frame interface prototype below).

Interactive picture frame

Interactive picture frame


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?