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Blog posts tagged as 'ubicomp'

Monday Links: UFOs, fractal lightshades, power cables, and discount coffee

UFO On Tape (iTunes link) is a game for iOS that simulates tracking a UFO with a video-camera. The magic is in the game’s total commitment to an aesthetic: the grainy, fuzzy simulated video; the panicked advice from a girl next to you; and, best of all, the way the iPhone embodies the video camera – it is, after all, also a camera itself – as you fling it around, oblivious to the real world, tracking an imaginary flying saucer. Good stuff.

Last week, Matt J gave a crit to final-year students in Wassim Jabi’s ‘Digital Tectonics Studio’ at the Welsh School of Architecture. He shared this footage of a model by Tom Draper, exploring the idea of a mechanical screen in front of a building that would cast shadows similar to a dragon curve fractal. In order to explore what this might work like – what it’d feel like to experience those shadows, how you might mechanically create those shadows out of rods – he had to build. Thinking through making. There are also some lovely photos of the model.


Line Block by Korean designers Junbeom So, Lee Ji Eun, Yi-Seo Hyeon, Heo-Hyeoksu and Jeong Minhui proposes an alternative to cable tangles: power cables that can be joined together through tongue-and-groove rubber. I also liked that, in the cross-section, the cable is a surprised little fella. (via Yanko Design)

These links are a bit late because last Friday I was at The Design Of Understanding – a day-long conference at the St Bride Library. It was a cracking event, with lots to chew over – I’ll see if I can get my notes up soon.

Friend-of-Berg Chris Heathcote talked about New New Media – a swift overview of ubicomp and other aspects of situated computing. One highlight was when he took apart the common example of coffee shops offering you a discount as you walk by, asking:

…what ratted on you? Your Nike+ talking shoes, using a credit card nearby, your car number plate being recognised, your phone reporting your location, or your Oyster card informing the system that you’ve just come out of Oxford Circus tube?

The whole example is good – but I liked the idea of ubiquitous computing devices tattling on you, like naughty children; Chris’ use of “ratted” reminds us that such behaviours can be as much a hindrance as a help. The full talk is definitely worth your time.

Tinker says goodbye

This is sad! Tinker is closing (by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, CEO and Co-Founder). Tinker were pioneers in the design and creation of the Internet of Things — you can see from their projects that they’ve run the gamut from fun, interactive, physical installations, to useful smart objects for the home. Through workshops, publicity and use, Tinker was also instrumental in popularising Arduino, a valuable and open source electronics platform for prototyping interactive objects, aimed at designers and hobbyists. That’s a big deal. As computation fills the products and rooms around us, it has to happen in simple, delightful, and mainstream ways. How to do it? As a thoughtful design studio with massive technical chops, Tinker was making those discoveries for us, and helping others make those discoveries for themselves.

On a personal note, we’re friends and neighbours with those at Tinker (we’ve shared a building for the last couple of years), and it’s not going to be the same in the London scene without Tinker’s presence.


Read Alex’s valedictory blog post again: at least three little entities are blossoming out of Tinker already, and the old team will have their own journeys too. Tinker’s ideas, knowledge and sensibilities will spread widely and influence many companies, both new and established, and that can only be a good thing.

Thank you Alexandra! As she says, Onwards!

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