Friday, May 29, 2009

Touch Demos from the MIT Media Lab

Image Recognition on Surface

Infusion founder Greg Brill (no relation) demos image recognition on Surface...very cool stuff...and he does it Ginsu Knife style!

I think suggests some incredible possibilities. The book market seems off, though.
1. How well will this handle highly similar images like books in a series.
2. The combination of antialiasing and low resolution of Surface make extensive reading uncomfortable.
3. The cost of maintaining purchasing and maintaining a number of Surface units in a retail store seems out of line with the volume/margin opportunity on $30 books.

Still, this is a stupidly cool interaction!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jeff Han's Pressure Sensitive Touch Screen

I hate to admit that Jeff kicks ass, but this is sweet.

Thanks to Richard Monson-Haefel for hunting this down

Insanely Cool Interactive Grafitti

Time Bomb - Interactive Graffiti (StupidKrap & Holler) from Mike Hill on Vimeo.

Thanks to Andy Polaine for hunting this down!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Meet Other Multitouch Junkies, Clo Wine Bar, New York, 7:00, Wednesday, June 3

Please join us for some great wine and a discussion about designing multitouch interfaces at Clo Wine Bar, the first major permanent multitouch installation in New York.

I'll be there, along with:

Jared Schiffman, Principal, Potion Design
Jared will talk about designing Clo's interactive tables.

Brian Smith, Manager of Clo
Brian will talk about how the interactive tables impact the service experience

William Henry, Former sommelier at Daniel and Rouge Tomate
William take us on a tasting journey through the virtual wine country

David Palinchock, Retail Experience Guru
David will talk about the design and layout of the customer experience

Here's the address:

4th Floor, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle New York, NY 10019

The event is free and guests are welcome. Please Register Here, so that I can make sure to reserve enough space.

Always Inspired.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Roundup of Multitouch Videos and Articles, May 20, 2009

Wall Street Journal on the Multitouch market

Hewlett-Packard Co., seeking to revive the sagging desktop-computer business, has tried to woo consumers with sleek personal computers with glossy, touch-sensitive screens.

But the touch-screen PCs, which can cost twice as much as typical machines, have been slow to catch on. H-P only sold about 400,000 of its TouchSmart desktops last year, compared with 54 million traditional desktops and laptops, estimates research firm IDC.

More after the link

Multitouch Barcelona Shows Us How to Create a More Natural Interface

Hi from Multitouch Barcelona on Vimeo.

Freeform Gestural Interfaces in Win7 Mobile

Click here for more from Mary Jo Foley at ZD Net

Multitouch inEducation
Lynn Marentette writes about how Natural User Interfaces are being used in education

Augmented Reality from simple and open


All science fiction movies have shown us that the future is in REALLY big displays. Now it's becoming a reality. Scientists are working with systems like the one below and even starting to commandeer planetariums to "Do Research". I wanna be a cosmologist when I grow up.

Mobile Phones and QR / Domino Tags

From Adaptive Path

While there are HUGE issues capturing data off of dense domino tags, it's gonna be cool when someone figures it the meantime, I'd suggest looking at an established standard,like say UPC codes.

MobilGlyph: Making Data Tangible from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Josh Blake and Josh Wall of Infostrat Talking About Rethinking Virtual Earth for Surface

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Multitouch Roundup May 13

This week has been light on new demos. The good news is that we are seeing more and more sensor integration into projects.

A Strategy for Managing Occlusion

Great work on creating dynamic controller layouts from Media Interaction Lab. How could this be applied to your next multitouch interface?

Interesting Keyboard Solution
We've played with a number of variations of this idea. They have worked extremely well...especially when done when the keys are well animated.

The Future of Books

We saw this on Monday at the NYU ITP Student Show. It's sucha a simple, beautiful idea. Check It Out

Bestiary from Caroline Brown on Vimeo.

Microsoft Demonstrates It's "Home of the Future"

It looks like the future of NUI will look like 9 years ago. Each and every one of the concepts is a direct rip from the the Counter Intelligence project at MIT, Circa 2001. I'm glad it's coming into being, but a future vision it's not.

Win 7 Sensor Platform
Yippeeee!! I can't wait to play with this!

Interesting Game Mechanics
This iphone game just looks like fun to interact with!

Nice Motion

As Gestural Interfaces become embedded into environments, we will need a design language to show what is important. This compilation of interactive dance from Chunky Move is incredibly inspirational to me.

Cool LED Curtain

We are starting to see flexible displays coming to market. U of Toronto recently showed an OLED display on a flexible substrate that looks like it has real promise. What woudl you do with something like this?

Thanks to Kevin at ICEAV for sending this over.

BMW Kinetic Sculpture

You might have seen this, and its not completely relevant, but holy cow, it's cool!

Video of Surface SP1

I am so glad that the markup menus and auras are finally out! This is some seriously great work! Congratulations to Dan Wigdor, Paul Hoover and the platform team.

Sweet interactive floor by David Small

Monticello Quote Lobby from Justin Manor on Vimeo.

Monday, May 11, 2009

5 Tennets of Next Generation Interface Design

Ubiquitous sensors, networking, cheap computation and low cost displays are changing how we use and what we do with interactive devices. These new “augmented realities” will likely look much like Microsoft’s recent future vision videos (cameras, RFID and handheld devices as the primary interaction tools).

There are only so many new interfaces we can learn in a day. For this paradigm to be successful, designers will need to understand the dynamically changing models of user, task and system that these videos demonstrate. The interface design model will have to change from one in which users focus their attention on inputting commands to one in which devices use contextual data to identify intent.

While this isn't fully expressed in the following video, I believe it is where Microsoft's Dane Storussen and August De Los Reyes are attempting to go with this video:

This new mindset will go beyond rethinking existing peripherals to reimagining how we experience all of the objects and information in our everyday lives. While Microsoft would like you too think this is a new idea, it isn't.

I have been involved in this space for nearly a decade and in academia, this sort of thinking has gone by a number of names, including: XUI, Gestural Interfaces, Tangible Media, Context Aware Computing and Augmented Reality. Whichever flavor you prefer, it will require a fundamental rethinking of HCI.

For the purposes of simplicity, let’s call this field of design XUI. It seems that XUI has five basic tenets:

1. Technology should help users:

- Identify strengths, augment limitations
- Streamline social interactions
- Remember events as they actually happened
- Understand complex datasets.
- Learn how to achieve goals more easily and intuitively

2. Technology should focus on augmenting the experiences people have, not the hardware used to achieve that task.

- Systems should measure intent as well as action. Eye tracking measures what you are thinking about. Mouse tracking measures what you did.

- Interfaces should strive to improve complex behavior by recognizing contextual cues that signal a a desire for augmentation.

3. The first system priorities should be to identify:

- Whether it is safe and appropriate to provide feedback

- How to keep users focused on achieving their goals

- Discovering when users want to explore vs. when they need help achieving a specific goal.

4. The primary objective of interfaces design should be make users think the right thought, not to tell users what to do.

- Interfaces should always be useful, even if when they fail to achieve the user's goal.

- Interfaces should subtly coach users to use scheduled variable affirmations to improve user performance.

- When there is a high opportunity for error, an important task or destructive command, input events should be verified through at least two separate senses. This significantly decreases input error.

5. The interface should be "experiential".

- Wherever possible, animation, appropriate sounds and haptic feedback should be used instead of text. Users are likely to respond more quickly and enjoy the experience more.

If you are interested in designing XUI's, here’s a talk by one of my mentors, Ted Selker, formerly of IBM Research and the MIT Media Lab talking about the decade of research projects at the lab:

Your comments and help expanding this list would be deeply appreciated.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tutorial on Multitouch Development fo Win 7

Microsoft's Channel nine has released instructional videos on developing multitouch interfaces in Win7


Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Layoffs at Microsoft US Today

My thoughts are with friends and colleagues at Microsoft today. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to layoff 5000 employees. The first round was in January. The second round is, apparently, today. The Surface team is likely to impacted.

If bad things have happened, please contact me. I'll do my best to put you in touch with new opportunities.

Here's the memo from Steve Ballmer:


Design Strategy Video from Continuum

There's been a meme running around the web about "design research" the past couple of days. One group that does this really well is Continuum. An east coast-based design consultancy.

They have put up an interesting marketing video about their process.

RESONANCE from chris hosmer on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Josh Blake for sending this vid over.

It seems like there are two main reasons for hiring out this sort of work:
1. The client sees a business segment they can exploit and wants some political justification for it.

2. The client has a cashcow product or other asset that is getting slammed and they need a new way grow margin on their product, either through features or repositioning.

The output of these studies seems like it could be really valuable, but is design research a viable business in this economy? What do you think?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Round Up of Multitouch Videos, May 4

Every week, I try to do a roundup of cool multitouch ideas, videos and interactivity from around the web. We are starting to see an encouraging trend: external sensors being added to enhance multitouch interactivity. This is when Natural User Interfaces start to get really interesting. Check It Out!

XUI Concept Work By Surface Concept Designer Dane Storrusten

Multitouch PDA acts as a pointing device for a larger screen

This fusion of portable devices and large display is going to be a growing phenomenon over the next couple years.

TUIOMouse Preview from progen on Vimeo.

Sweet $49.95 RFID Reader

How can you not hook this up to Surface? Finally! A consumer RFID reader. Can't imagine how I missed this...I'm off to go buy one now!

Blockbuster Video Demo From Clarity Consulting

Interesting concept. From a usability viewpoint, many of the interface elements are undiscoverable. I like that they are exploring the use of sensors beyond the multitouch surface.


Dell's Studio One
An all in one for $699 is pretty cool, but the latency would render it useless for any serious applications.

Augmented Reality Demo from BMW.

While this isn't multitouch, it points to new ways to do service automation, one of the major markets for multitouch.

Some Nice Game Mechanics
In the last multitouch roundup, I said that multitouch applications have a lot to learn from game designers about using animation and creating addictive interactions. Here are a couple worth learning from:

Another Nice Game Mechanic

Yet Another Inspirational Game Mechanic

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dan Saffer's Recent Talk on Designing Smart and Clever Applications

Here are my favorite slides, followed by a link to the whole presentation he gave at Voices That Matter. Do we smell an update to his great book DESIGNING FOR INTERACTION in the works?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5 Questions To Ask When Justifying R+D

Scott Anthony breaks down five smart, simple questions we should all be asking when we pitch or greenlight new projects:

1. What is the upside potential?

2. How much risk remains?

3. What resources are required to reach the next learning milestone?

4. How well does the idea fit important qualitative criteria?

5. How much does the idea contribute to the overall innovation portfolio?

Check out his new article at BusinessWeek