It's amazing that for all the stylistic changes, computers still retain the functional identity of 1970s technology. PCs merely shrink the package. Besides cosmetic changes to the shell and some easing of the user-computer interface burden, still computers are a challenge and their power most always underutilized. What would change that?
Here are some ideas from the excellent Fourth Wave report on wearable computers, by John Latta, with a long discussion of a presentation by industrial designer Bill Buxton. (The full report features other designers in addition to Buxton, and actual projects.)
WEARABLE COMPUTERS 2004
by John Latta
2004 8th IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC)
November 1-2, 2004, Arlington, VA
This conference was held back-to-back with the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality - ISMAR 04. This has ong been at the leading edge of where many feel computing will go - creating new environments that one can wear, see and otherwise experience. Much of this dates back to the early efforts in VR in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Those days have passed but the lure and potential of the technology has not. This conference, in spite of being small, about 200, has an international scope. It is equally divided between North America, Asia and Europe.
Certainly the notion of wearable computers is not new but, having watched this technology evolve over the last 15 years, there is a sense of gradual maturity. The displays are smaller, computers are being shown that are the size of a belt buckle and many of the attendees wear a HMD throughout the conference. Certainly the interest of the military in wearable computers is a powerful forcing function, at least in the US. But what strikes us is the depth of what is considered a wearable computer and how these are being applied. We are at the beginning of a shift from computing as we know it today and wearable computers is just one component of that shift.
BILL BUXTON, "TIME TO RETHINK THE COMPUTER INTERFACE"
Bill Baxton, well known industrial designer, yanked the audience around mentally with his notions of the user interface in the era of ubiquitous computing. His keynote address was thought provoking. It reinforced a theme heard many times before the epicenter of personal computing is shifting from the PC.
Bill was at Xerox PARC and other research organizations. He is now on his own at Buxton Design.
Bill's keynote talk was, "Whereable Computing." He made the following key points:
We are about to change the role of IO, in the human context, with computing. In the past the output, including the GUI, dominated while future user inputs will actually exceed the output from the computer. [Continued]
December 8, 2004
December 3, 2004
What Makes People Happy?
The NYT reports on a new study that challenges conventional wisdom about what daily activities make people the happiest.
(posted by Steve Portigal)
posted by Steve Portigal |