Urban computing

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A talk at Planningness Brooklyn 2010.

A talk at Planningness Brooklyn 2010.

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  • 1. 1
  • 2. urban computing Chris Heathcote @antimega 2 I'm an interaction and experience designer - I've spent 15 years working on this screen (computer), and the last 10 years working on this screen (phone). But some of what I've been working on tries to get away from the tyranny of the screen.
  • 3. a definition 3 let's try and define what urban computing is...
  • 4. action / reaction 4 well, at its most basic, we have actions causing reactions
  • 5. input / output 5 or in computer terms, input and output
  • 6. inputs / outputs 6 but it's more than that - a light switch has an input and output. computers let us take many inputs and process them in many different ways.
  • 7. inputs / processing / outputs 7 and the processing is what computers are really good at
  • 8. keyboard+mouse / application / display 8 so this is the traditional computer: do stuff with distinctly weird input mechanisms, and a blob moves on the screen
  • 9. sensors / large databases / many outputs 9 so urban computing just extends that - many more sensors, many more possible outputs + we can collate, store and process large amounts of information
  • 10. why should we care? why now? 10
  • 11. technology changes the way people act, think, conceive what’s possible 11 It's interesting that we've heard already that usage changes before thinking
  • 12. the postal service 12 and it's not new - the penny post (started in 1680) used to run in London up to 6-8 times a day - the speed of information processing increased tremendously
  • 13. the railway 13 1825 - the railway took that and made it country and continent wide - to the point where we had to redefine how time worked
  • 14. telegraph / telephone 14 and then we made it instant - changing the relationship with data - those in the know had absolute business advantage, it redefined what newspapers were etc.
  • 15. mobile phone 15 changed from ringing a place to ringing a person - and the way people live and act has changed quicker than ever before
  • 16. where are we? 16
  • 17. near ubiquity 17 of cellphones (in the first world, and a majority in the second and third world)
  • 18. ubiquity of connections & connectivity 18
  • 19. ubiquity of computing 19 people are carrying many computers with them everywhere homes are full of computers - soon every switch and socket will contain a computer
  • 20. what changes? 20
  • 21. context 21 it's a horrible word, but suddenly we can make things that seem relevant to what's happening
  • 22. where you are 22
  • 23. what time it is 23 absolute, time of day, weekday/weekend (+ other information such as weather)
  • 24. who you are 24
  • 25. who you're with 25
  • 26. + new ways to interact 26
  • 27. in both the private and public sphere 27
  • 28. BUT 28 but - and it's a big but
  • 29. BUT 29
  • 30. no idea of intention 30 we still have no idea of people's real intentions
  • 31. no idea of need 31 or what they want or need
  • 32. a new toolbox - 32 so we have new things to play with - over and above the media we're used to
  • 33. Sensing: 33
  • 34. identifying place 34
  • 35. GPS 35 many phones have GPS now
  • 36. GPS 36 but actually it's not just GPS
  • 37. GPS + wi-fi + Cell ID triangulation + country ... 37 lots of kinds of information are used to determine location
  • 38. or much simpler 38
  • 39. Nike Grid 39 Nike Grid - a city-based running game - could have used Nike+ or GPS - but used payphones to check in and out - let everyone participate
  • 40. identifying things 40
  • 41. barcodes 41 barcodes are great to identify (things with barcodes)
  • 42. barcodes 42 you can only make them so pretty
  • 43. basket comparison 43 supermarkets have had barcode scanners for years - to tell you the price. the next step is to tell you the price at competitors - and by scanning your receipt how much money you saved on your total shop. -> uses a tremendous amount of data and computation
  • 44. QR-codes 44
  • 45. QR-codes 45 qr codes, data matrix, spotcodes.... there's no standards built into cellphones in the West unlike in Japan - so they're essentially useless
  • 46. RFID 46 (thanks to Adam Greenfield, author of Everyware, for this photo) RFID is becoming ubiquitous through things like public transport payment systems. NFC could take this into cellphones too.
  • 47. Nabaztag 47 it's a talking glowing wifi rabbit with an RFID reader in
  • 48. Skål 48 a super simple system for connecting media to objects
  • 49. text recognition 49
  • 50. numberplates 50 this was an ad for Castrol - people hated seeing their numberplate on the billboard (even if it's already on your car), and they worried that somehow they knew what kind of car they had
  • 51. augmented reality 51 Layar - using place and direction to work out what you're looking at
  • 52. identifying people 52
  • 53. face recognition 53 Japanese vending machines identify how old you are NEC's EKI digital signage network can distinguish a person's sex and approximate age companies can provide interactive advertisements "which meet the interest of people who use the station at a certain time,"
  • 54. emotion recognition 54 many cameras recognise smiles, blinks
  • 55. tracking use 55
  • 56. chromaroma 56 turning Oyster card public transport usage into a game - passive participation
  • 57. chromaroma 57 break records, collect stations
  • 58. tracking health 58
  • 59. Nike+ 59 talking shoes! magic pebbles that talk to the Internet.... but software trumps hardware - pebbles are forgettable and need power. Location also infers speed, which infers kind of motion.
  • 60. Pokemon 60 Pokeball-styled pedometer that unlocks new powers in the game -> changes kids' relationship to walking
  • 61. Fitbit 61 more magic pebbles - but where do you attach it when sleeping?
  • 62. Withings 62 everything is on the Internet, everything has a Twitter account
  • 63. even bus stops weigh you 63 Dutch billboard that displays the weight of whoever's sitting on the bench
  • 64. communal use 64 we can aggregate hundreds or thousands of data points in real-time
  • 65. Nuage Vert 65 a stark visualisation of how much energy a city is using
  • 66. Nuage Vert 66 that actually got people to try to reduce consumption on a particular day
  • 67. public data 67 public data is opening up, realising that 3rd party developers and hackers can find new ways of combining and interacting with data better than organisations
  • 68. Helsinki live tram map 68
  • 69. London live train map 69 maps are the hello world of Open Data
  • 70. Computation: 70
  • 71. Arduino 71 connects sensors together with computation, plus it can talk to the Internet
  • 72. Pachube 72 and it talks to things like pachube - a switchboard for data
  • 73. Outputs: 73
  • 74. Virtual Reality 74 this is not being in the world
  • 75. Augmented Reality 75 three problems: people don't have strong arms, instant mugging target, and you look like a dick
  • 76. text messages 76 and alerts - people are used to receiving them - but don't overload
  • 77. coupons 77 the urban computing cliche - "you walk past starbucks and get 5 cents off a latte"
  • 78. screens 78 screens are everywhere. they're being deployed really quickly, especially in new public buildings (stations, airports)
  • 79. screens 79 in the UK, we don't have planning permission for movement in traditional outdoor sites. Other cities have sold off the right to install screens across the city. (thanks to Adam again for this video)
  • 80. screens 80 BT Tower - 850,000 lumens, visible for miles - too bright to photograph
  • 81. hand from above 81 Chris O'Shea's installation - reacts to people walking below
  • 82. 2nd screens 82 souped up Internet connected real time alarm clock - also interested in 2nd screens next to the TV
  • 83. 3rd, 4th & 5th screens 83 turns out the fridge computer lot were right
  • 84. what’s next? 84 artificial intelligence is dirt cheap (check out Argos or JCPenney catalog - kid's toys have amazing intelligence)
  • 85. face rec 85 your average compact camera recognises more faces than a 6 month old baby. why do computers and phones need passwords any more?
  • 86. voice rec 86 It's never going to be perfect *and* real time. But I'm convinced there's a lot we can do with constrained vocabularies.
  • 87. haptics 87 vibration and touch - we can start to make electronic surfaces have a "hand" or feel. Haptic compass - had 12 cellphone vibra motors and the one closest to north kicked occasionally. What's interest is that the body internalises this really quickly - superpowers are easy to acquire.
  • 88. projectors - big 88 we've all seen the videos of architectural mapping and projections
  • 89. projectors - big 89 this is Robert Lepage's The Image Mill projection in Montreal
  • 90. projectors - big 90 but (with few exceptions) we have the technology and no idea of how to tell stories using it
  • 91. projectors - small 91 why doesn't your alarm clock look like this? nanoprojectors are information torches (and will be in your cellphone soon)
  • 92. projectors - small 92 or - even this
  • 93. wearables 93 This is the Looxcie Wearcam. looking more like a Bluetooth headset. Need to work out how to mount and wear technology.
  • 94. sonification 94 Sound in underused - probably thankfully. but what information can we convey, especially with headphones and audio location.
  • 95. rjdj 95 takes all a phone's inputs - microphone, accelerometer, location and makes and changes music based on them
  • 96. ruricomp 96 I don't actually like the term 'urban' - as lots of this can help and connect suburban and rural communities too. (this is a mockup by paulpod)
  • 97. so what does this mean to marketing? 97
  • 98. becoming real-time 98 creating and keeping data fresh is hard - but we need it to be real-time to feel interesting and connected
  • 99. 1 ad = 10,000 ads 99 if we can change what we show or say based on context, we're going to need a lot more executions - maybe even written, distributed and shown in real-time
  • 100. how to scale 100 a lot of this currently only exists as events or location constrained experiences
  • 101. new forms of media are needed 101 screens aren't vertical tv ads (or banner ads)
  • 102. need new platforms 102 new platforms are emerging - but they're layers on top on phones or computers (layar). platforms in the real-world (digital outdoor or DOOH) are disconnected, small and all with different tech specs
  • 103. need to understand the materialness 103 these new types of media need to be designed - we don't have 50-100 years of experience
  • 104. entering the era of magic 104 you want a harry potter clock showing where people are? sure, no problem.
  • 105. you can read minds (for a bit) 105 new technology that's magic quickly becomes mundane
  • 106. hit the uncanny valley of ads 106 the uncanny valley is a term from robotics - robots that seem human but don't quite feel right - fight or flight. ads that shout your name are exactly the same.
  • 107. B.A.S.A.A.P. 107 Matt Jones coined the term - Be as smart as a puppy. If you can't be human, fail gracefully (with puppy dog eyes)
  • 108. you'll still freak people out 108 it's a spectrum of understanding privacy concerns - "if we don't get on the front page of the Daily Mail we're not trying hard enough"
  • 109. urbn bacn 109 bacn is the name for email you asked for but don't really want - newsletters, offers, etc. If every company knows where you are, do you want your phone vibrating every 5 yards? (this is a frame from Keiichi Matsuda's Domestic Robocop film)
  • 110. re-engage with discussions of public & private realm 110 city by city, country by country there will be a reassessment of how marketing and advertising impacts our daily lives
  • 111. Thanks. 111
  • 112. Questions? 112
  • 113. task Teams of 3 or 4 or whatever. Pick a brand. Think of the what they could create in the real world - public space, subway, in car, in store, screens, projections, apps What context can we infer - place/places/time/time of day/ things/usage... Push it as far into the future as possible. Elevator pitch - 30 seconds I want to know: What data are they sensing / using? How does it manifest? What do people experience? What's magic about it? Nike Starbucks coupons projecting on the moon 113
  • 114. @antimega chris@metaloca.com weblog: http://anti-mega.com Making. Thinking. metaloca.com 114