everything old is new again designing for the futurehttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/ssoosay/4128397609/
“...it takes on average 20 years for a technology to make the transition from ﬁrst articulation to maturity (deﬁned as becoming a $1billion industry)…the mouse, for example, took 30 years. “ – Bill Buxton, Principle researcher MicrosoftPatent 3522664 November 1967
take for example the humble fax machine... (a technology that may ﬁnally have outlived its usefulness)http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/mattjiggins/4009310821/
1843 Alexander Bain The fax machine was ﬁrst envisioned and patented in 1843 by Scotsman Alexander Bain... (image shown is of an 1850 iteration)Image source: Wikipedia
1843 1848 Alexander Bain Frederick Bakewell ...then improved on (and patented once again) in 1848 by Frederick Bakewell.Image source: Wikipedia
1843 1848 1861 Alexander Bain Frederick Bakewell Giovanni Castelli Then improved on once again 13 years later, this time by Giovanni Castelli, an Italian priest... Castelli’s pantelegraphPantelegraph image courtesy ITIS Gallileo
1843 1848 1861 1865Alexander Bain ﬁrst fax service Frederick Bakewell Giovanni Castelli Then in 1865, Castelli went on to establish the ﬁrst Paris public fax service... (the service worked over telegraph lines and ran between Paris and Lyon) Lyon
1843 1848 1861 1865 1876 Alexander Bain ﬁrst fax service Frederick Bakewell Giovanni Castelli ...this was still 11 years before the invention of the telephone... (this isn’t unusual—we don’t always know the true value of a technology until a related one comes along) Photo of Bell usin g t h e t e le phone in N e w Yo r k.Image source: Wikipedia
1843 1848 1861 1865 1876 telephone Alexander Bain patent: ﬁrst fax service Alexander Frederick Bakewell Graham Bell Innocenzo Giovanni Castelli Manzetti Thomas Six people were known to have been working on Edison “voice transmission over a wire” around the J. P. Reis time that Bell was ultimately successful in Elisha Gray obtaining the ﬁrst patent. Antonio Meucci Alexander Thomas Innocenzo Johann Elisha Antonio Graham Bell Edison Manzetti Phillip Reis Gray MeucciImage source: Wikipedia - History of the telephone
1843 1848 1861 1865 1876 1877 telephone Alexander Bain patent: ﬁrst fax service Alexander Frederick Bakewell Graham Bell Innocenzo Giovanni Castelli Manzetti Thomas telephone Shortly thereafter, a Hungarian engineer by the Edison exchange: Tivadar Puskás name of Tivadar Puskás invented the telephone J. P. Reis switchboard—which allowed for the formation of Elisha Gray telephone exchanges (and eventually networks). Antonio Meucci Alexander Thomas Innocenzo Johann Elisha Antonio Tivadar Graham Bell Edison Manzetti Phillip Reis Gray Meucci PuskásImage source: Wikipedia - History of the telephone
almost immediately—we began dreaming up ways to move phones aroundhttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/qwrrty/3989643653
an example from the early 1920s A wireless phone prototype for the well- to-do lady on the town...Watch the video Courtesy Pathé Films Archive on YouTube
...of course it’s a bit bulky, so the lady may need a gentleman to carry it...Watch the video Courtesy Pathé Films Archive on YouTube
telephone box wire coiled around a fire hydrant “The two ladies are using a small simple HF radio, probably a ‘Cat’s Whisker’ type. For it to work it needs to be earthed, which is why it’s connected to the ﬁre hydrant...”Watch the video Courtesy Pathé Films Archive on YouTube
handheld mouthpiece “The antenna (or aerial) is the wire in the umbrella...” - Explanation courtesy of Simon Atkins, an Ex-Royal Signals oﬃcerWatch the video Courtesy Pathé Films Archive on YouTube
the simplest solution was of course to distribute the phones throughout our environment (a solution that remained useful for more than 100 years!)Public phone booth: Lancaster county Pennsylvania
in a pinch, you could also build a portable booth a mobile phone center for reporters in 1960s ChicagoCopyright: Popular Science - via modernmechanix.com
Finally, after twenty years of experimentation(and the invention of microprocessors) we ended up with this.... 1983: the $3,995 DynaTAC the ﬁrst mobile telephone that could connect to the telephone network without the assistance of a mobile operator
...which was released about the same time as this. 1984: the Apple Macintosh the ﬁrst commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface
...the following ten years were pretty much devoted to ﬁnding ways to combine these two concepts.... +
...until in 1993, IBM and Bell South released the world’sﬁrst smartphone: the Simon Personal Communicator... ooh, rounded corners…
Simon was not just the ﬁrst device to combine a portable computer with a phone...it also incorporated many concepts that are now standard on mobile devices... clock touchscreen calendar virtual keyboard address book electronic sketchpad email handwriting recognition text messaging predictive text input
Simon’s creators also envisioned the concept of apps to personalise and extend the device’s capabilities + Accounting Music Player Camera Version 1.0 Version 1.1 Version 1.0 cartridges designed to fit Simon’s PCMCIA slotArtist’s rendering based on photos from “Before iPhone and Android came Simon”
Simon retailed for $899 and sold about 50,000 units until it was discontinued due to a combination of “...technical limitations, product delays, a world-class corporate meltdown, revolving-door management, and bad business decisions...”Source: “Before iPhone and Android came Simon”
Simon’s apps were designed to be installed directly onto the device...yet around that time scientists at Xerox PARC were experimenting with a slightly diﬀerent approach...Courtesy Xerox PARC press archive
“ The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it…. - Mark Weiser (1991)http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/armaggeusa/3176297283
To further explore Weiser’s predictions of the implications of ubiquitous computing, PARC developed an oﬃce based context-aware networked computing environment, and a device they called the PARC TAB.Courtesy Xerox PARC press archive
The TAB was designed to be carried or worn at all times.Its size, weight, and features were speciﬁcally intended to promote casual, spur of the moment, computing. Name: Marge Eldridge Office: [ ] Ext: 518 Manager: chorded keys enabling basic Manages: 25/1/94 14:39 @ [ 461770] one-handed navigation “ 14:41 @ ” 14:41 511 462983 “ 14:42 @ ” 14:45 touch screen + stylus
This level of portability (unheard of in 1993) was made possible by several key design decisions. constantly connected to other Tabs and computers through a series of infrared communication hubs tiny processor = TAB applicationssmaller, cheaper & run on a user’s (far more lightweight more capable) (terminal-style) added beneﬁt: desktop system device contextual awareness (e.g. location, interactions with other devices, data and applications accessed)(apparently, researchers at Euro PARC were Mac based and developed ways to use and prototype Tab applications on a Mac)
This environment also enabled experiments in “intimate computing”. One of these was a context- aware application prototype called “Forget-me-not”. Name: Marge Eldridge Office: [ ] Ext: 518 Manager: The app was designed to Manages: 25/1/94 14:39 @ [ 461770] serve as an “external “ 14:41 @ ” 14:41 511 462983 memory prosthetic”, “ 14:42 @ automatically gathering data ” 14:45 (from the TAB or other devices operating on the network). This data could be used by participants to easily Manages: track and recall important 25/1/94 14:39 @ [ 461770] aspects of their lives. “ 14:41 @ phone date time person 1 call number person 2 dialledForget me not: Intimate computing in support of human memory
1983 1984 1992 1993 today todayMotorola IBMDynaTAC Simon PARC TAB Apple Macintosh ....the iPhone, Facebook and cloud computing were still close to 20 years away...
when working with technology it’s easy to believe that if something is cool, useful or in some way “superior” it will inevitably thrivehttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/remedios/66912941
“ ...you’ll never hear someone spontaneously express a wish for a ubiquitous house or city. There are days, in fact, when it can seem to me that the entire endeavor has arisen out of some combination of the technically feasible and that which is of interest to people working in HCI. - Adam Greenﬁeld, Everywarehttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/dodoorg/5023608260
...no matter how cool it may be...many technologies, ecosystems and conditions must align before an invention enters the lives of “normal people”.1937 1962 1971 2012 40 years of innovation including the growth of “The Electrocular” the microprocessor, the Internet, the web, something network data protocols, display technologies.... normal people will use :-) Google’s Project Glassuse of reﬂector sights in Virtual reality gogglescockpits during World War II Dr. Ivan Sutherland University of Utah
It’s worth remembering as well that “normal people” don’t actually have to use a technology for it to impact their lives...1937 1960 1962 1971 2012 40 years of innovation including the growth of Gilbert “The Electrocular” the microprocessor, the Internet, the web, something Klopfstein, a network data protocols, display technologies.... normal people French test-pilot will use :-) creates ﬁrst HUD system for use in Google’s commercial Project Glass aviationuse of reﬂector sights in Virtual reality gogglescockpits during World War II Dr. Ivan Sutherland University of Utah
...the most useful and widely deployed implementations may also turn out to be relatively mundane...1937 1960 1962 1971 1988 2012 Gilbert “The Electrocular” BMW implements the something Klopfstein, a ﬁrst HUD-integrated normal people French test-pilot telematics will use :-) creates ﬁrst HUD system for use in Google’s commercial Project Glass aviationuse of reﬂector sights in Virtual reality gogglescockpits during World War II Dr. Ivan Sutherland (modern day version shown) University of Utah
“Technological revolutions haveseveral interesting properties.First, we tend to overestimatethe immediate impact andunderestimate the long-termimpact.Second, we tend to place theemphasis on the technologiesthemselves, when it is really thesocial impact and cultural changethat will be most dramatic.”– Don Norman, Drop everything you’re doing http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/jordanﬁscher/61429449
learning how to use a new technology is one thing...http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/jcfrog/4692750598
making space for it in our lives is anotherhttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/krossbow/4509414056
even when the value proposition should appear obviousBell telephone advertisement in National Geographic, 1958 - via Modernmechanix
this not only makes it tricky to market new products...it can also prevent those who design and develop them from imagining something completely new...
From futurists to product designers...we can’t help but insert bits of the present into our dreams of the future... telecommunication in the year 2000 ...as imagined in 1910Utopia: The Quest for the Ideal Society in the Western World
...and re-imagined in 1956Scientiﬁc American, 1956 - via Modernmechanix
Home of the Future:as imagined by Disney Imagineering, MIT and Monsanto in 1957
The home of the future looks futuristic and is entirely made of plastic! -1957-Watch the video on YouTube
...the interior however is designed to feel familiar, with a “normal” looking piano and dining room... -1957-Watch the video on YouTube
The recurring selling point however is plastic. There are plastic countertops, (motorised) plastics shelves and a “luxurious” set of plastic cups, plates and dishes. (Monsanto’s involvement obviously had something to do with this, but plastic was also the modern substance of the day). -1957-Watch the video on YouTube
In the bedroom “the lady of the house” has her own private plastic boudoir. On the counter is a speaker phone, complete with ultra modern push buttons instead of a rotary dial. (Note how lovingly the wife stares at the phone while speaking to her husband. On the one hand it’s charming that multitasking as you speak wasnt yet socially acceptable but it also kind of -1957- sad that 50 years later, we still spend a lot of time staring at our phones.)Watch the video on YouTube
The man of the house has the pleasure of shaving in his ultra modern bathroom—fashioned out of one giant piece of pre- moulded plastic. There’s also a “built-in” razor. (The razor is corded and hardwired to the wall :-) -1957-Watch the video on YouTube
sometimes it may be exactly what we needhttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/davilla/3363343340
The “old” brings with it familiar metaphors...http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/mujitra/6778948371
...and provides a commonconceptual framework.familiar gesturesays “I get howto use this...”
...transforming something alien into something that feels magical, yet familiar enough that you can see yourself using it. so many wires...run away! almost like shopping at Nike :-)Courtesy Makerbot Industries Blog and on Flickr
“Successful products are precisely those that don’t attempt to move user experiences signiﬁcantly, even if the underlying technology has radically shifted. In fact the whole point of user experience design is to manufacture the necessary normalcy for a product to succeed...” - Greg Borensteinhttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/ducdigital/2892313560
with nothing familiar to hold on to it’s maybe not surprising that some ideas never quite make ithttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/jurvetson/302869583
but metaphor and familiarity only go so far...
Golly gee...with a contraption like this, my wife could spend the whole day shopping! Good thing I still have to approve all those purchases! many new technologies requirefeatures to (implicitly) alleviate social angst
Source: Wikipedia In 1982 GRiD Systems Corp. released the ﬁrst clamshell style laptop. The GRiD Compass 1100 cost $8,150, yet that’s not why it failed to catch on...
“It was designed for business executives. And...one of the biggest obstacles, we had for selling the product was the fact—believe it or not—that it had a keyboard. Business people, who were in their 40s and 50s, didn’t have a computer or keyboard in their oﬃces. It was associated with being part of the secretarial pool. And so youd put this thing in their oﬃce and theyd say, "Get that out of here." It was like getting a demotion. They were really uncomfortable with it.” – Jeﬀ Hawkins speaking at the Computer History Museumhttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/ducdigital/2892313560
according to anthropologist Genevieve Bell a technology must have the potential to impact us in three ways to cause social angst... (or as she calls it “moral panic”Women and children ﬁrst : technology and moral panic
it has to changeour relationship to time... http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/faceme/2882556082
it has to change our relationship to space...http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/shokai/4678255766
...and change our relationshipto other peoplehttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/misbehave/2352753067
...changes in our relationship to time and spacedon’t come along nearly as often as they used to....
the phonograph suddenly made it possible to hear the voices of the dead...http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/puuikibeach/7400339252
“...it is really ﬂying, and it is impossible to divest yourself of the notion of instant death...“ – The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century the advent of the railway caused intense fear of death... (above and beyond that caused by horriﬁc accidents)Train wreck at Montparnasse, 1895, Wikipediahttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/puuikibeach/7400339252
...it also caused what the Lancet medical journal then termed “nervous fatigue”...
“...even the elementary concepts of space and time have begun to vacillate. Space is killed by the railways, and we are left with time alone.“ – German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/svensson/601272668
shifting time and space may now seem somewhat mundane...
...but changes in ourrelationships with people will likely cause angst for many years to come
...so what can the past teach us about designing for the future?
we often talk about the future as if it will arrive, fully formed on our doorstep one ﬁne morningPublic domain: Space colony art from the 1970s
residential smart card entry 4G alreadyold, organically formed overtaking 3G neighbourhoods ...and the stories we tell city-wide wi-ﬁ contactless Octopus smart card but the future is already here... smart grid and the old all jumbled up environmental monitoring with the new... paper map from the hotel http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/milo_riano/4336541309
the success of the products we designwill be deﬁned not merely by thetechnologies we invent... http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/preetamrai/5438199316
Rate of acceleration/deceleration of technology adoption by country but by the cultures that choose to welcome them...Research by Intel measures the rate at which technology adoption exceeds (or fallsbelow) expectations for the country’s level of GDP. Rates have been averaged acrossthree technologies: mobile phones, PC’s, and internet users.
which brings us back to the humble fax machine... a technology that now gathers dust in all but one “modern” culturehttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/mattjiggins/4009310821/
culture of handwritten documents warmth & personality instant visibility tech literacy: 1/5 of the population is over 65 use of seals instead of signatures for oﬃcial transactions in Japan, fax machines still thrive in the home and at workSource: Japan and the fax: a love aﬀair http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/kankan/55026589
But culture isn’t just about them... (these people we call “users”)
Anthropologist Cliﬀord Geertz oncedeﬁned culture as “...the stories wetell ourselves about ourselves. “ http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/leweb3/6498812861/
The more technology surrounds us,the more all of us will play a part indeﬁning these stories... http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/leweb3/6498812861/
...the future will not just be deﬁnedby the next big invention—it will bealso be deﬁned by our ability todream beyond existing ones. http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/leweb3/6498812861/
“...innovation is not about doing somethingnew out of thin air. It is about forgettingthat what you are doing is old.- Dawn Nafus, anthropologist http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/keepwaddling1/3048726936/
scontact uat firstname.lastname@example.org Presentation deck available @ http://www.slideshare.net/yiibu many thanks to the amazing photographers on http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 @yiibu thank you http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/tinou/453593446
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