How to Build Your First Spime Management System


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Spimes are objects that exist in both time and space and they are already a reality. Presented at the IXDA's Interaction '09 conference in Vancouver.

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  • 2004: Bruce Sterling used SPIME to describe a specific kind of object - Important over the next three decades - Frequently involved GPS and other Buck Rogers kinds of technology
  • ... but also, Sterling used SPIMES to think through the next stage in the EVOLUTION of OBJECTS.
  • Artificial objects made by HAND, used by HAND, and powered by MUSCLE.
  • 1500s = Age of MACHINES begins - Complex, precisely proportioned artifacts with many moving parts - Non-human, non-animal powered
  • Around World War I = age of PRODUCTS - Mass produced objects
  • 1989 = Age of GIZMOS - Objects that require interfaces - Multi-featured - Overly complex - Limited lifespan
  • In the next 30 years or so = age of SPIMES - sample: CO2 sensor with built-in GPS by OpenSpime ... SO all this was floating around in my head when as Sapient consultant I caught an assignment for a popular museum ... when it occurred to me ...
  • Sterling: “SPIMES begin and end as data” - Museum exhibits are already physical manifestations of theories and other abstract sets of data
  • - Museum Exhibits = exist in space and time, especially for a wayfinding project - PROJECT: Hand-held devices to help people get around and to tease them into exploring exhibits. [details] - Really needed more than CMS could deliver.
  • SMS as the answer: LOCATION [click] - Triangulation gets you located within a room -- Device uses location within room to figure out content to display [click] - If you had a robust SMS, RFID would broadcast its id and device would know location of object and also deliver content based on exhibit
  • SMS as the answer: TOURS -w/o need rudimentary admin to link together chunks of text and manually update, but things change on a daily basis within museum. [click] - Spimes are self-aware, they tell you if they are included.
  • SMS as the answer: CONTENT UPDATING - CMS or rudimentary admin tools to change blocks of text [click] - Spimes know their relationships to other Spimes and they communicate with one another
  • SMS as the answer: HISTORY -Work orders populate a complete history -- Creation, revisions, and closures -- Links to the relevant historical data of other spimes
  • SMS as the answer: PRODUCT DEV - Analysis of all kinds of otherwise disconnected data -- RFID tags -- Devices -- Web site analytics -- Museum admission, other ticket sales
  • Not really Buck Rogers after all - it all exists [click] - RFID reader at Colorado ski resorts -- As skiers and snowboarders approach the lift --- the RFID reader gets data encoded on the passes. --- Handheld transmits data via Wi-Fi to determine if the pass is valid --- Confirmation sent back with bio info for employee to verify.
  • iPhone apps deal with data interaction between the user and systems.
  • Mashup Mapdango in-depth location information - combines data from eight unrelated third parties
  • Sterling is particularly interested in spimes that move and that can respond to real customer usage information to quickly evolve the product. - But SMS might be more about objects, like museum exhibits, where location is important, but doesn’t change. Places you might see SMS emerge:
  • Wind turbine farms: - If each fan is a spime, collect data about the environment -- predict wear and tear and failure by measuring wind speed, temperature, rain and other elements -- forecast production over time based on exact, combined data -- gets them into the data suppliers market (weather service, environmental research)
  • Malls - Product development - location to traffic - relationships of specific shopping patterns - comparison of traffic to sales - foot traffic and weather to sales
  • Airport parking garages - comparison of disconnected data - temperature - cars in and out - flight delays - car rentals - time from flight to car exit, car entrance to flight departure (RFID on parking ticket)
  • Looking forward
  • -- So what’s stopping us from making SMS happen today? [click] - They have a good point. -- Would you feel more comfortable spending five or six figures for a CMS or an SMS?
  • So how will Spime Management Systems become real? Well first of all, I doubt we’re going to call the objects SPIMES. To see why, take a look at the history of powered flight. [click] - The myth of the lone inventor who imagines something and builds it
  • Story of POWERED FLIGHT actually starts back in the thirteenth century 1. Little Ice Age - 200 hundred year significant climate change - CHIMNEY replaces CENTRAL HEARTH 2. Indoor living increases intellectual activity and along with recovery from Black Death, Europe sees building boom - WOOD SHORTAGE 3. Shortage leads to coal-burning furnaces which leads to production of molten iron and that advances - CASTING OF HIGH PRESSURE CYLINDERS which made STEAM ENGINES possible 4. Steam engines’ use of air pressure led to the study of gases and then PETROLEUM as FUEL for automobiles 5. ... and automobile engines led to airplane engines and AIR FLIGHT .
  • How to Build Your First Spime Management System

    1. 1. How to Build your first Spime Management System Dan Willis, Sapient IxDA Interaction ’09
    2. 2. A spime is an object that exists in sp ace and t ime
    3. 3. a spime is the answer to “ WHAT’S NEXT?”
    4. 4. artifacts Pre-history 1500s 1914 1989 2030
    5. 5. machines Pre-history 1500s 1914 1989 2030
    6. 6. products Pre-history 1500s 1914 1989 2030
    7. 7. gizmos Pre-history 1500s 1914 1989 2030
    8. 8. spimes OpenSpime prototype CO2 sensor Pre-history 1500s 1914 1989 2030
    9. 9. “ Hey, a museum exhibit could be a spime.”
    10. 11. Wayfinding
    11. 12. Wayfinding location
    12. 13. Tour building
    13. 14. Content updates
    14. 15. Exhibit history
    15. 16. Product development
    16. 17. RFID
    17. 18. Complex data interaction
    18. 19. Liquid content
    19. 20. From The Spime Arrives by Bruce Sterling and students from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
    20. 24. <ul><li>Data rich </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation-tolerant </li></ul><ul><li>Location-centric </li></ul><ul><li>Broken, or almost broken </li></ul>A spime friendly environment will be:
    21. 25. “ What the HELL are you talking about?”
    22. 26. “ Why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future? Because there is nowhere else to look. ” James Burke, Connections
    23. 29. <ul><li>An innovation occurs as the result of deliberate attempts to develop it. </li></ul><ul><li>The attempt to find one thing leads to the discovery of another. </li></ul><ul><li>Unrelated developments have a decisive effect on the main event. </li></ul>How things change From Connections by James Burke
    24. 30. Questions?
    25. 31.