Thursday, February 03, 2011

Ubiquitous proxemic systems

I also read about this in Interactions. It is a fancy term for a system that knows its surroundings, your actions, and acts accordingly. A complete system would know:
  • who you are (exactly or some category)
  • where you are (e.g. in the kitchen)
  • how far away you are
  • where you are looking (e.g. at the screen)
  • if/how you are moving (e.g. pointing at the screen)
So for example when you get close to a video touch screen, it could turn an ad on (customized to your identity). If you look away, it could automatically pause. If you lift your hand towards it, it could switch to a navigation menu.

There are lots of potential applications for this kind of system. Just let your imagination run wild.

Expressive Computing

Matt Jones recently wrote a feature in Interactions that talks about expressive computing. He is disappointed that a lot of our technology is causing us to have less interaction with those around us. How many times have you been in a room with 10 people, all yapping away on their cell phones or absorbed in their smart phones and not noticing the real world around them.

Rather than recommending we give up our toys, he talks about some great apps (some real, some imagined) that we can use to put us back in touch with our surroundings and make the experience even better. He talks about supporting our imaginations and giving us richer real world experiences.

It's a great message. I hope his projects come to fruition and/or he motivates others to take on his message.