Some smartphone evolution diagrams

Two visualizations (among many others) from unknown authors.

smartphone-evol iphoneiphone

This two-pages document is from a magazine called EPOCA:

epoca

A simple series with some design parameters presented with icons from 3oneseven:

3oneseven

The next one is made by Bogdan Răuţă for usell.com:

BogdanRăuţă

Why do I blog this? I recently started a project about smartphone gestures, a sort of follow-up to Curious Rituals. These representations (which are not perfect of course) are relevant for that matter, as they show how different parameters evolved over time. 

Fortress of Solitude: exploring the near-future of “smart home”

"Fortress of Solitude" by Space Caviar (Simone Niquille), sound by M.E.S.H:

"is an essay film in three chapters investigating the technology used to make the home smarter. The internet and alternative network protocols are the backbone to home automation. Much of the technology infused into homes and our everyday lives have a history of defense funding or only exist because of military research. Is the smart home in fact a militarisation of the domestic, home.mil? Is our home becoming a data machine rather than architecture for living? Are our most privates spaces broadcasting our lives involuntarily instead of providing shelter?"

Why do I blog this? Both because the topic is important wrt to recent project (cloud computing project, as well as smart cities scouting reports), and because the format itself is intriguing. This is a great exemple of how design work materialize issues, situations and consequences of domestic technologies.

The World Of Self-Driving Cars

It’s easy to get all..Silicon Valley when drooling over the possibility of a world chock-full of self-driving cars.

The fact of the matter is that a world where self-driving cars are a reality will be as prickly as the world today, only Algorithms will be the source of our frustration rather than other drivers..at least until the underground of self-driving car retrofits, mods and hacks come along and everything goes all amuck despite Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon’s best efforts to convince us things are better..

SF Chron_2_REV

TMZ

It’s easy to speculate breathlessly about the world of the future when the self-driving car is normal, ordinary and everyday. However, when an idea moves from speculation to designed product the work necessary to bring it into the world means that it is necessary to consider the many facets of its existence — the who, what, how, when, why’s of the self-driving car. To address these questions we took a sideways glance at it by forcing ourselves to write the quick-start guide for a typical self-driving car.

A Quick Start Guide as Design Fiction Archetype

To spark a conversation around the larger questions regarding a technology that could substantially change mobility in the future we followed a Design Fiction approach to produce this Quick Start Guide.

Our Quick Start Guide is a 14-page z-fold document from the near future. It’s a reminder that every great technology needs instructions for the uninitiated. That instruction may be a document, a tutor from a friend, ‘rider’ instructions — something that gives a feel of the things car owners might do first and do often with their first self-driving vehicle. Get your copy.

qsg_images12

This Design Fiction archetype is a natural way to focus on the human experiences around complicated systems. It implies a larger ecosystem that indeed may be quite complex. It also allows one to raise a topic of concern without resolving it completely — often an approach that’s necessary in order to not be bogged down in details before it’s necessary. For example, mentioning that it costs more to park your car rather than sending it back on the roadway as a taxi is a way to open a conversation about such a possibility and its implications for reclaiming space used by parking garages. In the Quick Start Guide, you will find:

  • What do you do if you forget a bag of groceries — or your sleeping child — after sending your self-driving car off for the evening to earn a few shekels in ‘Uber’ mode?
  • Is there a geo-fencing mechanisms to control where the car goes — and how fast it goes?
  • How do you activate and lock the “Child Safe Mode” for your teenage son to take to football practice?
  • Does it conform to ISO1851 Codified Child Rearing Mandates and Findings?
  • How does the car pickup groceries — and how do you upload the list — when you send it on errands?
  • Will you pick a car based on the size and features of its Cold-n-Hot Grocery Trunk?
  • What do you do when the display shows “Unknown Profile”?
  • Does your self-driving car obey the most recent DoT Emergency Maneuvers requirements?
  • How do you activate ValetPark®, Amazon PrimeValet®, EverDrive™, RE-FRESH™ and of course the agnostic Interior Ambience by Amazon®?
  • Which countries/protectorates/jurisdictions allow a total car history reset?
  • How to install your Dynamic Insurance plug-in from your insurance providers’ download site?
  • What supplementary fees does the car charge for using Apple Roadways?
  • And more…

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The Design Fiction Workshop

The Quick Start Guide was produced as part of a workshop at IxDA 2015 in collaboration with students from the California College of the Arts and conference participants. In a short amount of time, we  identified the key systems that implicate the human aspects of a self-driving car and we brought to life such experiences in a very tangible, compelling fashion for designers, engineers, gurus, and anyone else involved in the development of a technology. Through the collective production of Quick Start Guide it became a totem through which we could discuss the consequences, raise design considerations and hopefully shape decision making.

The Design Fiction approach led to:

  • Better thinking around new products, a richer story and good, positive, creative work.
  • Identify topics that may not come up when discussing the larger system.
  • Create rather than just debate, and represent topics concisely to focus the work and challenge us to describe features succinctly.
  • Experience the consequences and implications of a world with self-driving vehicles.

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Infrastructure-Platform-shutterstock_173237231

The Assumptions

Visions of exciting future things rarely look at the normal, ordinary, everyday aspects of what life will be like to turn the thing on, fix a data leak, set a preference, manage subscriber settings, address a bandwidth problem, initiate a warranty request for a chipped screen or increase storage. It’s those everyday experiences — after the gloss of the new purchase has worn off — that tell a rich story about life with a self-driving vehicle. In this project, we made a few category assumptions.

  1. The self-driving vehicle is all about the data. When Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and/or Apple become part of the vehicle “ecosystem” — either by making cars, having their operating system integral to the car, owning roadways or whatever their strategy teams are dreaming up — they will do it because #data. To them it will be about knowing who is going where, when they’re going there, to get what; it will be about knowing when your tires are wearing down; it will be to give you discounts when send your car to get Pizza Hut for dinner; it will be to have your car go through the Amazon Pantry Pickup Warehouse to do your grocery shopping. The data.
  2. As fundamental as mobility is to humans, owning a network of millions of interoperable vehicles is big business. Apple’s vehicle ecosystem will be always moving, as will Google-Uber’s. It will cost you more to park your self-driving car because it can earn money for them (and maybe you) by putting it into “Taxi” or “Uber” mode when it’s dropped you off at work. This led us to consider what one might need to do if one’s car has strangers in it while you’re at work, or the movies, or asleep. And what will happen to all those parking garages?
  3. Roadways will be the new platform play. How will (or will not) roadways that are owned by Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and/or Apple interoperate? Will Google have the best, fastest, least congested roadways in Los Angeles? What are the consequences of switching to semi-partial manual drive mode? What happens when those Fast and Furious guys figure out how to jailbreak their vehicle’s OS and supercode the engine?

Get Your Quick Start Guide

To experience those assumptions, get the copy of your first self-driving car Quick Start Guide.

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Acknowledgments

The Quick Start Guide is a Near Future Laboratory project produced based on a workshop at IxDA 2015 in collaboration with students from the California College of the Arts and conference participants:

  • Rafi Ajl (CCA)
  • Phil Balagtas (GE Global Research)
  • Sankalp Bhatnagar (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Julian Bleecker (Near Future Laboratory)
  • Maru Carrion-Lopez (CCA)
  • Wendy Cown (Charles Schwab & Co.)
  • Bill DeRouchey (Aviation GE)
  • Blake Engel (Nextbit)
  • Nick Foster (Near Future Laboratory)
  • Cristina Gaitan (CCA)
  • Susan Hosking (GE Global Research)
  • Shani Jayant (Intel)
  • Flemming Jessen (Designit)
  • Zhouxing Lu (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Chris Noessel (Cooper)
  • Anna Mansour (Intel)
  • Nicolas Nova (Near Future Laboratory)
  • Angelica Rosenzweigcastillo (GE Global Research)
  • Margaret Shear (Margaret Shear | Experience Design)
  • Liam Woods (CCA)
  • Aijia Yan (Google).

Special thanks to John Sueda, Ben Fullerton and Raphael Grignani.

Probable Possible Preferable Futures

candy

Futures research, foresight and speculative design often use the notion of "possible", "potential", "plausible" and "preferable" future. See for instance the work by Stuart Candy who uses the diagram above based on the work of different researchers. This typology is described in more details in these two articles:

Hancock, T. & Bezold, C. (1994). Possible futures, preferable futures. Healthcare Forum Journal, vol. 37, no. 2, 23–29

Voros, J. (2001). A Primer on Futures Studies, Foresight and the Use of Scenarios, prospect, the Foresight Bulletin, No 6, Swinburne University of Technology

Why do I blog this? It seems that this graph spread like an internet meme, and it's relevant to get back to how it has been produced, why and how.

Design Ethnography poster

designethno

Here's a photo of the poster we presented two weeks ago at the European Academy of Design Conference in Paris. It's based on a research project conducted at HEAD – Genève which led to this book (we're working on a second edition). The diagrams depicts the different profiles of designers (regarding the way to carry out field research in their projects) and the set of steps they go through (from producing data to analyzing them and creating design elements out of it). This is the type of process I am using in my workshops about design ethnography, as a pedagogical tool to help participants. We're going to use it in the upcoming studio organized with Annelore Schneider at the Geneva School of Art and Design in order to explore the future of mobile photography.

The graphic design has been done by Fabienne Kilchör and Sebastien Fasel from emphase.ch

Short Cuts between art, design and technology

shortcuts1

"Short Cuts" is a fascinating exhibit at Centre Pasquart (Biel, Switzerland) curated by my colleague Daniel Sciboz, with the collaboration of Jean-Louis Boissier :

"At a time in which the digital is omnipresent, the interdisciplinary group exhibition Short Cuts highlights the dialogue between two generations of artists who operate between art, design and technology. This comparison makes clear how technology and its influences are present in the electronic arts of our own times as well as in the concrete and kinetic art of the 60s and 70s. In these works we see graphic design, algorithms, innovative production processes of series and new kinds of aesthetic forms. Comparable with the view through a kaleidoscope, the exhibition allows access to a variety of formal and discursive approaches which refer to the interplay between the increasingly digitalised world in which we live and artistic practices influenced by digital media."

Some examples below, among many inspiring pieces.

Sphère-trame by François Morellet

Sphère-trame by François Morellet

Archive U.768 by NORM

Archive U.768 by NORM

Archive U.768 by NORM

Archive U.768 by NORM

Karl Gerstner's Le Grand Oeuvre revisited as a game by Douglas-Edric Stanley and Antonin Fourneau

Karl Gerstner's Le Grand Oeuvre revisited as a game by Douglas-Edric Stanley and Antonin Fourneau

Retrocompatible Museum by Antonin Fourneau and Douglas-Edric Stanley

Retrocompatible Museum by Antonin Fourneau and Douglas-Edric Stanley

http://www.neogeocity.com by Rafael Rozendaal (left) and FRAMED 2.0 by Yugo Nakamura and William Lai.

http://www.neogeocity.com by Rafael Rozendaal (left) and FRAMED 2.0 by Yugo Nakamura and William Lai.


“Teacher of algorithms”: the IoT equivalent to goldfarmers

"Teacher of Algorithms" by Simone Rebaudengo and commissioned by thingtank.org/ is an highly intriguing project "built with Cardboard and a lot of randomness". It's basically an exploration of algorithm training, how "smart/learning objects" are not finished entities and can evolve by observing contextual data such a people's habits.

Why do I blog this? A fascinating speculative exploration of an important topic; i love the notion of "teach of algorithm" based on the fact that people might be too lazy to train their so-called smart things. It's the "internet of things" equivalent to goldfarmers to some extent. Besides that, the future mundane flavor is great in there.

Visioconference-while-walking

visioselfie

Some serious business going on here: a Facetime-enabled visioconference operated while walking (seen in Geneva, Switzerland). Verbal and non-verbal communication in the context of a heated debate on a subject I could not parse because of my lack of knowledge of this language.

Why do I blog this? Such situation is nonetheless utterly fascinating as a curious rituals happening these days (with or without a selfie-stick). The "private bubble" located in the public sphere in a new way with different instruments.

Networked coffee-machine

coffeemachine

This coffee machine encountered at the University of Lausanne (thanks Olivier G. for pointing me this example) seems like an interesting example of an everyday situation reconfigured by digital technology. Apart from cash, coffee drinkers can use their RFID "campus card" (see the plastic things that hold the card on the reader), which also happens to open door and pay restaurants among other tasks:

coffeemachine2

Why do I blog this? documenting the digital everyday, as mundane as it may be.

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