Marco Susani on Mobile Networks

Marco Susani, Director Advanced Concepts Group at Motorola, had some interesting words on what he calls “Aura Networks” that captures succinctly the nature of networks that are more like social meteorology than the tinkertoy network graphs we&#039re used to. It&#039s not a new conversation on Susani&#039s part. It&#039s a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussions about what mobile communities “look like.” It&#039s nice to have the actual audio of the presentation.

You can listen to his presentation from the Ars Electronica Festival website

Projects & Provocations

  • Flickr Photos
  • Some things The Laboratory did in 2009
  • Design Fiction: A Short Essay on Design, Science, Fact and Fiction
  • An Apparatus for Capturing Other Points of View (Camera on a Pole)
  • Writings & Essays A few written things.
  • Presentations A few presentations.
  • Flavonoid
    Small time-motion-touch sensing device that translate physical activity in the real world into digital form. An investigation in how 1st life and 2nd, online life can be linked in various playful ways.
  • Slow Messenger
    Messages sent are revealed through a pocket device based on how much time you have spent holding and carrying the device. An investigation in various strategies by which the digital age can consider the spirit of affinity from pre-digital correspondence. Part of The Near Future Laboratory’s Ironics line of lifestyle mobile devices.
  • Drift Deck The Drift Deck (Analog Edition) is an algorithmic puzzle game used to navigate city streets. A deck of cards is used as instructions that guide you as you drift about the city. Each card contains an object or situation, followed by a simple action. For example, a situation might be — you see a fire hydrant, or you come across a pigeon lady. The action is meant to be performed when the object is seen, or when you come across the described situation. For example — take a photograph, or make the next right turn. The cards also contain writerly extras, quotes and inspired words meant to supplement your wandering about the city. For Conflux 2008 Psychogeography Festival.
  • Projects Briefly Brief descriptions of several select projects.
  • MobZombies is a hand-held video game in which zombies are chasing the player and the player is a human joystick. By running and turning, the player controls the on-screen avatar. The game uses a custom sensor board, Bluetooth and runs as a J2ME application. An experiment in post-GUI interaction, and less about augmented reality.
  • PSX is a game controller designer for the PS2. The controller must be “fueled” before play with the use of an attachable Flavonoid. By carrying Flavonoid with you, you generate fuel for the controller. The controller will “play” only as long as there is fuel available. When the fuel begins to run out, the controller behaves sluggishly and finally gives out completely. Part of The Near Future Laboratory’s Ironics line of lifestyle mobile devices.
  • PDPal An experiment in new interactions around exploring geography, urban space and landscape using alternative mapping and map-making strategies and devices.
  • Battleship: Google Earth is a provocation for new forms of digital play where the board game “Battleship” is played using the world as the game grid, integrating digital environments, GPS devices and geography, landscape and the normal human world.
  • Early Work and Art-Technology Projects


  • This is the notebook for The Near Future Laboratory, a design-to-think collaborative studio that combines insight and analysis with design and research with rapid prototyping to create potent provocative sometimes preposterous ideas into material form. We’re a think/make design & research network focusing on digital interaction designs based on "weak signals" from the fringes of digital culture, where the near-future already exists. We turn those weak signals into material form by rapidly constructing prototypes of innovative designs for near-future concepts.

    We focus on creating implications and provocations well beyond the commercial mainstream. There is nothing here for sale and most of these things make little sense in a normal, for-profit context. We are not a corporation, or patent-wielding design studio. We work from our instincts, self-commissioning ourselves with our time, personal finances, and human sweat to do what we feel needs to be done. Our stories about the Near Future come from our imaginations, materialized as physical explanations and conversations pieces. We are not for our own profit, nor anyone else’s.

    Our goal is to understand how imaginations become materialized through various strategies and approaches and thereby swerve the present into new, more habitable near future worlds. We are a loose network of near future scouts dispersed hither and yon. Our conversations happen in between ourselves and our federated human & non-human collaborators.

    We recently dispersed an essay capturing many of our interests and approaches to thinking about how to remake the world called “Design Fiction: A short essay on design, science, fact and fiction”. More publications can be found here.

    Contact Us Send an email to julian [at] nearfuturelaboratory [dot] com or nicolas [at] nearfuturelaboratory [dot] com or fabien [at] nearfuturelaboratory [dot] com.