Here I’m thinking about apps outside the computer, and apps that know where they are. This is probably the least thought-out of my six because all I’m really identifying is that:
- There are platforms to run simple applications outside the computer, like the Chumby (top-left) which is basically a desktop widgets container which could be an alarm clock or an RSS reader, and has sensors and wifi built-in. It’s not in your computer, it’s in your house (gosh, and I desperately want one).
- There are display devices to move information off your screen and into your room, like the Nabaztag (thanks Chris Heathcote for the image) in the top-right.
- We can interact with technology in a situated way, as with Timo Arnall’s RFID desk (bottom-left). There are RFIDs containing phone numbers under the desk, and Timo can plan his phone on a spot to activate that number, or text that person, or change his profile or whatever. The interface is drawn on.
- Then finally, bottom-right, there are powerful ways of outputting data. People have always wanted to play with augmented reality where the world is overlaid with computer-generated representations of data, and now we can have a poor-man’s version of it. ARToolkit – and the picture is from Timo Arnall again – is a cross-platform, open-source toolkit for taking a video image, augmenting patterns of it, and displaying the layered video on the screen.
All of these things are suddenly in our hands and networked. Exciting days!
Matt Webb, S&W, posted 2006-09-21 (talks on 2006-09-03, 2006-09-17)