Five Cases: From Mobile Devices to Interaction Landscaping and the City

Five Cases: From Mobile Devices to Interaction Landscaping and the City

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-653-7.ch007
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Case 1. Mobility: Supporting People Moving Around In Places

The first case presented in this section of the book contains the description and analysis of five mobile prototype systems developed which each of these systems demonstrate a different way of framing the physical environment and how it comes into use as a resource in design of mobile services and devices. These systems include:

  • RoamWare: A mobile system for dynamic group communication

  • FolkMusic: A peer-to-peer system for mobile music sharing

  • MoveInfo: A concept design for interaction landscape access

  • Negotiator: Availability management in the interaction landscape

  • Midgets: Concept for application mobility across interaction landscapes

In all of these five projects, the digital aspects of our surrounding is highlighted as to make us aware of this “interaction grid” laid out across our physical world, and how we potentially could benefit from this in the design of new products and services.

Given an understanding of our environment as a surrounding interaction landscape which we can move through, interact with others in, and get access to information-, and interaction services and computational power at anytime, anywhere we can also start to portrait digital services that live on top of this computerized environment. One such environment will enable us to interact with each other while moving from being co-located to geographically dispersed, across different interaction channels, and indirectly via the physical environment.

My first example, called RoamWare (Wiberg, 2001), enabled people to seamlessly “roam” between physical and virtual meetings. The RoamWare system supported smooth transitions from physical co-located mobile meetings to online group communication by relying on a novel dynamic group addressing technique enabled by mobile devices equipped with short range radio communication capabilities similar to Bluetooth to create dynamic contact/buddy lists depending on the persons present in the physical vicinity during a face-to-face conversation.

While the RoamWare system was build with mobile and dynamic work groups in mind, the FolkMusic system (2004) builds on similar technologies, in this case mobile devices and short-range ad-hoc networks, but is a system that support strangers to find new pieces of music that might be available at the current location or via nearby persons. The system support both identification of new music from other inhabitants in the environment as well as discovery of pieces of music left at a certain location by use of GPS coordinates.

My third example is called MoveInfo (Wiberg, 2008). In this project we conceptually explored the possibility to enable the carrying of information objects from one location in the interaction landscape to another location by use of mobile devices. In more concrete terms, the setting for this project was the control room in a process industry in which we explored how to seamlessly pick information objects from big control rooms displays and carry these “live data” objects out in the plant. Here relied on stationary computers, mobile devices and wireless networking as parts of the interaction landscape to realize this service.

From an interaction landscape point of view I think about this project in terms of enabling integrations across the interaction, and the challenge we tried to address in this undertaking can be thought of in terms of separated “computational islands” that can be bridged by wireless technologies and mobile devices. This project thus illustrated how we can make use of the digital material to overcome informational barriers in the current geography, i.e. in the traditional plant the machines were located in the factory and the information was location in the control room, but through the current digitalization of our environment this division is now no longer necessary. Instead, information objects can now easily be brought to any new location, accessed from anywhere, and redirected to any other device or computational resource across the interaction landscape.

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