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Which clippings match 'Ubiquitous Computing' keyword pg.1 of 3
18 JUNE 2014

Calm Technology: designs which require only peripheral attention

"The most potentially interesting, challenging, and profound change implied by the ubiquitous computing era is a focus on calm. If computers are everywhere they better stay out of the way, and that means designing them so that the people being shared by the computers remain serene and in control. Calmness is a new challenge that UC brings to computing. When computers are used behind closed doors by experts, calmness is relevant to only a few. Computers for personal use have focused on the excitement of interaction. But when computers are all around, so that we want to compute while doing something else and have more time to be more fully human, we must radically rethink the goals, context and technology of the computer and all the other technology crowding into our lives. Calmness is a fundamental challenge for all technological design of the next fifty years. The rest of this paper opens a dialogue about the design of calm technology. ...

We use 'periphery' to name what we are attuned to without attending to explicitly. Ordinarily when driving our attention is centered on the road, the radio, our passenger, but not the noise of the engine. But an unusual noise is noticed immediately, showing that we were attuned to the noise in the periphery, and could come quickly to attend to it.

It should be clear that what we mean by the periphery is anything but on the fringe or unimportant. What is in the periphery at one moment may in the next moment come to be at the center of our attention and so be crucial. The same physical form may even have elements in both the center and periphery. The ink that communicates the central words of a text also peripherally clues us into the genre of the text though choice of font and layout.

A calm technology will move easily from the periphery of our attention, to the center, and back. This is fundamentally encalming, for two reasons.

First, by placing things in the periphery we are able to attune to many more things than we could if everything had to be at the center. Things in the periphery are attuned to by the large portion of our brains devoted to peripheral (sensory) processing. Thus the periphery is informing without overburdening.

Second, by recentering something formerly in the periphery we take control of it. Peripherally we may become aware that something is not quite right, as when awkward sentences leave a reader tired and discomforted without knowing why. By moving sentence construction from periphery to center we are empowered to act, either by finding better literature or accepting the source of the unease and continuing. Without centering the periphery might be a source of frantic following of fashion; with centering the periphery is a fundamental enabler of calm through increased awareness and power.

Not all technology need be calm. A calm videogame would get little use; the point is to be excited. But too much design focuses on the object itself and its surface features without regard for context. We must learn to design for the periphery so that we can most fully command technology without being dominated by it.

Our notion of technology in the periphery is related to the notion of affordances, due to Gibson and applied to technology by Gaver and Norman. An affordance is a relationship between an object in the world and the intentions, perceptions, and capabilities of a person. The side of a door that only pushes out affords this action by offering a flat pushplate. The idea of affordance, powerful as it is, tends to describe the surface of a design. For us the term 'affordance ' does not reach far enough into the periphery where a design must be attuned to but not attended to."

(Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown, 1997)

"The Coming Age of Calm Technology," Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown, In Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing, Peter J. Denning and Robert M. Metcalfe, New York, Springer–Verlag 1997.



1997affordancesambient awarenessaround usattentionattunementbecoming invisible • blend into the background • calm • calm technologycalmness • distributed computing • Donald Norman • encalm • encalming technology • engaged interaction • everyday thingsexcitement • explicitly • human computer interactioninteraction designJames GibsonJohn Seely Brown • Mark Weiser • peripheral attention • periphery • sensory phenomena • sensory processing • technological change • technological design • technology affordancesubiquitous computing • William Gaver • Xerox PARC


Simon Perkins
11 DECEMBER 2013

Divining a Digital Future - Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell

"Ubiquitous computing (or 'ubicomp') is the label for a 'third wave' of computing technologies. Following the eras of the mainframe computer and the desktop PC, ubicomp is characterized by small and powerful computing devices that are worn, carried, or embedded in the world around us. The ubicomp research agenda originated at Xerox PARC in the late 1980s; these days, some form of that vision is a reality for the millions of users of Internet–enabled phones, GPS devices, wireless networks, and 'smart' domestic appliances. In Divining a Digital Future, computer scientist Paul Dourish and cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell explore the vision that has driven the ubiquitous computing research program and the contemporary practices that have emerged––both the motivating mythology and the everyday messiness of lived experience.

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the authors' collaboration, the book takes seriously the need to understand ubicomp not only technically but also culturally, socially, politically, and economically. Dourish and Bell map the terrain of contemporary ubiquitous computing, in the research community and in daily life; explore dominant narratives in ubiquitous computing around such topics as infrastructure, mobility, privacy, and domesticity; and suggest directions for future investigation, particularly with respect to methodology and conceptual foundations."

Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell (2011). "Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing", MIT Press, May 2011, ISBN 978–0–262–01555–4.


1980s2011computer sciencecomputingcontemporary practices • contemporary ubiquitous computing • cultural anthropologydaily lifedesktop computer • desktop PC • Divining a Digital Future (book) • domesticity • embedded in the world around us • everyday messiness • feature phone • future investigation • Genevieve Bell • GPS devices • infrastructureinterdisciplinary collaboration • internet-enabled phones • lived experiencemainframemobility • Paul Dourish • privacyresearch communityresearch methodology • small and powerful computing devices • smart domestic appliances • smart phones • third wave of computing technologies • ubicomp • ubicomp research • ubiquitous computing • ubiquitous computing research • wireless networkswornXerox PARC


Liam Birtles
10 NOVEMBER 2013

FlyKly: Kickstarter proposal for a Smart Wheel with app integration

"Smart Wheel is a pedal assist which means it helps you ride your bike effortlessly. The motor turns on when you start pedaling and begins accelerating to your desired speed. It stops when you stop. It saves you time by getting you to your destination faster and gets you there without losing your breath or breaking a sweat. ...

FlyKly App allows you to control and monitor the Smart Wheel. It also offers many other features like safety, support and social connectivity. It's available for free for iOS and Android devices with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and for the Pebble Watch."

(Niko Klansek, FlyKly)




all-in-oneAndroid OS • app integration • bicyclebicycle wheelsbluetoothconnectivity • cycling habits • Darko Osterversnik • data collectiondesign innovation • dynamo • e-bike • electric bicycle • electric motor • environmentally conscious design • FlyKly • FlyKly App • GPS monitoring • integrated electric wheeliOS • Janez Frantar • Kickstarter proposal • Klemen Nagode • light weight • livable cities • Marko Jurincic • Matej Colja • motor • Niko Klansek • pedal assist • Peter Frantar • Peter Osterversnik • product designprototype • Rok Cresnik • Samo Frantar • SloveniaSlovenian • smartwatch • social connectivity • technology innovation • The Pebble (watch) • ubiquitous computingurban sustainabilitywheel


Simon Perkins
11 APRIL 2012

Towards a Performative Aesthetics of Interactivity

"I identify a two–decade period – roughly speaking 1985–2005 – as the pioneering experimental period of (computer based) interactive art. Crucial to the understanding of work in this period is the blindingly rapid development of the technological context. At the beginning of the period the graphical user interface was a novelty, the internet barely existed, the web was a decade away, interactivity was an intriguing concept. The production of acceptably high resolution illusionistic digital pictures (still frames) was an active research area and a megabyte of RAM was something luxurious.

The period neatly brackets the emergence of most of the major technological milestones which now undergird digital culture and ubiquitous computing: WYSIWYG, digital multimedia, hypermedia, virtual reality, the internet, the world wide web, digital video, real–time graphics, digital 3D, mobile telephony, GPS, Bluetooth and other mobile and wireless communication systems. It was a period of rapid technological change, euphoria and hype."

(Simon Penny, 2011)

Simon Penny (2011). "Towards a Performative Aesthetics of Interactivity", Fibreculture Journal, issue 19 2011: Ubiquity.

Fig.1 Sniff and Performative Ecologies were included in Emergence, a show of Artificial Life Art curated by Simon Penny and David Familian at the Beall Center for Art and Technology, University of California Irvine, December 2009–April 2010. Regrettably Performative Ecologies did not function as designed during the exhibition.



19852005academic journal • artificial life art • bluetoothcomputer based interactive artconvergencecross-disciplinarydesign historydesign researcherdigital 3Ddigital culturedigital multimediadigital videofibrecultureFibreculture JournalGPSgraphical user interfacehistory • honeymoon period • hypermedia • illusionistic digital pictures • interactive artinteractivityInternetmedia art • megabyte • mobile and wireless communication systems • mobile telephony • multimedianew medianovelty • performative ecologies • pioneering experimental period • RAM • rapid development • rapid technological changereal-time graphics • Simon Penny • speculative designtechnological changetechnological context • technological milestones • timelineubiquitous computingverisimilitudevirtual realityvisualisationweb designworld wide webWYSIWYG


Simon Perkins
27 JANUARY 2012

Urban Informatics Research Lab: transdisciplinary research cluster

"The increasing ubiquity of digital technology, internet services and location–aware applications in our everyday lives allows for a seamless transitioning between the visible and the invisible infrastructure of cities: road systems, building complexes, information and communication technology and people networks create a buzzing environment that is alive and exciting.

Driven by curiosity, initiative and interdisciplinary exchange, the Urban Informatics Research Lab at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is a transdisciplinary cluster of people working on research and development at the intersection of people, place and technology with a focus on cities, locative media and mobile technology."

(Marcus Foth)

Fig.1 QUT Urban Informatics researchers Markus Rittenbruch and Mark Bilandzik talk about the role of data in their work with street computing and the Creative Industries Urban Informatics research lab.



applied researchAustralia • building complexes • built environmentcities • city infrastructure • crowdsourcingdigital technologyeverydayinformaticsinformation and communication technologyinterdisciplinary • internet services • invisible infrastructure • locationlocation-aware applicationslocation-basedlocation-specificlocative mediamobile technologynetworksopen datapeople and technology • places and technology • QUTresearch and developmentresearch centre • road systems • situated data • street computing • transdisciplinary • transdisciplinary cluster • ubiquitous computingurbanurban dataurban environmenturban informatics • Urban Informatics Research La


Simon Perkins

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