Tag Archives: Technology

Audio, Haptics and other changes in the way we interact with technology

6 Mar

SXSW kicks off on the 9th and I’m looking forward to seeing what particular hits, misses and hypes come up.

But beyond the usual “marketing tech” I think the most interesting areas at the moment are around the way we physically interact with technology and media.

Two of the most innovative areas are Audio and Haptic technologies.

Audio

Audio in interaction design terms has been a long neglected area that is now exploding in terms of possibility and the potential for mainstream exploitation and adoption. The poster-child is obviously Siri on the iPhone 4s or Iris on Android but Ford has been employing Microsoft Sync—which also uses voice control extensively—in its cars for a few years, even in lower cost vehicles aimed at younger drivers. However, it is the use of Audio based interactions in the real or entertainment worlds where the interesting applications apply.

Sonic Notify is an interesting example. It uses Audio detection to deliver tailored and synched media content to people in a store, in front of a TV or at a concert. The media is actually transferred over audio via “the communication of data in the ultra high-frequency inaudible range between any speaker and microphone. The [Sonic Notify] decoding algorithm enables a common process for extracting data from audio using any microphone on any smartphone or tablet.”

If you can cope with the intense American spokes-model-weirdo below there’s an interesting demo:

Media can effectively “piggy back” on TV soundtracks, store PA systems, or radio ads and offer a richer experience without people having to use their own data allowances.

Similar Audio driven interactions are found in the eBay Application which synchs content and goods displayed with the TV programme people are watching – more Retail TV than Social TV or IntoNow.

Haptics

Haptic technology is all about touch. It is incredibly personal and all about giving natural instantly understandable feedback to people. It is when technology starts to make a physical connection with people. It has been described as “doing for the sense of touch what computer graphics does for vision”.

We’re starting to see more high end implementations such Surgical Robots but the idea is leaking into more and more concept products such as the Seabird phone.

Or even concept haptic speakers.

sourdine_arnaud_lapierre_yatzer_2

Or potentially something (anything) that could save the Blackberry smart-ish-phone.

But ultimately Haptics is more than waving your hands or body in the air (Kinect) or trying to use a holographic projection or wall mounted Tablet (like Samsung’s CES Innovation award-winning Smart Window) which rapidly leads to a heavy, tired sensation, or “Gorilla Arm” as Human Computer Interface designers call it.

It is about creating a dynamic tactile medium which should be able to tangibly represent almost anything. That might be through a descendent of deformable materials (Shape Memory-alloy or Electroactive Polymers) or a descendent of haptic holography.

It is the Tangible User Interface and will play a big role in the future of mobile devices or even flexible eReader Paper.

So far, so Sci-fi, but could Haptic technology make the mainstream sooner than we think? If there’s anyone who can the technology into real people’s hands – not just those of early adopters – it’s the people at Apple.

The invite to the iPad 3 (or iPad HD?) launch hints that “We have something you really have to see. And touch” and people are taking this to be a trial for possible use of haptics.

If so it could be “a technology from Senseg, a Finnish startup which has developed a system called E-Sense which appears to give texture to a touchscreen. By using “tixels” generated by electric fields from elements embedded around the screen, it can make areas of the screen feel rough, ridged or rounded – and change those just as the screen pixels can change.” Guardian.

We’ll see soon. It could be hype.

It could be a red herring.

it could be a disappointment like the iPhone 5.

Hopefully it won’t be as under-whelming and over-priced as iAds. ;-)

Trends for 2012 (and 2011)

13 Jan

JWT Intelligence in New York have put together their Annual Trend presentation – JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2012

 

There’s lots of nice examples and from my own perspective I believe 2012 is all about the multi-screen strategy – with multi-screen UX & content strategies optimised by data analytics directly linked to business metrics.

This increasing focus on analytics and earned/owned media will mean that the capability of analysing large data sets will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus.

But then what do I know? Anyway, while clearing out my folders I found the note below which was my list of predictions for 2011. Hopefully I’ll be able to follow some of them up with examples over the next few weeks. The future ones for the next 5 years are a bit miserable though…

5 Questions related to the digital consumer experience for 2011

  1. “How can we move beyond reacting quickly and actually anticipate people’s needs in advance?”
  2. “What happens when mobile is someone’s only experience of the web?”
  3. “What happens when language is no longer a barrier and influences are global?”
  4. 
“How can we grab people’s attention when there is so much out there vying for it?”
  5. 
“How will people respond as more and more of their information and actions are public?”


Technology Themes for 2011

  • Real-time tracking, business transparency and flexibility
  • 
LTE, Streaming Home networks & personalised, on-demand content
  • Voice recognition, privacy groups and collaboration
  • Sensors & Internet of Things
Personalisation and predictive assistance
  • 
Multi-touch, portability and work/personal blending
  • 
Cloud-based entertainment subscriptions
  • 
Virtual Telepresence
  • Tangible User Interface
  • Geolocation, Game-mechanics, Digital to real social
  • Gaming and SocialTV intersection
  • Personal relationships, Cloud-computing and Single customer view
  • 
Automatic multi-tasking and background activity


Possible wider cultural trends & influences for the next 5 years

  • The admission (and panic) that we hit peak oil in mid-00′s
  • 
4th wave of global financial crisis (2nd wave 2011/12, 3rd 2016)
  • 
Power and food prices rocket (200% increase in consumer electricity and gas costs by 2015)
  • 
A marked increase in societal polarisation in western economies as the middle-class dissipates and states fragment.
  • China secures (financially & militarily) its ownership of natural and economic resources abroad
  • 
First wave of massive Malthusian positive checks
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