Most Awesome Diagram. Ever.

September 10th, 2010

Take that rabbit!

Calvin, W. H. “The unitary hypothesis”, in “Tools, Language and Cognition in Human Evolution”, Gibson, K. and Ingold, T. (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 1993.

UED2010 Wk 1: Getting moving

September 10th, 2010

Our first week in the course. Here are some brief notes.


  • Introduced the course by going through the course profile.
  • Handed out the toolboxes with arduinos, breadboard, multimeters, servo motors, and some simple tools.
  • Pulled apart some gadgets which everyone had brought in. Looked at the components inside and discussed what the functions might be.
  • Tried to get the Arduinos hooked up and running, but we ran out of time, so I asked the students to do this before the next class.


  • Started by checking that everyone’s arduino was working. There were some problems with the drivers for the serial port for a couple of people, but we managed to get that working. Also, need to check that Nano board is selected with Atmega168 rather than Atmega328.
  • Described the pins on the nano board and showed how to attach a servo motor.
  • Played around with the example servo sweep program, tried different values in the loops to make the servo move at different speeds.
  • Went down to the e-lab and collected some components (potentiometers, hook-up wire, and resistors).
  • Added a potentiometer and pull-down resistor to the circuit and used the example servo knob program so we could control the position of the servo by turning the knob.
  • Used Serial.println commands to look at what values were being read from the potentiometer and adjust the program.
  • Used character-movement tinkering cards to choose a movement and character to design for.

Task for next Tuesday:

With the character and movement cards your group chose, try to tinker a kinetic sculpture driven by the servo motor that moves in a way that expresses those qualities. For example, if your words were ‘fierce leaping’ you need to create a sculpture that somehow leaps in a fierce way.

See Ben Hopson’s kinetic work for lots of ideas for how to create interesting movements out of very simple materials.

Wii balance board + sneakers

September 8th, 2010

NIKE78 – Nick Marsh | ‘NIKE Wiis’ from NIKE78 on Vimeo.

Uuum, I’m not sure about this. It looks like he’s having trouble standing up or something.

Gestural rhythmicity

September 5th, 2010

Tony Orrico: Penwald: 2: 8 circles (2009)

“The second part of Gesture and Speech is entitled ‘Memory and Rhythms’, and it is above all in Leroi-Gourhan’s attention to the rhythmicity of technical activity, rather than its grounding in social memory, that this counter-argument appears. A great many operations, he observes, entail the regular repetition of certain manual gestures: these include hammering, sawing and scraping. And whether or not the artisan has an idea in mind of the final form of the artefact he is making, the actual form emerges from the pattern of rhythmic movement, not from the idea.” (Ingold, 2009, p.438)

Ingold, T. (1999). ‘Tools for the Hand, Language for the Face’: An Appreciation of Leroi-Gourhan’s Gesture and Speech. Studies in the History of Philosophy Biololgy and Biomedical Sciences, 30(4), 411-453. 

Materialities Influencing the Design Process Workshop

September 3rd, 2010


The week before last, I was at the Designing Interactive Systems conference. I was there as one of the organizers of a one day workshop on the topic of ‘Materialities Influencing the Design Process’. We haven’t managed to make much of a synthesis of the outcomes of the workshop yet, but I have got the documentation for the day up on line:

And here’s the abstract from the workshop website:

The use of material artefacts within the design process is a long-standing and continuing characteristic of interaction design. Established methods, such as prototyping, which have been widely adopted by educators and practitioners, are seeing renewed research interest and being reconsidered in light of the evolving needs of the field. Alongside this, the past decade has seen the introduction and adoption of a diverse range of novel design methods into interaction design, such as cultural probes, technology probes, context mapping, and provotypes.

Yet, interaction design does not have a cohesive framework for understanding this diverse range of practices. Such a framework would assist practitioners in comparing and choosing between methods across the different stages, contexts and stakeholder relations within a design process. It seems that one fruitful place to start in addressing this lack is to focus in on the common characteristic that these practices share of materialities influencing the design process. This workshop proposes to bring together practitioners, educators, and researchers to discuss and begin the development of a shared understanding around this theme.

Dourish quote

June 22nd, 2010

“…tangible computing has been explored, largely, as a practical exercise. Most prototypes have been developed opportunistically, driven as much by the availability of sensor technology and the emergence of new control devices as by a reasoned understanding of the role of physicality in interaction. We have various clues and pointers, but there is no theory of tangible interaction.” (Dourish, P. “Where the action is” p.52)

Feyerabend quote

June 19th, 2010

“Creation of a thing, and creation plus full understanding of a a correct idea of the thing, are very often parts of one and the same indivisible process and cannot be separated without bringing the process to a stop.” (Feyerabend, P. “Against Method” p.17).

Lego Augmented Reality

February 20th, 2010

Nice use of augmented reality on this Lego packaging. I haven’t seen this myself yet. Must keep an eye out the next time we’re down town.

Design Pattern Template

April 16th, 2009
Design pattern template in rtf format.

Design pattern template in rtf format.

A template for documenting design patterns for this week’s HCI task is now available on the HCI course page. To use the template, download the document and edit it to replace all the red text with your own. Change the images also.

The template is based on the format of those in the Yahoo! design pattern library. You can visit there to see some concrete examples of the kind of information that should be in a pattern description as well as for inspiration on the kinds of things that patterns can be about.

HCI Week 8: Situated Actions

April 16th, 2009
Image Credit: manifestcreative

Image Credit: manifestcreative

It has taken me a while, but I have finally finished putting up a summary of the lecture on Situated Actions from week 8.

A summary for this week’s lecture will be coming soon (I promise).