According to the Ambient Information Systems Workshop (Ubicomp 08), ambient info systems are "a large set of applications that publish information a highly non-intrusive manner, following on from Mark Weiser's concept of calm technology.".
"The current research in pervasive and ubiquitous computing suggests a future in which we are surrounded by innumerable information sources, all competing for our attention. These information sources may manifest as both novel devices and as devices embedded in common objects, such as refrigerators, automobiles, toys, furniture, clothes, and even our own bodies."
"While this vision of the future has prompted great advancements in context-aware computing, wireless connectivity, multi-sensor platforms, smart materials, and location-tracking technologies, there is a concern that this proliferation of technology will increasingly overwhelm us with information. Our belief is that information should move seamlessly between the periphery and the center of one’s attention, and that good technology is highly transparent. We see ambient information systems as a way to support these ideas."Ambient Information Systems Pics linked from Infosthetics:
Real-time data panoramas: "Once the stock market opens, our 3D simulation comes to life & people start 'breathing' business information" via Bashiba.com
" BASHIBA Panorama exploits the visual perceptual capabilities of the human brain.
It harnesses untapped brain power."
Glowcap Ambient Pill Cap via rxvitality.com
"Ever forget to take a pill? Watch "how it works" video.
Ambient Devices Energy Joule via Ambient Devices
"Save Money. Help the Planet. Track energy prices and your energy use with a simple night light."
This device provides you with the weather forecast for the day, the day's high temperature, tthe current cost of electricity, your current energy usage, rewards for using less energy, and signal strength.
The sensor based Affective Diary is a collaborative project between Microsoft Research and the Interaction Lab at SICS. You can download the code from the application page. The source code is available as a Visual Studio 2005 solution. Here is a screenshot:
"To expand on the ways in which we creatively engage in diary-keeping, we have designed an affective diary that captures some of the physical, bodily aspects of experiences and emotions—what we refer to as “affective body memorabilia”. The affective diary assembles sensor data, captured from the user and uploaded via their mobile phone, to form an ambiguous, abstract colourful body shape. With a range of other materials from the mobile phone, such as text and MMS messages, photographs, etc., these shapes are made available to the user. Combining these materials, the diary is designed to invite reflection and to allow the user to piece together their own stories."
Ambient Persuasive Mug via Ads of the World
"The external surface of the cup is printed with a second layer of heat sensitive ink that is revealed when hot water is poured into the cup."
Road Temperature Warning
Visual road temperature warning via NewScientistTech
"Intelligent paint turns roads pink in icy conditions"
Calm Technologies in a Multimedia World - Alexandru Tugui
(Ubiquity: Information Everywhere!)
Nimio - via setbang -Johanna Brewer
"a system comprised of a series of physical objects designed as individual playthings, but wirelessly networked via RF to act as both input and output devices for a collective visualization of distributed activity. These hand-held, translucent silicone toys have embedded sensors (for input) and 3 colors of LEDs (for output) which allow them to be reactive to both sound and touch. Action around one of the nimios will cause the others to glow in different patterns and colors. The interaction design is deliberately open-ended, in order to allow the emergence of distinctive patterns of collaborative engagement in real groups."
Interactive waterfall -Charles Forman, from Setpixel.
(includes a video with nice ambient music.)
The project was produced for the Children's Center at the Hackensack University Medical Center.
Wearables from the Reach project at the Interactive Institute, Design Goteborg:
Scarf that reveals messages when it heats up.
Temperature changing scarves
Bag with sensors that measure sound level, light, and temperature.
(This was cross-posted on the Technology-Supported Human-World Interaction blog.)