Mar 31, 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS: Touch the Web 2011 2nd International Workshop on Web-Enabled Objects

CALL FOR PAPERS: Touch the Web 2011
2nd International Workshop on Web-Enabled Objects
The workshop will be held on June 20-24, 2011 in Paphos, Cyprus, in conjunction with the:
The vision of the Internet of Things builds upon the use of embedded systems to control devices, tools and appliances. With the addition of novel communications capabilities and identification means such as RFID, systems can now gather information from other sensors, devices and computers on the network, or enable user-oriented customization and operations through short-range communication. When the information gathered by different sensors is shared by means of open Web standards, new services can be defined on top of physical elements. In addition, the new generation of mobile phones enables a true mobile Internet experience. These phones are today’s ubiquitous information access tool, and the physical token of our "Digital Me“. These meshes of things and “Digital Me” will become the basis upon which future smart living, working and production places will be created, delivering services directly where they are needed.

The fundamental questions in this workshop are:
How do we apply the lessons learned in Web Engineering to the Internet of Things?
What kind of Web-based interaction patterns for embedded devices (streaming, eventing, etc.) can we identify?
Applications, deployments, prototypes and evaluations of Web of things systems.
Human-things interaction models and paradigms (mobile interfaces, etc.)
User-oriented, context-aware discovery and dynamic search for the real world.
Compositions of Things and Meshes of Things.
What kind of interfaces, business models and scenarios these smart things will create, address and modify?
How can the services in the surroundings be composed and orchestrated?

The research areas involved are many, including Web Engineering, Ubiquitous Computing, Product Engineering, Distributed Systems, Human Computer Interaction, Economics, Artificial Intelligence, and many more. We look forward in this workshop to bring together different areas of expertise to help us shape a vision of creating living and working surrounded by meshes of web-enabled things.

Workshop format
Expected number of participants is no more than 20, for a full-day workshop. A tentative program (to be adjusted following the number of participants) is organized as follows:
A short (15 min) opening session by the workshop organizers
Two full paper presentation sessions (each session with 3 papers, 20 min presentation each)
Lunch break
One short paper presentation session (up to 6 papers, 5 min presentation each)
Discussion session. A specific agenda to discuss and provide feedback upon will be proposed and the organizers will moderate the discussion.
The last session will be devoted to consolidate and present the results of the discussions. The workshop organizers will write a workshop summary and publish it as part of the workshop proceedings.

Links - Web of Things: Touch the Web 2011; Web Patterns and the EPC Cloud, Windows 8 Rumors, Human Centered Service Design

Touch the Web 2011
Dominique Guinard|Web of Things|3/21/11

EPC Cloud: Reducing Software Complexity Thanks to Web Patterns
Dominique Guinard|Web of Things|3/8/11

View more presentations from Dominique Guinard.

Mary Jo Foley |All About Microsoft|ZDNET|3/30/11


FYI:  My dog woke me up very early this morning - so I decided to post a few interesting links. I'll share more in-depth posts in the future when I have a bit more time : )

Mar 29, 2011

Program- CHI 2011 Child Computer Interaction: 2nd Workshop on UI Technologies and Educational Pedagogy

May 7, 2011
In conjunction with CHI 2011, Vancouver, Canada

9:00am – 09:05am       Introduction

9:05am - 10:05am        Paper Session I (8min presentation, 4min Discussion)

Evaluating Pervasive Classrooms

• Son Do-Lenh et al.:   Classroom-experience evaluation: An ecological approach to evaluating pervasive technologies in classroom
• Kathryn Rounding et al.:   Evaluating Interfaces with Children
• Dan Morris et al.:   Using Machine Learning to Scaffold Artistic Creativity in Education
• Tamara Polajnar et al.:   Enabling Picture-based Querying and Learning with the JuSe Interface
• Hamed Alavi et al.:   Lantern 2.0: A Pervasive Scripting Tool

10:05am - 11:00am  Coffee Break and Preparation time for short talks

11:00am - 12:10pmPaper Session II (8min presentation, 4min Discussion)

Collaboration in Math: Fears, Myths, and Insights

• Nicola Yull et al.: Pass the iPad: Comparing collaboration on paper and screen
• Veronika Irvine et al.: Math Education: A Creative Approach

Group talk: Math and Embodied Agents
a.  Kristina Richter et al.: Bridging Diagnosis and Learning for Mathematics Education in Classroom Setting
b.  Lisa Anthony et al.: Handwriting Interaction for Math Tutors: Lessons for HCI in Education
c.  Andrew Jensen et al.: Using Embodied Pedagogical Agents and Direct Instruction to Augment Learning for Young Children with Special Needs

Group talk: Dispelling Myths About the Next Generation Classroom
a.   Alex Thayer et al.: The Myth of the Paperless School: Replacing Printed Texts with E-readers
b.  Sharon Oviatt: Designing Digital Tools for Thinking, Adaptive Learning and Cognitive Evolution
c.  Alexandra Dunn et al.: Designing Classroom Technology to Meet the Needs of All

Group talk: Games, Wearables and Fun Learning.
a.  Christiane Moser et al.:    Child-Centered Game Development
b.  Lizbeth Escobedo et al.:  Blue’s Clues: An Augmented Reality Positioning System
c.  Si Jung Kim et al.:   Wearable Story: A Story Telling Jacket for Young Children to Improve Their Independent Physical and Learning Activities

12:10pm - 1:30pm Lunch

1:30pm - 2:30pm Paper Session (10 min presentation, 5min Discussion)

Tangibles and Tabletops
•   Izdihar Jamil et al.: Communication Patterns in Collaborative Peer Learning around Interactive Table
•   Aura Pon et al.: Graspable Music and Vuzik: Music Learning and Creativity using an Interactive Surface
•   Ahmed Kharrufa et al.: Learning at interactive surfaces and designing for reflection
•   Cristina Sylla et al.: TOK – a Tangible Interface for Storytelling

Group talk: Tables and Tangibles
• a.Robert Sheehan: Constructionism, Programming and Touch Interfaces
• b.  Orit Shaer et al.: Making the Invisible Tangible: Learning Biological Engineering in Kindergarten
• c.  Sebastien Kubicki: Evaluation of an interactive table with tangible objects: Application with children in a classroom
• d.  Cristina Emilia Costa et al.: I-Theatre: developing narratives skills in kindergarten children
• e.  Wooi Boon Goh et al.: Potential Challenges in Collaborative Game Design for Inclusive Settings

2:30pm - 3:00pm  Coffee Break

3:00pm - 4:00pm  Breakout Discussion (What are future challenges? Next years workshop?)

4:00pm - 4:45pm  Closing Keynote  TBA

4:45pm - 5:00pm  Closing Remarks

7:00pm   Optional Workshop Dinner

Workshop Website
ACM-CHI 2011 Conference Website

SIFTEO, the next-gen Siftables! (Tangible User Interfaces for All)

Despite my enthusiasm for TUI's , I somehow missed the news about the transformation of Siftables to a commercial version, Sifteo:

Sifteo Inc. Debuts Sifteo™ Cubes - A New Way To Play (PDF

"Sifteo cubes are 1.5 inch computers with full-color displays that sense their motion, sense each other, and wirelessly connect to your computer. You, your friends, and your family can play an ever-growing array of interactive games that get your brain and body engaged.
Sifteo’s initial collection of titles includes challenging games for adults, fun learning puzzles for kids, and games people can play together." -Sifteo website
For more information, see the Sifteo website,  blog, and YouTube  channel.  If you can't wait to get your own set,  take a look at Josh Blake's Sifteo Cube Unboxing Video!

About two years ago, I was interviewed about my thoughts about the interactive, hands-on, programmable cubes, then called Siftables,  for an article published in IEEE's Computing Now magazine:  Siftables Offer New Interaction Mode  (James Figeuroa, Computing Now, 3/2009). 

For those of you who'd like more information about tangible user interfaces (TUIs) and  the development of Siftables, I've copied my 2009 post,   Tangible User Interfaces, Part I:  Siftables,  below:

In 1997, the vision of tangible user interfaces, also known as TUI's, was outlined by Hiroshi Ishii and Brygg Ullmer of the Tangible Media Group at MIT, in their paper, "Tangible Bits: Towards Seamless Interfaces between People, Bits, and Atoms" (pdf).   According to this vision, "the goal of Tangible Bits is to bridge the gaps between both cyberspace and the physical environment, as well as the foreground and background of human activities." This article is is a must-read for anyone interested in "new" interactive technologies.

The pictures in the article of the metaDesk, transBoard, activeLENS, and ambientRoom, along with the references, are worth a look, for those interested in this seminal work.

Another must-read is Hiroshi Ishii's 2008 article, Tangible Bits: Beyond Pixels (pdf). In this article, Ishii provides a good overview of TUI concepts as well as the contributions of his lab to the field since the first paper was written.

Related to Tangible User Interface research is the work of the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT. The Fluid Interfaces Group was formerly known as the Ambient Intelligence Group, and many of the group's projects incorporate concepts related to TUI and ambient intelligence. 

According to the Fluid Interfaces website, the goal of this research group is to "radically rethink the human-machine interactive experience. By designing interfaces that are more immersive, more intelligent, and more interactive we are changing the human-machine relationship and creating systems that are more responsive to people's needs and actions, and that become true "accessories" for expanding our minds."

The Siftables project is an example of how TUI and fluid interface (FI) interaction can be combined. Siftables is the work of David Merrill and Pattie Maes, in collaboration with Jeevan Kalanithi, and was brought to popular attention through David Merrill's recent TED talk:

David Merrill's TED Talk: Siftables - Making the digital physical
-Grasp Information Physically

"Siftables aims to enable people to interact with information and media in physical, natural ways that approach interactions with physical objects in our everyday lives. As an interaction platform, Siftables applies technology and methodology from wireless sensor networks to tangible user interfaces. Siftables are independent, compact devices with sensing, graphical display, and wireless communication capabilities. They can be physically manipulated as a group to interact with digital information and media. Siftables can be used to implement any number of gestural interaction languages and HCI applications....
Siftables can sense their neighbors, allowing applications to utilize topological arrangement..No special sensing surface or cameras are needed."

Siftables Music Sequencer from Jeevan Kalanithi on Vimeo.

More about Siftables:
Rethinking display technology (Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe, 7/27/08)
TED: Siftable Computing Makes Data Physical
Siftables: Toward Sensor Network User Interfaces (pdf)

It seems that people really like the Siftable concept, or they don't see the point. I found the following humerous critique of Siftables on YouTube:

"Imagine if all the little programs you had on your iphone were little separate chicklets in your pocket.
You'd lose em.
Your cat would eat em.
You'd vacuum them up.
They'd fall down in the sofa.
They'd be all over the car floor.
You'd throw them away by mistake..."

In my opinion, it is exciting to learn that perhaps some of this technology has the potential of becoming main-stream.

Mar 28, 2011

The New Media Consortium Needs Examples of K-12 Tech. Innovations for the 2011 NMC Horizon Report

The following information was taken from the New Media Consortium website. The deadline is April 1st - sorry for the late notice - it came across my path just today:

"We are pleased to announce that the Advisory Board for the 2010 NMC Horizon Report: K12 Edition has selected the six topics for this year's report:
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less  * Cloud Computing * Mobiles
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years * Game-Based Learning * Open Content
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years * Learning Analytics * Personal Learning Environments
Call for Examples
We are interested in learning about any kind of research, pilot programs, innovative projects, or faculty work happening at your school in any of the six areas listed above. (See the attached 2011 NMC Horizon Report: K12 Edition Preview of the topics for more details.) Our goal is to help readers understand the potential impact of these technologies and their applications on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry.
How to Participate
If you know of examples we could include, please use the brief web form at  to tell us about them. We ask for a title, a URL, and a one- or two-sentence description; you also will need to select which of the six topics your example falls under. The process takes about two minutes. We hope to have your examples by Friday, April 1, but no matter what, we'd love to hear about what you are doing. The url above is always open to pointers to great projects."
Thanks to Liz Dorland for the link!

A few links to start the week: AR for libraries, Accessible Musical Slideshows (Spectronics), Health Care Design, Big Data (GigaOM)

AR FOR THE LIBRARY (Supports productivity for librarians)
The article below discusses an Android-based app developed by Miami Unversity's Augmented Reality Research Group:
Awesome Augmented Reality App Could Save Librarians Hours Audrey Watters, ReadWriteWeb, 3/27/11
In the related video, Dr. Bo Brinkman (Miami University-Ohio) demonstrates the prototype AR app using a Samsung Galaxy Tab:

Although there are probably more creative ways to use AR in libraries, this application is a start!

Make musical slideshows in minutes - switch accessible too! Barbara Landsberb, Spectronics Blog, 12/17/10
An image of the Slideshow Maker
Slideshow Maker was designed to work on a range of displays, including touch screens. It it easy to use.  
Slideshow Maker Manual This is an external link (1.8 MB)  Note:  SlideshowMaker was not yet available in the US at the time of the above post. If I find a video about Slideshow Maker, I will post it here.

The article below is a must-read for anyone thinking about developing applications for health care professionals, clinics, hospitals, patients, etc.  In my opinion, it is very important to look at the "Big Picture", especially for techies who are responsible for  information architecture in this field.
For the Future of Health Care Design, Look Beyond the  Hospital Fast Company Design, 3/25/11 "Here, Jean Mah and Robin Guenther, two health-care design experts at architecture firm Perkins + Will, look at what the future holds for our health care systems." -Ed. (Fast Company)

In the article below, the topic of "Big Data" is addressed.  Low power computing solutions are needed in order to handle the number-crunching and information visualization tasks necessary for humans to understand and effectively make use of "Big Data".

Katie Fehrenbacher, GigaOM, 3/24/11
gigaombigdata on Broadcast Live Free

Mar 27, 2011

Multitouch and Gesture News (Part I) : NUITEQ Updates

In this post, I'd like to share some news from NUITEQ, a privately held multi-touch software technology that is based in Sweden.  NUITEQ is known for Snowflake Suite, a multi-touch application that is used in a variety of situations.  

"NUITEQ is as happy as a kid in a candy shop to announce that it has released version upgrade 1.9.4 of its award-winning, industry leading multi-touch software product Snowflake Suite" - Harry van der Veen, NUITEQ

The screen shot below gives a nice view of the range of applications that included in Snowflake Suite:

-Photo from NUITEQ


NUITEQ's CTO Mikael Bauer nominated for the Mer-IT award in the category IT-person of the year
NUITEQ Awarded CONNECT Norr Company of the Year 2011
NUITEQ's Partners
From the NUITEQ Gallery, via Harry van der Veen

Mar 26, 2011

Bill Gerba's Words of Wisdom about Digital Media Content (Via Digital Signage Insider)

In this article, Bill Gerba, of WireSpring, discusses his approach to testing digital signage content.  The article is one in an on-going series of articles:

Testing Digital Signage Content: The Need for a New Approach
Bill Gerba, Digital Signage Insider, 3/24/11

From what I've seen regarding the digital signage and displays when I'm out and about,  there is a need for folks in this industry to heed Bill Gerba's advice!  FYI: I've embedded a slide show at the end of the post that includes over 200 shots of digital signage and related "DOOH".

Digital Signage Screen Placement:  Targeting the Attention Zone 
Bill Gerba, Digital Signage Insider, 12/17/09

Making great digital signage content: Composing shots and scenes
Bill Gerba, Digital Signage Insider, 5/15/08

Lots of "DOOH"

Mar 25, 2011

iPad: A couple of good articles about the enchanting tablet, via WIRED

I thought I'd share links to two articles about the iPad, a tablet that is enchanting millions around the globe: 

Nobody Needs a Tablet.  So Why Are We Gobbling Them Up?
Brian X. Chen,  WIRED Gadget Lab, 3/24/11

"Indeed, it turns out that a tablet needn’t do everything that a more powerful PC can, according to multiple research studies on iPad usage. Rather, the tablet’s main appeal lies in the approachable touchscreen interface that just about anybody at any age can pick up and figure out...That’s the genius of the blank slate — with nearly 400,000 apps that allow the iPad to become a toy, a TV, a medical tool for doctors, a notetaker for students and more, it caters to an extremely broad audience." -Brian X. Chen

iPads Are Not A Miracle for Children With Autism
Daniel Donahoo, WIRED GeekDad, 3/22/11

" ...the potential of the iPad is not achieved by the iPad alone, nor by simply placing it in the hands of a child with autism. The potential of the device is realized by the way professionals like speech pathologists, educators, occupational therapists and early childhood development professionals apply their skills and knowledge to use the iPad to effectively support the development of children. The potential is realized by engaged parents working with those professionals to explore how the device best meets the individual needs of their child." -Daniel Donahoo

(I have a few thoughts about the iPad of my own that I'll share in a future post.)

Regional Multimedia News: Blind Squirrel Digital Builds MultiTouch Wall (Newton, N.C.)

Blind Squirrel Digital is a digital media company located in Newton, N.C.  One of the company's services is multi-touch surface design and implementation. Below is a picture of their  recently constructed multi-touch wall:

107 N. College Avenue • Newton, NC 28658 • 828-581-4252 

About Blind Squirrel Digital:
Blind Squirrel Digital's services include iPhone and iPad application development, 3D animation/Visualization/Previz, multi-touch surface design/implementation, augmented reality design/implementation, multi-platform game development, digital signage/interactive and static content management systems, kiosk development, software and hardware design, exhibit design, simulation training application development, and real-time forensic reconstruction application development.

People behind Blind Squirrel Digital:
C. Michael Neely, the founder of the company, serves as President and Creative Director of Blind Squirrel Digital.  He has experience working with 3D applications and teaches digital effects, animation, and game development technology. He also has a few film credits under his belt, including "Pirates of the Caribbean III", "Spider Man III", "Fantastic Four", and "The Incredible Hulk 2".     Jeremy Cooper is the Vice President and Producer at Blind Squirrel. He has experience working on multiple creative projects (Digital Juice, Ballistic Pixel, and the Digital Design Center), and has taught a number of courses in the Simulation and Game Development program at Western Piedmont Community College. 

(The above information was gathered from the Blind Squirrel Digital website.)

iPad Screenshot 2
Doorways: iPad Game by Blind Squirrel Digital
Digital degrees launching high-tech careers: WPCC offers associates in gaming, animation
Jennifer Frew, The News Herald, 2/16/11

Mar 16, 2011

Cute TV Commercial! Intel Gesture Recognition Technology

This was the first television commercial I saw on TV this morning. I had to stop my morning routine to watch it : )

From ChannelIntel: Interview of Francis MacDougall, CTO of GestureTek

Mar 10, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Ira David Socal: "Writing without the blocks" using free/low cost technologies.

"Liberate students from the cognitive waste going to mechanical issues which have nothing to do with effective communication. Help them to become communicators and storytellers, and let your teaching focus on construction of effective writing, and what separates "writing" from "talking" in our culture." -Ira David Socal

You don't need to be a student to appreciate this approach to writing and communication!

Ira David Socal, SpeEdChange 3/10/11

Ira Socal starts out his thoughtful blog post by mentioning that he dictated it using a Jawbone bluetooth headset and Windows 7 Speech Recognition, which is a free component of the operating system.  He's found that this is a great approach to use with students who struggle with the writing process.   He points out that there are many barriers that students face when attempting to write, especially for those who have difficulty holding a pen or using a keyboard efficiently.  He also points out that "keyboards injure more people each year than any other workplace tool."

Below are two videos Ira Socal shared on his blog:

How to set up Windows 7 Speech Recognition
MIT Freedom Stick (Michigan Integrated Technologies Supports)
Freedom Stick and Firefox Accessibility
"The MITS Freedom Stick is designed to provide students with information and communication access on any computer using a Windows or Linux operating system. When you insert the USB Flash Drive into the computer the LearnApps software should load giving you a menu in the toolbar on the lower-right corner of the screen. Please note, however, that when using the software on some computers you may need to open the drive and click directly on the LearnApps icon to open."

Cross posted: TechPsych

Mar 9, 2011

Could your child have a Geminoid for a teacher someday? Imagine the possibilities, good or bad!

In the US, teachers are being laid off or eliminated from their jobs in many communities. The improvements seen in Wall Street haven't been felt on Main Street. Many parents face the fact that their children, teens, and college-age kids will be entering classrooms and lecture halls filled many more students than in the past, come August or early September. 

What are the solutions?         The popular buzz says that interactive whiteboards, netbooks, SmartPhones, and tablets such as the iPad2 will tranform K-16 education. States and local school districts have created a range of virtual schools, and these are increasing in number.  My own state offers a "virtual advantage" in the form of the North Carolina Virtual Public School.  There are opportunities for students with special needs to receive instruction on-line, too.

"Mr. Geminoid"

What might be see in the future-  Robots for teachers?  While the topic might seem a bit amusing, it might not be a joke in the future.

Five years from now, will my grandson go to kindergarten toting a next-gen iPad, (augmented reality-enabled, 3D holographic, telepresent, virtual-school connected) greeted at the classroom door by the next-Gen Mr. Geminoid, his life-like, fully programmable teacher?  

At this point, the Geminoid is controlled by a real person.  In the school setting, one teacher could control his or her "Geminoid" in multiple classrooms, I suppose....

"A Geminoid or twin-robot is designed to resemble a living person. It is controlled by an operator who through the use of advanced software can transfer facial movements and speech to the robot next door (or where ever...). For many years, robot technology has primarily been associated with factories and warehouses, but the days of thinking about robots as just 'tools' are over, Henrik Scharfe says. The robots have become a media, perhaps one of the more significant media of the future. In that way, robot technology follows the trajectory of computers: from tools to media." -Geminoid DK

I can see that many people might fancy the idea of robots taking over the role of teachers.  

Unlike the Geminoid, these robots wouldn't need to be controlled by living, breathing teacher.  Anti-teacher union folks would like the fact that there would be fewer wages to pay,  no rising health insurance premiums to worry about,  no concerns about retirement.  No money would need to be set aside for death benefits.

I imagine there would be other costs, and this might be more than what we now pay for live teachers.  We'd need to pay for  programmers who can handle all aspects of instructional technology.  We'd need to pay for robotic maintenance technicians.  We'd have to pay for the network that runs the system of robot teachers.    

We'd have to figure out how the robots could realistically handle parent-teacher conferences, classroom conflicts, bus duty, coaching, choir practice,  club sponsorship, volunteer coordination,  science fairs, and so forth.  

There is always the chance that robots outfitted with future generation AI capabilities might become sentient, at which point, they might decide to unionize, if they don't happen to "live" in states that don't allow  teacher unions, such as N.C.   ; ) 

Just a thought.   

Geminoid DK Website (lots of info!)
Geminoid DK: An ultra-realistic android announced (w/Video)
Katie Gatto, Physorg, 3/7/11
Latest Geminoid Is Incredibly Realistic
Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum Blog, 3/5/2011
I Want to See What You See:  Babies Treat 'Social Robots' as Sentient Beings
Science Daily, 10/14/11
"A team of University of Washington researchers is studying how infants tell which entities are "psychological agents" that can think and feel."

geminoid dk
Photo Credit:  IEEE Spectrum/Geminoid|DK

Ms. Geminoid:
geminoid f
Photos: Osaka University (left); Osaka University and Kokoro Company (right); composite (middle)

Get the Virtual Advantage (pdf)
NC Virtual Public School