Thursday, June 16th

(via dividedcities)

7 notes

tags: cities. urban. research. studio. design.
Border Town: Border Town Participants

I’ll be taking part in the Border Town studio project this summer. Very much looking forward to working with this group.


We are delighted to announce our Border Town design studio participants. Over the next 10 weeks this group will be getting together to think about and then make work that addresses the architectural and design problems that we find in cities built on or divided by borders and conflict zones.

Saturday, June 4th

3 notes

tags: cities. city. design. jogging. running. toronto.

I’ve started up a new project, with the first event happening today and subsequent runs happening every two weeks.

City Lenses is a group that reads books about the city and then runs through it. The vision of the city while running is unique: closer and more intimate than via vehicle, your perspectives altered by endorphins and focus-driven seclusion. Our goal is to use this particular lens as a starting point for the critical exploration of our urban environment.

Links to the fb event and info will be on CityLens.es, and if things pan out, I hope to take what I’ve learned from this summer and write up a framework/course list for others to apply.

Hope to see you on the run!

Monday, May 30th

16 notes

tags: ar. archeology. interdisciplinary.
The archeology department’s early research, which eventually lead to Minecraft.

The archeology department’s early research, which eventually lead to Minecraft.

Sunday, May 22nd

3 notes

tags: rapture.
Friday, May 13th

1 note

tags: noise. diy. art. vj. isuals.

Incredible work by Mandelbrut exploring noise, video, and synesthesia.

Thursday, May 12th

1 note

tags: art.

Probably one of my favorite pieces, and a huge inspiration for me early on in exploring my current field and interests.

Tuesday, May 3rd

(via smarterplanet)

20 notes

A silver bullet for urban traffic problems

Neat product and great example of how dead simple wireless sensor solutions could solve a lot of problems. Of course, the issue then is one of implementation and adoption…


Enter Streetline, a 30-employee company in San Francisco that creates and installs wireless sensor networks to monitor parking spaces. Each sensor uses a magnetometer to detect the presence of large metal objects nearby.

“If the sensor is within two or three feet of the car, it will register a huge increase in metal,” explains Zia Yusuf, 45, the company’s chief executive. “When the metal content suddenly drops, we know a car left.”

The sensors communicate wirelessly, signaling whether spots are occupied or vacant, gradually collecting data to reveal local parking patterns. That information allows cities to price their parking spaces according to their actual value, factoring in supply and demand as they would with any other piece of real estate.

With that data, cities can both help ease congestion and boost their meter revenue.

Streetline charges its clients a monthly usage fee of $25 to $30 per sensor. The fee covers installation, maintenance and management of the software that collects and distributes parking data. The company does not publicly disclose financial information, but Yusuf says that Streetline is now raising its second round of funding and expects to see its annual revenue rise by 75% for 2011.

“I think this technology will transform urban transportation,” says Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

He cautions, however, that city governments are rarely early adopters, and signing them up as clients typically involves many bureaucratic headaches.

So far Streetline has set up networks in areas including parts of Los Angeles, Roosevelt Island in New York City, the parking lots at Fort Totten Metro station in Washington, D.C., and a garage at the conference center in Salt Lake City’s Temple Square. The company has also released an iPhone application called Parker, which shows drivers how many parking spots are available on blocks within the sensor network. An Android version is in development.

Source: Wireless Sensor Networks

Sunday, April 24th

1 note


I originally wrote this as a response to a post Ben Feist made on the TAXI company blog, which I thought was a great. My response kinda veered off topic enough that it kinda became a different post in itself, but I wanted to share it anyway. 

Ben writes of the technologies and dangers of the kind of profile and aggregate information being collected by companies like Apple and Google, and goes in to some of the methods and technologies involved.

There is a massive amount of data out there, and huge implications for how it could affect our future opportunities and behaviour, but I’d argue that what we’re actually seeing is less a negative privacy infringement, but more a paradigm shift in how we perceive privacy and personal informatics. 

Consider projects like MIT’s Gaydar, which uses the FB social graph and various public information to statistically guess the likelihood of ones sexual orientation, or PleaseRobMe.com, which used foursquare or similar locational data to indicate the probability of a home being empty. Both projects are designed as awareness raising tools, and I think that is exactly what we need.

We are moving very rapidly towards a world where physical sensor data for _everything_ being available is the norm, and I’d argue that this is a very positive thing. In a talk I gave recently, I referred to these as ambient interactions, basically a many to one relationship for human interactions to computational output. By using our aggregate patterns and analyzing these trends, we’re able to use this data to create a loose feedback loop for informing our own behavior. In the same way then that we self-correct in a video game or a while driving a car or bike, we’re now able to self correct our behaviour across extended periods.

Now, this is assuming that we have control over our own data, and the information is ours to analyze. A world of physical sensors is also potentially a negative thing: we see things like the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative (building on the model of London’s Ring of Steel) using neural networks and massive sensor arrays to create reactive spaces to traffic and criminal activity. When the built environment becomes able to alter itself (in this case, shifting road blocks or caltrops) in relations to algorithmically perceived threats, we’re _all_ going to develop a very intense fear of false positives.

Likewise, as you mentioned, what happens when this sensor data is used in determining opportunities and decisions which affect us personally? How will my locational trends affect my likelihood of getting a loan? Will the fact that I bike quickly along main streets vs. slowly along side streets impact an employers perception of me as a risk taker, or a banker’s perception, for that matter?

There are good and bad sides, and I’m very much looking forward to both living in and designing for a world where this is possible. This said, I think the broader question is one of public policy and shifting social norms around these technologies. 

Already we’re seeing a subtle shift in the way people apply and understand wayfinding methods as a consequence of technologies like Google maps and streetview, and I think we will see a similar cultural shift as we align ourselves further with ubiquitous sensor networks and our existing personal wireless sensor devices: our mobile phones. Figures like Ann Cavoukien, our privacy commissioner for Ontario, have been incredibly diligent in deflecting some of the more damaging political mechanisms leading to the idea of the “big brother” state (eg: national ID cards), but we ARE going to live in a world of ubiquitous sensor networks, whose masters use this data for whatever agenda they might have. 

The question is how will educate ourselves to defend against these kind of technologies? Will we see a shift towards personal techniques like CV Dazzle, to baffle Haar-based computer vision systems? Or will a shift towards biometric masking techniques, like seen in Gattaca or Minority Report, be seen? Will such techniques be the purview of the criminal element, or an indication of social awareness or strongly held opinion: the modern punks? Will we shed the feature-rich mobile computers that is the contemporary smart phone in favour of voice/text only radios which make use of sophisticated encryption keys and decentralized mesh networks for communication away from the monolithic telecoms?

Either way, this technology is already here and widespread adoption is around the corner: the unknown is the emergent social trends that respond to this new “sentient” world. And it’s that unknown that matters more than the technology.


3 notes

tags: talk. ixd. segd. wayfinding. interaction. multitouch. gesture. kinect.
Direct and Ambient Interactions

I recently gave a talk at an SEGD workshop on interactive technologies and wayfinding. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve posted the slides and a kinda rough transcription on my site. 

There’s a disqus thread at the bottom of the page, and I’d love any feedback or critiques you’d be willing to give, especially as I’m hoping to rewrite and improve on it for a later presentation.  Thanks!

Friday, March 11th

(via danielrehn)

5 notes

There’s a lot to work with here, no doubt. Minecraft could become a very, very powerful engine for exploring space and representation.


Minecraft + Physics = Awesome” by Chris Delay (2011).  A prototype of a Minecraft voxel engine.  I’m still saying it—2011 is the breakout year for the voxel.

Friday, March 4th

(via bijan)

95 notes

tags: design. apple. jobs. veneer. ddimit. kmdi.
Since you can't outsource your soul, you can't outsource your design

This is dead on why as an Interaction Designer, I’m hell bent on understanding architecture, electronics, industrial design, service design, business design, software architecture, information design, psychology, and literally everything I can get my hands on.

Matt Ratto made a really good observation at a NormativeDesign talk a little while ago, considering the longevity of different parts of a house. A structure my stand for decades or centuries. But its component parts: exterior, paint, appliances, furniture, electrical infrastructure, and now things like network infrastructure; all these things are subject to change at substantially smaller intervals. In short, a structure should be considered a fixed object containing layers with different natural lifespans to be replaced and updated at those fixed times.

By limiting yourself to a “veneer” perspective, or the idea that design is just for prettying something up, means that your relevance is as fleeting as lifetime of your veneers lifespan, which is always the shortest. Never look down on the interface, the graphics, the logo, the iconography, or the veneer, but you can’t ignore the other aspects and still be doing design.

Give the post below a read, it’s worth the look.


Earlier this week, i reblogged a Steve Jobs quote that was lighting up on Tumblr with well over 200 notes. Here’s the quote:

In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the…

Sunday, February 27th


I’ve been working on a game project for about two-three weeks now. It will hopefully be finished by the summer and I’d love to be able to share with you when it’s finished and when I release the code base on Github.

See you soon!

Tuesday, February 22nd

tags: gcc. compile. mapnik. fml.
I had a bit of a frustrating weekend working on my GIS-based game.

I had a bit of a frustrating weekend working on my GIS-based game.

Monday, February 21st

12 notes

tags: tangible. interface. hci. mit. ixd.

12 notes

tags: architecture. mapping. data. neural. xwave. columbia.

Fascinating projects coming out of this place, give it a look. Using neural interfaces for mapping architecture and interfaces is a branch of user testing I’ve really been hoping to explore, hadn’t been aware of the xwave till now.


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