Tea with Anab Jain

Last week we received the visit of Anab Jain, who gave her insights into the projects that are currently being carried out here. Anab is the founder of Superflux, and the creator of the Power of 8 project which brings together scientists, urbanists, educators, and permaculturists to imagine optimistic futures. Many thanks for your valuable input and hope you will join us for tea again soon, Anab!

Story Cultures – Presentation at UbiComp 2010

Connection Boxes

Making a Printer for Totem

Wouldn’t it be great to link any object directly to a ‘video memory’ or an article of text describing its history or background?

That’s one of the provocations behind TOTeM, a research project exploring social memory in the emerging culture of the Internet of Things. As part of this, we are making a portable printing/stamping machine that will be able to leave a temporary QR code on any surface. The aim is to print these tags from your phone, and be able to read tags that you find with your phone, linking you back to the author’s video or text memory to do with the object or place.

In practice this is a not inconsiderable mechanical challenge, as I am oft reminded by Mike, but we’ve made good headway with a solenoid test rig (pictured above) and some custom marker-based print heads. It’s messy work. Ultimately, the printer will use the headphone socket of the phone as an output to the printer, the same method that Apple Karts used to control motors.

You can already contribute your memories and get printable tags at talesofthings.com .

Journalism as Design Research


Ideas Day

On Friday we had various visitors up to speak to the students, and to also have a design debate for our annual Ideas Day. On the bill this year was:

Abigail Sellen (Microsoft Research)
Tim Regan (Microsoft Research)
Richard Banks (Microsoft Research)
Tim Brook (Nokia Research)
Steve Birnie (NCR)
Charlie Rohan (NCR)
Bill Gaver (Goldsmiths)
Chris Speed (Edinburgh College of Art)
Kenny Anderson a.k.a. King Creosote (Fencecollective)

The students all received great advice on their projects, and the debate at the end saw some interesting topics discussed likes the future of social media and what will product design be in 10 years. I will hopefully have a video of the big debate up here shortly………