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Computers & Human Interaction

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We turn on the lights in our house from a desk in an office miles away. Our refrigerator alerts us to buy milk on the way home. A package of cookies on the supermarket shelf suggests that we buy it, based on past purchases. The cookies themselves are on the shelf because of a “smart” supply chain. When we get home, the thermostat has already adjusted the temperature so that it’s toasty or bracing, whichever we prefer. This is the Internet of Things—a networked world of connected devices, objects, and people. In this book, Samuel Greengard offers a guided tour through this emerging world and how it will change the way we live and work.

Greengard explains that the Internet of Things (IoT) is still in its early stages. Smart phones, cloud computing, RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, sensors, and miniaturization are converging to make possible a new generation of embedded and immersive technology. Greengard traces the origins of the IoT from the early days of personal computers and the Internet and examines how it creates the conceptual and practical framework for a connected world. He explores the industrial Internet and machine-to-machine communication, the basis for smart manufacturing and end-to-end supply chain visibility; the growing array of smart consumer devices and services—from Fitbit fitness wristbands to mobile apps for banking; the practical and technical challenges of building the IoT; and the risks of a connected world, including a widening digital divide and threats to privacy and security. Finally, he considers the long-term impact of the IoT on society, narrating an eye-opening “Day in the Life” of IoT connections circa 2025.

The Politics and Aesthetics of Participation in Experience-Centered Design

In Taking [A]part, John McCarthy and Peter Wright consider a series of boundary-pushing research projects in human-computer interaction (HCI) in which the design of digital technology is used to inquire into participative experience. McCarthy and Wright view all of these projects—which range from the public and performative to the private and interpersonal—through the critical lens of participation. Taking participation, in all its variety, as the generative and critical concept allows them to examine the projects as a part of a coherent, responsive movement, allied with other emerging movements in DIY culture and participatory art. Their investigation leads them to rethink such traditional HCI categories as designer and user, maker and developer, researcher and participant, characterizing these relationships instead as mutually responsive and dialogical.

McCarthy and Wright explore four genres of participation—understanding the other, building relationships, belonging in community, and participating in publics—and they examine participatory projects that exemplify each genre. These include the Humanaquarium, a participatory musical performance; the Personhood project, in which a researcher and a couple explored the experience of living with dementia; the Prayer Companion project, which developed a technology to inform the prayer life of cloistered nuns; and the development of social media to support participatory publics in settings that range from reality game show fans to on-line deliberative democracies.

Technology for Well-Being and Human Potential

On the eve of Google’s IPO in 2004, Larry Page and Sergey Brin vowed not to be evil. Today, a growing number of technologists would go further, trying to ensure that their work actively improves people’s lives. Technology, so pervasive and ubiquitous, has the capacity to increase stress and suffering; but it also has the less-heralded potential to improve the well-being of individuals, society, and the planet. In this book, Rafael Calvo and Dorian Peters investigate what they term “positive computing”—the design and development of technology to support psychological well-being and human potential.

Calvo and Peters explain that technologists’ growing interest in social good is part of a larger public concern about how our digital experience affects our emotions and our quality of life—which itself reflects an emerging focus on humanistic values in many different disciplines. Synthesizing theory, knowledge, and empirical methodologies from a variety of fields, they offer a rigorous and coherent foundational framework for positive computing. Sidebars by experts from psychology, neuroscience, human–computer interaction, and other disciplines supply essential context. Calvo and Peters examine specific well-being factors, including positive emotions, self-awareness, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion, and explore how technology can support these factors. Finally, they offer suggestions for future research and funding.

Timothy N. Bickmore, Jeremy Bailenson, danah boyd, Jane Burns, David R. Caruso, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Felicia Huppert, Mary-Helen Immordino-Yang, Adele Krusche and J. Mark G. Williams, Jane McGonigal, Jonathan Nicholas, Don Norman, Yvonne Rogers

Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers

Geologists in the field climb hills and hang onto craggy outcrops; they put their fingers in sand and scratch, smell, and even taste rocks. Beginning in 2004, however, a team of geologists and other planetary scientists did field science in a dark room in Pasadena, exploring Mars from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) by means of the remotely operated Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). Clustered around monitors, living on Mars time, painstakingly plotting each movement of the rovers and their tools, sensors, and cameras, these scientists reported that they felt as if they were on Mars themselves, doing field science. The MER created a virtual experience of being on Mars. In this book, William Clancey examines how the MER has changed the nature of planetary field science.

Drawing on his extensive observations of scientists in the field and at the JPL, Clancey investigates how the design of the rover mission enables field science on Mars, explaining how the scientists and rover engineers manipulate the vehicle and why the programmable tools and analytic instruments work so well for them. He shows how the scientists felt not as if they were issuing commands to a machine but rather as if they were working on the red planet, riding together in the rover on a voyage of discovery.

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All design is situated—carried out from an embedded position. Design involves many participants and encompasses a range of interactions and interdependencies among designers, designs, design methods, and users. Design is also multidisciplinary, extending beyond the traditional design professions into such domains as health, culture, education, and transportation. This book presents eighteen situated design methods, offering cases and analyses of projects that range from designing interactive installations, urban spaces, and environmental systems to understanding customer experiences.

Each chapter presents a different method, combining theoretical, methodological, and empirical discussions with accounts of actual experiences. The book describes methods for defining and organizing a design project, organizing collaborative processes, creating aesthetic experiences, and incorporating sustainability into processes and projects. The diverse and multidisciplinary methods presented include a problem- and project-based approach to design studies; a “Wheel of Rituals” intended to promote creativity; a pragmatist method for situated experience design that derives from empirical studies of film production and performance design; and ways to transfer design methods in a situated manner. The book will be an important resource for researchers, students, and practitioners of interdisciplinary design.

Designs for Living Online

Computers were first conceived as “thinking machines,” but in the twenty-first century they have become social machines, online places where people meet friends, play games, and collaborate on projects. In this book, Judith Donath argues persuasively that for social media to become truly sociable media, we must design interfaces that reflect how we understand and respond to the social world. People and their actions are still harder to perceive online than face to face: interfaces are clunky, and we have less sense of other people’s character and intentions, where they congregate, and what they do.

Donath presents new approaches to creating interfaces for social interaction. She addresses such topics as visualizing social landscapes, conversations, and networks; depicting identity with knowledge markers and interaction history; delineating public and private space; and bringing the online world’s open sociability into the physical world. Donath asks fundamental questions about how we want to live online and offers thought-provoking designs that explore radically new ways of interacting and communicating.

Mixing Human-Computer Interactions with Human-Food Interactions

Our contemporary concerns about food range from food security to agricultural sustainability to getting dinner on the table for family and friends. This book investigates food issues as they intersect with participatory Internet culture—blogs, wikis, online photo- and video-sharing platforms, and social networks—in efforts to bring about a healthy, socially inclusive, and sustainable food future. Focusing on our urban environments provisioned with digital and network capacities, and drawing on such “bottom-up” sociotechnical trends as DIY and open source, the chapters describe engagements with food and technology that engender (re-)creative interactions.

In the first section, “Eat,” contributors discuss technology-aided approaches to sustainable dining, including digital communication between farmers and urban consumers and a “telematic” dinner party at which guests are present electronically. The chapters in “Cook” describe, among other things, “smart” chopping boards that encourage mindful eating and a website that supports urban wild fruit foraging. Finally, “Grow” connects human-computer interaction with achieving a secure, safe, and ethical food supply, offering chapters on the use of interactive technologies in urban agriculture, efforts to trace the provenance of food with a “Fair Tracing” tool, and other projects.

Joon Sang Baek, Pollie Barden, Eric P. S. Baumer, Eli Blevis, Nick Bryan-Kinns, Robert Comber, Jean Duruz, Katharina Frosch, Anne Galloway, Geri Gay, Jordan Geiger, Gijs Geleijnse, Nina Gros, Penny Hagen, Megan Halpern, Greg Hearn, Tad Hirsch, Jettie Hoonhout, Denise Kera, Vera Khovanskaya, Ann Light, Bernt Meerbeek, William Odom, Kenton O’Hara, Charles Spence, Mirjam Struppek, Esther Toet, Marc Tuters, Katharine S. Willis, David L. Wright, Grant Young

Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing

Ubiquitous computing (or ubicomp) is the label for a “third wave” of computing technologies. Following the eras of the mainframe computer and the desktop PC, ubicomp is characterized by small and powerful computing devices that are worn, carried, or embedded in the world around us. The ubicomp research agenda originated at Xerox PARC in the late 1980s; these days, some form of that vision is a reality for the millions of users of Internet-enabled phones, GPS devices, wireless networks, and "smart" domestic appliances. In Divining a Digital Future, computer scientist Paul Dourish and cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell explore the vision that has driven the ubiquitous computing research program and the contemporary practices that have emerged--both the motivating mythology and the everyday messiness of lived experience.Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the authors’ collaboration, the book takes seriously the need to understand ubicomp not only technically but also culturally, socially, politically, and economically. Dourish and Bell map the terrain of contemporary ubiquitous computing, in the research community and in daily life; explore dominant narratives in ubicomp around such topics as infrastructure, mobility, privacy, and domesticity; and suggest directions for future investigation, particularly with respect to methodology and conceptual foundations.

Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming

Today designers often focus on making technology easy to use, sexy, and consumable. In Speculative Everything, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby propose a kind of design that is used as a tool to create not only things but ideas. For them, design is a means of speculating about how things could be—to imagine possible futures. This is not the usual sort of predicting or forecasting, spotting trends and extrapolating; these kinds of predictions have been proven wrong, again and again. Instead, Dunne and Raby pose “what if” questions that are intended to open debate and discussion about the kind of future people want (and do not want).

Speculative Everything offers a tour through an emerging cultural landscape of design ideas, ideals, and approaches. Dunne and Raby cite examples from their own design and teaching and from other projects from fine art, design, architecture, cinema, and photography. They also draw on futurology, political theory, the philosophy of technology, and literary fiction. They show us, for example, ideas for a solar kitchen restaurant; a flypaper robotic clock; a menstruation machine; a cloud-seeding truck; a phantom-limb sensation recorder; and devices for food foraging that use the tools of synthetic biology. Dunne and Raby contend that if we speculate more—about everything—reality will become more malleable. The ideas freed by speculative design increase the odds of achieving desirable futures.

Attention in the Age of Embodied Information

The world is filling with ever more kinds of media, in ever more contexts and formats. Glowing rectangles have become part of the scene; screens, large and small, appear everywhere. Physical locations are increasingly tagged and digitally augmented. Sensors, processors, and memory are not found only in chic smart phones but also built into everyday objects. Amid this flood, your attention practices matter more than ever. You might not be able to tune this world out. So it is worth remembering that underneath all these augmentations and data flows, fixed forms persist, and that to notice them can improve other sensibilities. In Ambient Commons, Malcolm McCullough explores the workings of attention though a rediscovery of surroundings.

Not all that informs has been written and sent; not all attention involves deliberate thought. The intrinsic structure of space—the layout of a studio, for example, or a plaza—becomes part of any mental engagement with it. McCullough describes what he calls the Ambient: an increasing tendency to perceive information superabundance whole, where individual signals matter less and at least some mediation assumes inhabitable form. He explores how the fixed forms of architecture and the city play a cognitive role in the flow of ambient information. As a persistently inhabited world, can the Ambient be understood as a shared cultural resource, to be socially curated, voluntarily limited, and self-governed as if a commons? Ambient Commons invites you to look past current obsessions with smart phones to rethink attention itself, to care for more situated, often inescapable forms of information.

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