Social Wearable Displays

After some days of intense writing mostly done by Larissa, our first paper in our lives ever has been submitted! Yeah, yeah, yeah!

We are exploring the use of small displays as an instrument to enhance social communication. Our focus is on encouraging communication between strangers by revealing the existence of common friends. In the following we present the concept of the SocialButton, a wearable mobile device which displays aspects of friend-of-a-friend networks. A group study has provided us with an initial understanding regarding the potential of the SocialButton to influence our social environment.

More backgrounds on the paper can be found in the archive and on Larissa’s blog, of course.

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faster, better, smarter

Are Computer Games evolving as their own medium, a new form of art and even as tool? Strong arguments for the autonomy of games were deliverd by a class at FU Berlin, Computer Games and Media Theory, that introduced the emerging field of Game Studies to me.

Economically, the production of computer games generates a much larger impact than the production of film for several years already. But gaming itself was still regarded as a waste of time. This does change a lot nowadays, as games get a tool in business processes i.e. you can earn money with it i.e. it suddenly turns out to be something very sensible to do. (best example: SecondLife). Plus, serious gaming tries to make use of our desire to play.

Beside these purely economic interests there is more and more evidence that gaming makes you think and gives your brain a good training for your everyday life as well as for some specialised tasks: fine motor skills for surgeons, faster reactions for sports and military, knowledge of economic correlations, just to mention some ideas. While trying to master a game, looking for workarounds – yes, cheating – even amplyfies our creative efforts and must be regarded as an approach of its own to games. As Reto Wettach (one of my professors at FH Potsdam) and Ralf Grauel mention in their talk at Typo Berlin 2006, a game offers a unique combination of joy and mental activity, offering ideal possibilities for the growth of neurons in our brain. They even come to the conclusion that we are on the way from the achievment- towards a play-oriented society: Being not only faster and better in a playful competition, but finally winning by being smarter!

Moreover, it seems to me to be a small proof for my opinion that our society is judging about life-styles, activities and projects way to fast and with little regard for other than fast-paying economic factors. The importance of games was evident to Schiller already (in his Aesthetical Education of Man) and we are, however, still far form his ideas today

[Man] is only fully man where he plays


fighting bugs in mobile processing

For the further development of our Social Display prototype we were in need for a transceiver, a display and some computing power. All of this can be found nicly bundled into a state-of-the-art mobile phone. I had heard of a mobile version of processing and after a quick view (when I found a cool example-code for some bluetooth-tricks by Francis Li), we decided to give it a try.


autonomous assistants

[edit 080223] There is a new and English abstract![/edit]
[edit 071129]With my thesis I want to explore what role machines can play in our interaction with extended social networks.[/edit]

here comes the latest version of my proposal that will be the basis for my master thesis at FH Potsdam.

Please do comment as much as you can and like, everything is appreciated!

Get proposal pdf 230 kb, text in German only


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Analytics by Semiotics

When talking about virtual and real worlds it soon gets difficult to determine what we consider as virtual and real. Our thoughts and imaginations are not technically enhanced or otherwise mysterious but they are not part of the actual, material world, either. They do shape our perspective and our plans and actions.

Public Buildings are solid environments but their particular determination, they way we perceive the building and select a proper behavior is not built-in but a system of signs and codes that we read permanently.
With the means of Semiotic Analysis I investigated on the relation between (real) buildings and our interpretation, that means our (virtual) reconstruction. The results are presented by an interactive documentation that reflects the subjective process of decoding (unfortunately, texts in German only). It is the fruit of the Master Class in Design Theory, led by Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke.

As a first example, I examined the Berlin Central Railway Station as a hub of public transport on the one side and I discovered an interference with the mixed-in shopping mall concept on the other one. Having travelling in mind initially, a passenger has to cross the shopping sector. This changes the context for his decoding of sign systems, so he misses the guides to the trains easily.

Berlin Hbf Identitaetskrise - Titelbild flash, 3.4 MB

For the second example, I was wondering which signs and features render a church into a somewhat mystic room with a very special atmosphere. Although one could still call it a house by its primary features it makes people whisper and feel different. Featured buildings include St. Hedwig, St. Paulus, Sophienkirche, and Maria Saal (Kaernten, A)
mythosraum kirche - title flash, 4.6 mb