Physical objects have digital shadow

Mike Kuniavsky recently gave a talk at Baychi. His presentation was focused on ubiquitous computing and was called: sketching smart things. Specifically his talk revolved around several interesting ideas:
1. Embedded information processing and networking is a material – when the cost of the Ubicomp elements becomes low, the designer have the freedom to explore, make “errors” and design.

2. Applianceness (term coined by Bill Sharpe) – the cross section between application and appliances.

3. Physical objects cast information shadows – every object has a digital shadow, a Meta data entity that has a life of its own.

4. Devices are service avatars- a key hardware component of ubiquitous computing is networking which places the emphasis on the information accessibility rather then the device.

5. Granularity determines key aspects of experience design – while we are used to multi purpose devices, with one size fits all both in input and output, ubiquitous computing allows more purposeful design.

6. Magic is a powerful Ubicomp metaphor. Ubicomp allows designers to enchant and animate objects, and make the interaction clearer and more visible.

The idea that physical objects cast information shadows is one that captured me more then the others, mostly because it is so poetic. It assumes the equality between all physical objects, animated and non-animated. It assumes that a virtual entity retains their presences long after their physical caster had disappeared. Instant messengers Bots are (like Santa clause Bot) already creating a confusing experience. It is not that hard to think about a Facebook Bot that interacts with my friends better then I am. This reminds me the story of the guy that was fed up with his shadow so much that on day he cut it and left him behind. To this guy’s misfortune, the shadow had its own plans and soon enough he took the guys’ identity and life. The shadow was so successful in his mission that people thought that he was more lively then his former owner.


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