Ph.D. defense

I am glad to announce that I successfully defended my Ph.D. at Arts et Métiers Paristech on March 31th, 2013! I would like to thank Nadine Couture and Gilles Coppin for reviewing my manuscript, as well as Nicolas Nova and Vincent Boly for being in my jury. French speakers can more information on my research are available on this page. The slides of my presentation are embedded below.

Update: the manuscript is also available on this page

Smart alarm clocks: work-in-progress pictures

I have uploaded many work-in-progress pictures of the smart alarm clocks on Flickr. The full photoset is available after the break.

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Designing for augmentation

I had the chance to present my work on augmented environments and products during *di*/zaïn #4. The embedded slides shows new screenshots of the Environment Browser I designed at Bell Labs and enhanced pictures of the smart alarm clock. A video of my presentation (in french) is also embedded after the break. Thanks to DesignersInteractifs for the invitation.

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How will smart objects look like?

During my PhD, I tried to envision different futures involving many kind of modifications regarding the design of objects. When mapping the possible evolutions, I came up with this taxonomy.

Objects can wheter:
remain the same and need a terminal. Most researchers and manufacturers of connected objects currently adopt this approach. Mobile or computer mediations are leveraged to allow users to configure or interact with the capabilities that cannot be accessed from the physical user interfaces.
become docks for terminals. By making technologies converging into one device, smart phones have already replaced many objects. Alarm clocks, radios or music players are not as popular as before. This leads manufacturers to redesign such objects as docks that are used in combination with terminals.
become a touch interface. The success of touch interactions leads the industry to integrate touch screens into objects’ form factors. This tends to reduce the place of physical user interfaces to the benefit of graphical user interfaces that can be refreshed with a single
disappear in the environment. With the ongoing research conducted on flexible and very thin displays that can be embedded into walls or windows, companies illustrate a future where information and services are delivered by the environment. This would bring people to own and use fewer objects than today and interact with services through multiple surfaces.
be redesigned with physical and virtual users interfaces. Concept products as the Olinda radio6 demonstrate that services instantiated on top of objects can be materialized with dedicated buttons, displays or interactors. As mentioned in part 4, projected or mixed reality interfaces can be used to avoid overloading the physical user interface.
explode in several modules. Researchers of tangible computing have already explored the concept of graspable building blocks that can be combined to produce (e.g. especially in tangible programming) or interact with systems. Such approach can be adopted to create modules for each core feature of a given object.
be reinvented to allow shape shifting. A more prospective vision consists in picturing objects as dynamic entities capable of changing their forms according to the context of use or to the associated services. This approach can be considered as the most disruptive since it does not follow any pre-established standards regarding the shape of objects.