Ambient Information 2008 - Accepted Papers

Ambient interface design for a Mobile Browsing Experience (AMBE)
Rosaleen Hegarty, Tom Lunney, Kevin Curran, Maurice Mulvenna

Our preliminary research focuses on the development of an Ambient Mobile Browsing Experience (AMBE) system. AMBE is a communication and synchronization framework that will provide integrated connectivity across heterogeneous geographically distributed devices. The intention is to provide persistent location-independent and appliance sensitive viewing for the user, thus enabling Internet mobility. Human technology interface communication will be abstracted to a representation that facilitates optimization and customization across a number of different displays. This will help to ensure seamless continuity between components providing usability and maximum user convenience. An emphasis of our work is the application of a human-centered design ethos.

Ambient Life: Interrupted Permanent Tactile Life-like Actuation as a Status Display in Mobile Phones
Fabian Hemmert

In this paper, a novel means of status display in mobile phones is discussed: A permanent tactile heartbeat-like pulsation of the phone. In the study presented, this pulse was used to let the phone continuously communicate a calm state of 'Everything is okay.' then, this pulse was suddenly interrupted, as soon as the phone needed the users attention. We hypothesized that the users would instantly notice the missing pulse. The participants in our study wore the phone for one day and were interviewed afterwards. Also, a log file about the events and user responses was kept on the phone. The results suggest that the proposed system is not sufficient as a means of notification; only 55% of the events were noticed within the first minute. While some users were simply annoyed by the pulse, others did like the reassurance that the phone was present and calm, but easy to ignore at the same time. These results indicate that the system might be eligible as an ambient status display for mobile phones.

Stay-in-touch: a system for ambient social reminders
Eugene Kenny, Ross Shannon, Aaron Quigley

Social interactions among a group of friends will typically have a certain recurring rhythm. Most people interact with their own circle of friends at a range of different rates, and through a range of different modalities (by phone, instant messaging, face-to-face meetings etc.). When these naturally recurring interactions are maintained effectively, people feel at ease with the quality and stability of their social network. Conversely, when a person has not interacted with one of their friends for a longer period than they usually do, a problem can be identified in that relationship which may require action to fix. We present Stay-in-touch, an ambient information system which provides peripheral cues to the user which serve as occasional recommendations of which of their friends they should contact soon in order to keep their social network in a healthy state.

User Generated Ambient Presence
Germán Lado Insua, Mike Bennett, Paddy Nixon, Lorcan Coyle

Presence is an important part of our day to day lives. Often we will have a sense of who is around us and what they are doing by the sounds of doors closing, cupboards banging, footsteps on floors, voices vaguely heard through walls, etc. In digital spaces, such as GUI desktops, presence enhances our sense of connection with geographical separate friends and colleagues. In this paper we report on Ambient Jewelry, which is a project exploring the intersection of individual and user generated customization with ambient presence displays. With this research we are seeking techniques that enable people to invent, discover and find new forms of ambient presence visualizations.

The Invisible Display - Design Strategies for Ambient Media in the Urban Context
Dietmar Offenhuber

This paper presents contextual strategies for staging ambient interfaces in public space. While ambient displays are often treated and evaluated as solitary objects in existing literature, I will argue that the experience of an ambient display is not determined in the first place by its intrinsic qualities, but essentially by the way how it is situated within its local context. The six described strategies show how cultural notions and practices can be incorporated into the design of ambient displays. Some of them seem counterintuitive and take advantage of phenomena that a designer usually might want to avoid. At the same time they are an invitation for further experiments and cross-pollination between the fields of architecture, public art and interaction design.

Ambient Displays in Academic Settings: Avoiding their Underutilization
Umar Rashid, Aaron Quigley

This work reports the findings of a case study examining the use of ambient information displays in an indoor academic setting. Using a questionnaire-based survey, we collect experiences and expectations of the viewers who are based on different floors of the same building. Based on the survey feedback, we offer some design principles to avoid the underutilization of large displays and make the most of their potential in indoor environments.

A notification system for a land-mine detector using distributed cognition
Silvia Torsi, Antonio Rizzo

This paper presents a design for a visual display to be added to mine detection equipment. It is an application of the tenets of calm computing to a safety-critical system by putting cognition outside the mind, aligning inputs within the centre of attention and along the periphery, and juxtaposing stimuli in close proximity to the source of the information, all with the aim of increasing safety. The first iteration occurred in the redesign of a land-mine detector is described, starting from a literature review of the related practices, concept design, mock-up production and, finally, heuristic evaluation and the brainstorming undertaken with experts in the field.

Ambient Façades
Bernhard Wally, Alois Ferscha

Public spaces get increasingly equipped with displays in terms of shopping window plasma screens, electronic advertisements at the point of sale, kiosk systems at points of interest, etc. While this trend enables numerous applications in the pervasive display systems domain, it also has effects on how people perceive urban environments. In this work we describe the concept, implementation and first experiences from a real life setup of an ambient façades framework expanding the idea of public displays to façades of arbitrary buildings without modifications on the buildings themselves. With such a framework it is possible to integrate information into buildings in a very unobtrusive way and without interference with the building fabric.