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Posts Tagged ‘Innovations’

Check out Microvision’s SHOWWX. The SHOWWX Laser Pico Projector is a pocket-sized projection device that can connect to iPods, PCs and other TV-Out devices expected to be made commercially available in March 2010 in the US. Microvision also offers an evaluation kit for other companies who want to embed this technology in their digital products e.g. mobile phones.

While there are obvious uses, this is really intriguing technology from a learning perspective. For the mobile learning folks, this should be a cause for some celebration because of now the ability to use a much larger and high resolution screen estate for animations, videos and regular learning materials.

For elearning, as such, this becomes another platform for individuals and small groups to learn on. What would be interesting is if Pranav Mistry’s efforts putting a camera + projector + motion recognition could be embedded on top the mobile phone or wearable headsets commercially thus making enhanced learner interaction possible. Perhaps an embedded flip open mouse pad on the mobile phone as one of the connected devices could be invented as an option in the meantime.

Learning that requires physical experiences can also be augmented and supported by this technology. For example, a class taking water samples to check purity, using a laptop with a sensor kit and instrumentation software, could augment physical conditions with other sources of information, such as from a Wiki. (See for example the automobile location charting initiatives).

Using a camera and various technologies to recognize visual objects (that have been demonstrated recently in addition to tag-based solutions like QRCodes and Microsoft Tag), physical information can be marked up and even analyzed across other learners and data sources, thus enhancing the learning experience.

In the classroom, we could have one or more hubs actually sharing out information, if so designed to be used, even while the class is in-session – with multiple displays replacing or supplementing the traditional whiteboards.

Perhaps new media forms will emerge as a result. For example, clusters of pico units could integrate into a central console that instructors could use to flip between for the entire class. The experience itself could result in the classroom experience being captured and rendered with different perspectives in mind.

Perhaps, applications will start becoming gesture-enabled as projects such as Microsoft Natal and Mistry’s Sixth Sense begin to capture commercial and popular interest.

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I am a little ambivalent about this one – the Open Screen project. Adobe is leading this initiative along with other majors such as Nokia. Their dream is to unify and defragment our experiences with internet, devices and media by providing a “consistent runtime environment for open web browsing and standalone applications”.

The runtime enviroment is one thought-out combination of device (PC, mobile phone, kiosk etc.), operating system, browser and media (read Flash) capabilities that they hope will get users “richer, more interactive, and universal user experiences across devices”. Basically cross-platform both in terms of viewing experiences and interaction possibilities (interoperability) that the new Internet engenders.

Why am I ambivalent? A $10 mn fund for developers over 2 years should perhaps be reason enough to realize the commitment of these players to the strategy. Moreover, a brief look at the supporting partners must rank as the who is who of telecom, computing and software. Not only that I saw that Adobe has committed to making AIR and Flash player open.

The response on the Silverlight side is also very interesting. Perhaps that is the reason for the ambivalence I have. I am sure there is space enough for two (or more) technologies to operate in the same space. However, this debate and struggle may result in greater defragmentation and lesser interoperability than before.

More to come…

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You just have to watch this video of the innovation that MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group created. Like all innovations that blur the lines between two or more ways of experiencing or doing things, this innovation is breathtaking.

In this innovation, Pranav Mistry and his team blur the lines – the projection target is not your gaming console or computer/projection screen – it is any projectable surface. Extending the idea, the interaction is not through the keyboard or mouse or through a gaming console, but through simple hand movements that are captured through motion sensing.

Applying it to commercial uses, Pranav uses the technology to blur the lines between an internet database and common uses such as buying a product or finding if your flight is delayed, between a group of users and common uses such as collaboration to create a 3D model (look at inkuitive on the list of projects on Pranav’s home page).

If you look at TaPuMa (again on the list of projects on Pranav’s home page), you can see how the lines are blurred again – take a wristwatch, put it on a console or in front of a scanner, and it tells you which duty free shop in the airport terminal where you are standing, sells the watch. Interestingly put, Pranav states:

The broad concept behind the project TaPuMa is ‘Object Amelioration’, where the functions of everyday objects can be expanded by using their affordances or functionalities in a variety of different contexts.

Microsoft Tag (and other existing mechanisms like QR Codes) is blurring the lines by merging print with online experiences. VoiceThread blurred the lines by allowing a phone to web integration of user comments. Others are blurring the lines in many other ways and using many other devices (see iPhone apps, social media/network integration, Film 2.0).

The lines are really what we are used to doing. Blurring them causes us to react emotionally and with surprise at the possibility (with more than a little awe, too) which is in front of us but we had not thought of or thought possible. When the dust settles, we look for the utility of these innovative ideas, the cost, the production capabilities and the availability.

What is really interesting is that perhaps a simple analytical process of juxtaposing two or more different types of objects, experiences, media etc. can be the starting point and result in innovative ideas such as these. Many of them may not be implementable given the current state of technology, many implemented only through  sheer genius and lots of them may be already taken, but there is really a whole universe there waiting to be explored.

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