Weeknotes 107

For some years I send out newsletters via Getrevue. I started doing this weekly this year again. This week I start by sharing this newsletter also via my blog. One of the reasons is a possible revival of the RSS reader for reading and having this as blogposts here makes it possible for you to subscribe to this in your favorite reader. I hope this fulfills a need, and if not, it is a nice way to archive :-)

As a quick update of activities: as announced I participated in a DIS workshop on Expressive/Sensitive interactions with robotic objects. The workshop was well prepared and showed again the value of breakout rooms and a strict Miro template. Aspects of agency, contextual interactions, illusions of life where discussed. The value of these kinds of workshops is not in a specific outcome but finding common grounds with different researchers to kick-off more specific partnerships for the future. Looking forward to the follow-up!

For this week I will be checking out the online event on Tuesday by Stacey Higginbotham ’Everything is Connected’, well-known in IoT community with here Stacey on IoT podcast and newsletter. And on Thursday NGI Forward is organizing a session on Dialogues on Digital Identity with some nice speakers.

Furthermore, this week is about catching up with graduation projects in the Cities of Things Delft Design Lab and developing the next step for the research. And we are discussing ThingsCon activities that are planned for August, September, and our annual event in December.

On with the news. Enough to share I think. Hiding robots, challenging COVID-tracking, and spatial interfaces. Some eye-candy and the 48 rules of Powerpoint.

Let’s start with the robots.

Jibo, the social robot that was supposed to die, is getting a second life
When I saw Jibo for the first time at SXSW it was before the rise all intelligent voice speakers. The design of the animated interaction is super interesting, but it took too long to come to the market and the software and intelligence did not become on par with the other assistants. It went out of business with broken promises. I am curious if the reboot will live up and Jibo can become the family companion.

Where Is Robotics Heading? Perspectives From iRobot (Colin Angle), Stanley Black & Decker, And Robots In Service Of The Environment
“With robots increasingly being used in both professional and personal settings, where are we in the current state of robotics and where is the robotics industry heading?”That the golden age of robotics is predicted by these experts that are in the industry is not a surprise, but I think it is kind of true.
Especially as we will see that robotic characteristics will become part of motorized tools (like a drill). Just like the smart home is not part of a separate device but is just the next iteration fo your washing machine. 

World’s first robots employment agency
The concept of an AI employment agency I knew but now there is one for robots. Make sense. Will it be like leasing a car and developing into private leasing a robot for your household tasks? 

And autonomous objects and systems entering our lives…

Amazon Scout heads south
I follow this news of autonomous delivery pods closely as it is a poster child for the Things As Citizens-research. Lockdown pods we might start to call them, capable to avoid all of the human interaction creating a last-mile social distancing…Imagine a street full of pods like multiple robot vacuums that can be called out as a delivery device both ways…

Researchers develop the 3D hand-sensing wristband
“Cornell researchers have designed the first wrist-mounted device that successfully and continuously tracks finger movements without the use of external cameras.”Not completely true; thermal cameras are used to read the contours of the wrist, nevertheless interesting development, especially as soon we will add an augmented vision layer to our span of digital control.

Scientists Say You Can Cancel the Noise but Keep Your Window Open
Living at a busy street this triggers my attention and I can imagine the benefits directly. Too bad human voices remain unfiltered as drunk yelling people are one the most disturbing sounds. (ftr: I’m not complaining, it is a choice to live in the city center :-)

On the other side: challenges in tech relations..

Major Security Flaws Found in South Korea Quarantine App 
As we testing the Dutch Corona-app for projected launch in September and also following the discussions in the UK, this whole topic of uncontrollable identity treatment will continu the coming time… 

NHS contact-tracing app Ethics Board scrapped
Speaking of problems in the UK with contact-tracing app ethics…. The solution is as creative as cynical… 

Europe must not rush Google-Fitbit deal 
Why is this interesting? Well it is interesting how the interest of data profiles moving from a smaller company to a larger like Google is now mainstream news. And of course a thankful topic to stretch the muscles for regulators and define the operating space… Or is that cynical? 

Leading to new balances in society.

India, Jio, and the Four Internets
The always smart Ben Thompson is opening our eyes for a new core player on the internet: India with Jio telecom provider. 

And more concrete, to new forms of experiencing interactions.

Spatial interfaces for conversations and software (Interconnected)
This new tool for online conversations with a spatial component (MakeSpace) seems very interesting. And Matt Webb is giving a great overview of spatial interfaces.

And to end, some eye-candy

Gorgeous 4K Video of Mars
In case you missed it: some eye candy. Works very well as Zoom background I think!

And useful tips

Russell Davies: The 48 Laws of PowerPoint
There are some people I always try to see presenting (live or via video) as they combine interesting ideas with great attention to the presentation. Without the following the usual paths of 18 min TED talks. Russell Davies belongs to that group for sure. So happy to see he is creating a book on presenting. And he teases it in a compelling way.

To end with some triggers for personal reflections

The Four Quadrants of Conformism
In times of cultural wars, these are good reflections by Paul Graham. Draw your own quadrant while reading and plot yourself :-)

That rounds-up this week’s newsletter. Have a great week!

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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