Filtering by Category: evolution

Drones controlled by Playstation-like joypads

Just found this:

"And yet the US military does little to discourage the notion that this peculiar brand of long-distance warfare has a great deal in common with the video-gaming culture in which many young UAV operators have grown up. As one military robotics researcher tells Peter Singer, the author of Wired for War, “We modeled the controller after the PlayStation because that’s what these eighteen-, nineteen-year-old Marines have been playing with pretty much all of their lives.” And by now, of course, we also have video games that incorporate drones: technology imitating life that imitates technology."

Other similar instances of transferring video game controllers tot he military: PS2 pad to control mobile robots, missiles controlled by PS2 pad

Why do I blog this? material for the game controller project, examples showing how certain interfaces become a standard that can be transferred to other domains.

Madrigal on "QR Codes Are the Roller-Skating Horses of Advertising”

(several codes encountered in Madrid last week).

Alexis Madrigal has a good piece in The Atlantic about QR codes, their proliferation in advertising and their low adoption rate by users. Some excerpts I enjoyed

" This is a picture of a roller-skating horse named Jimmy. I think he is a great analogy to explain why QR codes, those little black-and-white squares in magazines that you're supposed to use as a paper hyperlink, continue to proliferate. Let me explain. (...) For now, though, we've got QR codes. And it appears we'll continue to have them. Don't be fooled, though: this is a novelty more than anything else. I think print magazine ads work and I think digital campaigns work. But when I look at a QR code, I don't see the future, I see a roller-skating horse. Advertisers deploying QR codes are like people in 1900 wanting transportation to be faster, saying to themselves, "Well, we've got horses and we've got roller skates -- I think we're on to something! It seems gimmicky, but we're innovating." Meanwhile, inventors in garages were building the first janky, bug-ridden automobiles, the Model T just a few years away."

Why do I blog this? Given my interest in technological trajectories, it's relevant to put things in perspective and see how they fit in the global picture. Will the QR code eventually work? Is it just a "bridge technology"? I don't know but there's something worth digging here. Also, make sure to read the comments, the arguments in there are quite insightful... the way people defend QR codes ("QR is a good technology for condensing lots of information into a small physical space") is sometimes very tech-oriented and does not account for issues related to human usage.

The diversity of platforms to read digital texts

Why do I blog this? Working on a chapter in my book about recurring failures of technologies, I quickly created this diagram that shows the different iterations of platforms to read digital texts/content. The point was to show the large diversity of systems, as opposed to the unique "e-book reader" (reading books on photoframe!?). Of course, it's quickly made so I just mapped the different technical objects that enable people to access digital texts/content (based on various form factors, devices). I also avoided overloading the diagram by only adding seminal devices (lots of Apple devices in there) and some recent versions. I certainly missed other platforms.

"The search for industrial inheritance" by Nick Foster

"The search for industrial inheritance" by nick foster is a super insightful talk presented at Interesting North 2010. It deals with the evolution of artifacts and the continuity of industrial innovation:

[slideshare id=5790491&doc=industrialinheritance-101115193829-phpapp01]

Why do I blog this? This material is very close to what we are addressing in the game controller project (as well as in my course series about interface evolution). The examples given (digital cameras in particular) are quite intriguing and it's pertinent to see the conclusion reached by the presenter (1. Be willing to launch a risky mutant, it may just succeed, 2. Make sure you make it genetically agile, 3. Have a think what its kids might be like).