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  • Writer's pictureAmy Burvall

Augmentopia: Making Steel and Glass Organic #edcmooc

The other day I was driving in terrible traffic with my 8 year old daughter and I blurted out :

“Stupid car! Move it!”

She responded sweetly, “Please don’t blame the car- it’s not his fault- he’s being controlled by a human!”

Ha! I thought to myself. Not for long…

The Internet of Things = Physical World + Virtual World

The following (amazing and tilt-shift-infested) video discuss “The Internet of Things” and how digital connections are enhancing and empowering us as


Some takeaways:

“without humans there’s nothing interesting to talk about” (well, that puts the inter in interaction, doesn’t it?)

“what we design as a man-made object is only complete when there are people who are using it” (does that mean we won’t become obsolete?)

“we are toolmakers…these (hardware, software, etc.)  are all augmentations of our abilities as humans” (how do we make these augmentations “feel natural, beautiful, and not get in the way”?)…

so can we get away from

“the beep”????

“there are millions of things I can do (on my phone) when I am with you, but am I then really with you?” (echos of Sherry Turkle’s TED talk)

How has this “piece of plastic and metal” that is our phones changed our behavior- for the better or worse? Do product designers assume responsibility?


Photo Credit: MarkKelley via Compfight cc

“…you’re removing the extraneous, you’re removing the artificial” (natural gestures + voice= awesomeness)

OMG She mentioned HAPTICS)



I love the concept of augmenting our senses with built-in tech devices such as Neil Harbisson’s:

“What’s NOT wonderful is “fake analog'”…. (how can we do something more than print? Something “appropriate, magical”, and that “enhances the experience?”)…well, what about Augmented reality advertising?

MORE about the experience/ what we’re doing LESS about the device


This is why stories, photographs, film, artwork, poetry are crucial – they “never go out of style” (chrome = “just a signal; devoid of meaning”)

Sweet Spot = “making use of the knowledge…the metaphor without imitating it”

“You are setting a stage for other people to perform…you have to perform surgery on the live patients…while you have millions of users registered”

“the idea that it’s different in the morning than it was in the evening is a really good way to stay connected to the idea that the world is changing” (on the organic nature of maps)

“you cannot necessarily foresee the consequences when people adopt what you have designed” (an Interactive Designer’s greatest challenge…how it’s like “throwing a stone into the water”)

ECOSYSTEM = Human at the center, not the device

“The ‘Internet of Things’ is essentially about connecting all kinds of things and stuff that currently is not connected digitally” (will our things be “smarter” than we are? And if so, do we care?)

Gotta get me some of those Situational Buttons…Harvard-worthy light-switches!

How do/will  we have “natural conversations with objects”?

Collecting and Presenting data “much more subtly – something that is meaningful to you from the corner of your eye”

This totally reminds me of the now-famous Google Glass video – All my students were wowed- especially when he takes a photo with a quick-and-dirty voice command (no fumbling for cell phone in the pocket)

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screenshot from YT video

“people are now entering their lives into a digital format”…(so what to we do with all that data?)

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image is a screenshot from the “Internet of Things” video by IBMSocialMedia (see farther down in post)


The shift in the MEDICAL world (12:56) seems to echo that of the EDUCATION world – a movement from place-based isolation to perpetual, informal, and connected – how will the roles of doctors (like teachers) change?

“The Network is sampling the World”

I’m reminded of this great visualization of Tweets exchanged between Japan and the rest of the world during the massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 10.00.58 PM

“there’s a superorganism building up in which humans are no longer at the top of the food chain”

“there’s this powerful kind of secondary effect and emergent power that is purely delivered by good interactions, interfaces, good ways of connecting people”


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“many of us are not aware of the extent to which we are a part of something bigger”



Check out The Internet of Things Council for intriguing articles and blog posts.

On the site, they discuss the notion of  a “Second Renaissance”

We have been discussing this since 2005 and believe that the Internet of Things & Services can be a key technology driver for this social movement — a change from control paradigm to communities of purpose. We are technologists, but the opportunities that exist now cannot be realized by technology alone. The creative energy of people from all walks of life must be combined. That is why we are examining history for periods and regions where creativity changed society”…

…”It is more than the internet we know — it goes beyond empowering people to communicate and collaborate. The Internet of Things can connect any product or service. And it automatically links what might emerge as a result of this collaboration — interact even without human intervention.”

Why Renaissance?

“In our opinion the historical period with the most striking similarities is the European Renaissance starting around the 14th century. The Renaissance heralded the end of the medieval society. Today, we are also in the transition to a new society based on purposeful communities: the transition from the knowledge or information society to the creative society. The Second Renaissance  has begun”

The Planet Has Grown a Central Nervous System (check out all the hidden sensors!)

Looking at our planet as an “Information Creation and Transmission System”

Check out this great article; “5 Reasons to Get Excited About Augmented Reality in 2013”

For a different perspective this Wired article discuss the IoT meme and what it means for security

My student found a great article “The Case Against Augmented Reality”, and she addressed her own concerns in her blog post.

#ar #cyborg #future #edcmooc #internetofthings #Google #neilharbisson #augmentedreality #interactivedesign #connecting

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