NYCCHI Presents: Connected Spaces – the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Natural User Interfaces (NUI) are rapidly transforming how we live and interact. With the confluence of near-universal mobile and device connectivity; rapidly standardizing data protocols and platforms and the advent of “big data” analytics; and the rise of alternate means of consumer interactions with digital devices through voice, motion, and gaze as well as touch and mouse/keyboard interactions– both NUI and IoT have finally arrived. The IoT product sector is now growing rapidly, with hundreds of millions invested in IoT companies, platforms and products in the last two years. The confluence of IoT and NUI is also a wide-ranging new frontier for UX, spanning healthcare and personal monitoring; event and spatial interaction design; home and security management; remotely connected cars, devices and appliances; and much more.

IoT and NUI present exciting challenges for UX professionals to consider new means of interactions beyond a simple computer or device screen and keyboard, with new types of input and management of data as well as the marriage of hardware products and digital software design. NYC-CHI will be hosting a series of events to explore this new frontier of UX over the next several months.

Beverly May, acting NYC-CHI President, hosted the event featuring Brett Renfer, creative director at the LAB at Rockwell Group; Elliot Blanchard, director/lead at Invisible Light Network; Julio Terra, producer and interaction designer at the LAB at Rockwell Group.

Beverly May, acting NYC-CHI President, hosted the event featuring Brett Renfer, creative director at the LAB at Rockwell Group; Elliot Blanchard, director/lead at Invisible Light Network; and Julio Terra, producer and interaction designer at the LAB at Rockwell Group.

Connected Spaces was the first event in this series held in September 2013 at Parsons School of Design. It focused specifically on creating interactive, “smart” spaces and environments. The event was divided into two parts: talk and play! First, was an overview of this growing niche through a brief overview and actual case studies from Brett Renfer at the Rockwell Group Lab and Elliot Blanchard from Invisible Light Network. These case studies focused specifically on the UX design of interactive spaces from actual projects. Watch it on YouTube.

Brett Renfer’s full slideshow: Connected Spaces IoT: Prototyping Interactive Spaces

ROCKWELL GROUP LAB:  As an interactive design firm embedded within a larger architecture firm, the LAB seeks to blur the line between the physical and virtual in all of our projects.  Our process relies heavily on iterative prototypes. Through making and experimenting we gain a deeper understanding of the user experience and uncover new opportunities and insights.

In our presentation we will explore two projects that showcase different aspects of our work process. Plug-in-Play is a performative celebration of city life and activity, where  both physical and virtual activity is filtered and translated into an abstracted cityscape that is projected on the façade of the San Jose City Hall building. The West Lobby of the Cosmopolitan is a site-specific, permanent new media platform that creates a larger-than-life inhabitable environment.

Elliot Blanchard’s full slideshow: Connected Spaces IoT: Ring by Invisible Light Network

INVISIBLE LIGHT NETWORK: For South By Southwest 2013, Invisible Light Network built Ring – a connected space that represented a new way to measure grassroots buzz. Ring tracked Twitter and Tumblr activity for all 1800+ bands performing at SXSW Music, mapping the network of retweets and Tumblr reblogs that move initial posts through the social media world in a beautiful, biologically inspired metaphor – and allowing visitors to interact with the data through a touchscreen interface. And because Ring was built from the ground up as a hardware-accelerated Chrome app, anyone in the world was able to experience Ring using a Chrome browser.

Invisible Light Network also thought beyond the screen with their Nu project. Nu transformed music into a unique piece of wearable art – using sophisticated audio analysis, generative 3D code, and 3D printing, Nu transformed the fundamental musical elements of a song into a unique physical structure.

The second part of the event was a hands-on workshop with NYC’s own open-source spatial programming platform, Spacebrew! The workshop enabled people to get a first- hand view of how to program and use Spacebrew.

Full slideshow of Connected Spaces IoT: Spacebrew Workshop

Spacebrew is an open, dynamically re-routable software toolkit for choreographing interactive spaces. Or, in other words, a simple way to connect interactive things (such as computers, mobile devices, and internet of things objects) to one another. Every element you hook up to the system can subscribe and publish data. Using a web-based visual switchboard you can dynamically connect, and disconnect, these elements to each other.

To learn more about this event, visit Eventbrite.

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