- Achievement Design 101 — advice from the guy who designs the site-wide achievement awards for Kongregate. 7. Achievements will thrust their subject matter into the spotlight; make sure it’s worthy. This can be good or bad. In most cases on Kongregate, adding achievements to games will cause the user rating to drop. There are many theories about why this is — my best guess is that there’s a difference in psychology between people who play a game just to have fun (how weird!) and people who play a game to earn achievements. For the latter category, the whole game can be viewed as merely an obstacle. (via diveintomark)
- Fundamental Constants and the Problem of Gravity — huge variation uncertainty in different fundamental constants: we know one to 1 part in 100 million, but another to only 1 in 10 thousand. Led me to wonder whether anyone’s done project estimation with error bars, analysing past projects to figure out the error rates in estimates of programmer time, etc.
- How to Download an eBook From The Cleveland Public Library — aka “Why DRM Doesn’t Work”. The usability of this 22-step process is appalling. (via BoingBoing)
- Defining Ubiquitous Computing vs Augmented Reality — not arbitrary terms but there are some interesting concepts that ubicomp has which don’t seem to be coming out in the current AR fad. (via bruces on Twitter)
"augmented reality" entries
Achievement Design, Estimation, DRM Usability, and Ubicomp v AR
The ARMAR project shows how augmented reality can revolutionize learning
The ARMAR augmented reality project out of Columbia University offers an intriguing glimpse into how AR and education may soon intersect. Instead of rifling through a manual or looking up information, an AR layer could guide you through a task. The creators of ARMAR talk about their work and its implications in this Q&A.
Last night I dreamed that one of my authors (no name or face that I can recall – one of the phantasms created by the half-waking imagination) had sold me rights to a novel he'd written, and was eager for me to publish it as an ebook. It turned out that the "ebook" we were developing was actually a movie…
- ProFORMA — software which builds a 3D model as you rotate an object in front of your webcam. Check out the video below. (via Wired)
- Historic Documents in Computer Science — my eye was caught by John Backus’s first FORTRAN manual, Niklaus Wirth’s original Pascal paper, the BCPL reference manual (the C programming language got its name from the C in BCPL), and Eckert and Mauchly’s ENIAC patent. (via Hacker News)
The iPhone, in addition to revolutionizing how people thought about mobile phone user interfaces, also was one of the first devices to offer a suite of sensors measuring everything from the visual environment to position to acceleration, all in a package that could fit in your shirt pocket. On December 3rd, O’Reilly will be offering a one-day online edition of the Where 2.0 conference, focusing on the iPhone sensors, and what you can do with them.
DIY Diagnostic Chips, Genetics on $5k a Genome, Cellphones as Diagnostic Microscopes, AR-Equipped Mechanics Do It Heads-Up
- A children’s toy inspires a cheap, easy production method for high-tech diagnostic chips — microfluidic chips (with tiny liquid-filled channels) can cost $100k and more. Michelle Khine used the Shrinky Dinks childrens’ toy to make her own. “I thought if I could print out the [designs] at a certain resolution and then make them shrink, I could make channels the right size for microfluidics,” she says. (via BoingBoing)
- Complete Genomics publishes in Science on low-cost sequencing of 3 human genomes (press release) — The consumables cost for these three genomes sequenced on the proof-of-principle genomic DNA nanoarrays ranged from $8,005 for 87x coverage to $1,726 for 45x coverage for the samples described in this report. Drive that cost down! There’s a gold rush in biological discovery at the moment as we pick the low-hanging fruit of gross correlations between genome and physiome, but the science to reveal the workings of cause and effect is still in its infancy. We’re in the position of the 18th century natural philosophers who were playing with static electricity, oxygen, anaesthetics, and so on but who lacked today’s deeper insights into physical and chemical structure that explain the effects they were able to obtain. More data at this stage means more low-hanging fruit can be plucked, but the real power comes when we understand “how” and not just “what”. (via BoingBoing)
- Far From a Lab? Turn a Cellphone into a Microscope (NY Times) — for some tests, you can use a camphone instead of a microscope. In one prototype, a slide holding a finger prick of blood can be inserted over the phone’s camera sensor. The sensor detects the slide’s contents and sends the information wirelessly to a hospital or regional health center. For instance, the phones can detect the asymmetric shape of diseased blood cells or other abnormal cells, or note an increase of white blood cells, a sign of infection, he said.
- Augmented reality helps Marine mechanics carry out repair work (MIT TR) — A user wears a head-worn display, and the AR system provides assistance by showing 3-D arrows that point to a relevant component, text instructions, floating labels and warnings, and animated, 3-D models of the appropriate tools. An Android-powered G1 smart phone attached to the mechanic’s wrist provides touchscreen controls for cueing up the next sequence of instructions. […] The mechanics using the AR system located and started repair tasks 56 percent faster, on average, than when wearing the untracked headset, and 47 percent faster than when using just a stationary computer screen.
Much like the farm wife with her Sears catalog, consumers will be able to use simple AR applications to make more informed buying decisions. Some items are well-suited to commerce with AR, but others need image recognition and databases containing all the information a consumer might need. Expect retail outlets and brands that provide fast-moving consumer goods to be among those eager to exploit mobile AR for shopping.
There is a risk that talk about haptic interfaces and heads up displays for AR will seem like just hype, and certain industry participants fear that over promising and under-delivering could send AR in the same direction as Virtual Reality went a decade ago: into oblivion. That said, new ways of interacting with digital data on the real world are possible and not hype to those who work on them. To appreciate the full potential of new user interaction for AR, a test drive is valuable.
The hottest applications for AR in the next year will closely resemble familiar human interactions with the physical world. We interact with objects in our environment. Then we move through space, get to where we are going with the fewest detours, or, perhaps to discover places and landmarks (points of interest) that would otherwise have been overlooked. We also enjoy interacting with one another.