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Archive for the ‘Interactivity’ Category

Chrome OS

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Yesterday we were shown a video about Chrome OS. Google recently released their own browser called Google Chrome, which is marketed to be faster, easier to use and a much more “fluid” browser to use. The video was talking about how mainly nowadays people use computers purely for the internet, when computers operating systems are designed to do many different tasks and actions. The video was putting out the idea of Chrome OS. The OS stands for Operating System, and it is an alternative to Windows, Linux and OSX. It is to be released early 2011, and will feature a minimilist approach. 

Chrome OS

Personally I think it is a neat idea which would do its job very well, as it wouldnt be having to load un-needed software onto the hard drive. It is also going along with the whole “the future is cloud” mantra, where in the future we will all be using software which is based on a cloud network. (all software ran from remote servers over the internet)

Content Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome_OS

Interface 3: Cash Machines

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

The third interface I have chosen to write about are the ones seen on Cash Machines. For some people these are used daily, and they are definitely a popular feature, especially in more isolated areas. They can be found outside most supermarkets and also outside banks. There can also be standalone cash machines which anybody can own and operate, which usually charge a fee for usage, and can be seen inside independent shops, in theme parks and in airports.

Cash Machine Interface

The system works from when a customer is identified by their insertion a plastic card with a magnetic stripe or an embedded chip which contains a unique card number, expiry dates and also the customer’s information. This information is also written physically on the card. This is cross-referenced, and the customer is allowed to withdraw up to their account balance in £5, £10 and £20 notes.

The systems usually were based on operating systems RMX or OS/2, but nowadays are seen running Windows XP.  The interface is a very basic and seemingly not too user friendly. They have a basic appearance as seen in the image and are reminiscent of the DOS Operating System, usually blue backgrounds and white text, in capitals. This makes for a very unprofessional appearance compared to the interfaces we see nowadays.

I would propose that  they update the interface to a much more professional one, with lots more options to customise how you receive your money. More detailed information could be more handy such as what your overdraft could be, options to add an overdraft from the cash machine and previous transactions you’ve taken, on-screen. Also some measure to improve the speed from when you press the button to when the action occurs would be a good idea as sometimes the machines lag behind massively and take up time doing a simple task.

Content Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_teller_machine

Presentation: Future Car Technologies

November 2, 2010 2 comments

Here is the presentation I made for the Interactivity part of the course. It is based on the Past, Present and Future progression in electric car technology.

Introduction to Motion Tweens

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Today we were introduced to Motion Tweens in Adobe Flash. This is a technique used to move a flash object from one place to another easily. you just define the start place and the end place, and the software fills the gaps. It can also make the shape change colour or change shape at the same time. We were also shown that to do this you need to convert the shape into a symbol.

Ted Talks Logo

We started the session by watching a TED Talks Video about a couple of developed technologies, one of which was really advanced. Its name is SeaDragon, and it grabbed the entire library of photos about a specific subject (In this case, The Notre Dame Cathedral. It then calculated where each was taken in correspondence with each other, generated a 3D representation of the cathedral, which was browsable and you could move around it, but it looked realistic because it used real photos to do it. This was very interesting and something that could be really useful.

Photosynth being Presented

We were also shown the PhotoSynth software, which collated all of someones pictures together on a single page, and allowed you to zoom out to the point you could see your entire library for images (which could be millions/billions/unlimited), and also you can zoom in to such detail you could see each pixel. It works best with high-definition pictures, as shown in the video, where the man explaining the technology zooms all the way into the tiny logo in the bottom of the picture.  Another example was an entire novel was included as an image, and zoomed out it looked like a few lines, but zoomed in you could read each word as if it was a book.
 
 Content Sources:
http://www.ted.com/talks/blaise_aguera_y_arcas_demos_photosynth.html

Flash Introduction

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Previously i’ve never been able to get my head around using Adobe Flash, but in todays lesson we were introduced to it, which I surprisingly quickly learned from. We were told about using key frames to denote where actions start and stop, and also about shape tweens, which fill the gaps between key frames, to fill in the gaps of animation automatically, thus creating a smooth and nicely transitioning animation. We started by making a shape move and morph into a different one and move at the same time, then we used something simple like our name. We “Broke Apart” the word into individual letters on their own layers. Then we were left to edit how they’d be animated, and I ended up with various shapes morphing into the letters, then back, whilst changing colour and location. I also added a flashing background for extra randomness.

Mid-Animation

Interface 2: In-Car Technology

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

For the second interface I have chosen In-Car Technology.

It exists in alot of cars, but I think there could be a standarised way to help you drive better, navigate better and keep car-related things organised. Instead of the various gauges, there could be a single sweeping LCD Display, or a projected one onto the windscreen. It could tell you the usual things, like speed, revs-per-minute and mileage, but could also automatically show you your Miles-Per-Gallon, and have a built in fuel usage calculator, linked to the internet to relay you information such as the cheapest petrol station near to you, the best route to take to save fuel, and what each journey cost you in real-time speed.

This would make it integrated to a Satelite Navigation System which could also be built in. This system could also connect to the internet 100% of the time to continually update itself on the traffic, road changes and road closures, to aid your navigation requirements. The navigation could be accessed either by displaying it near the other guages, or could be used within a “tab” system, where you can switch to different “applications” which each contain different features, and for safety the speed could be shown overlayed the other tabs.

If required, the system could also relay your location information using GPS to friends or family so they can see out of interest where you visit on your travels. For a company who pay their employees to drive long distance, it could be used to ensure they dont waste time, speed, or do personal errands, thus making their work more cost-effective.

Virtual and Real-Life Combined

Using quite recently used technology, an application which has been seen used by Google and on the iPhone, a GPS system could be used in conjunction with a projection onto the windscreen, to display locations of different points of interest overlayed ontop of the real life view, so that if you couldnt see your destination, you could see it virtually in the actual location of it. Also, the real life roads you are driving on could be highlighted to show the route you need to take, to make navigation easier. Currently, it has proved to be glitchy and not 100% accurate, but a strong push such as usage in all new cars as standard would create the demand for fully functioning systems of this nature. As you can see in the picture, it displays real-life units of measurement, the time to reach the destination and the road name/number, it would be a very useful tool.

Overall, i think the future of navigation is leading to this, and with todays ever growing technology, it is a very possible future. It is viable and would improve the current state of Satellite Navigation.

Interface 1: Self Service

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

For the first part of this task I have chosen the Tesco/Sainsburys/B&Q Self Checkout System.

The system in place is to aid shoppers at the different supermarkets or shops, by speeding up the time it takes to purchase products if you only have a few small items you were hoping to just grab and go. The idea works, as it means people with lots of shopping dont have to wait for people with only 1 or 2 items, whereas people in a rush just buying lunch or something to drink can quickly and efficiently buy their items. The stores usually have 6-8 of these self-checkouts, and they are ran using Windows.

Self Service Checkout

Self Service Checkout

They could be vastly improved if the operating system was more stable. Many times they’ve had generic windows error messages, which makes them unusable by shoppers, also one or two checkouts are closed due to them being broken in some other way. The operating system needs to be stable to ensure a high throughput of customers, and it would also encourage more customers to trust the system, especially one which they maybe putting their credit/debit cards into!

Another improvement would be the layout of the system. I have watched many people from older generations struggle to get their heads around what they need to be clicking, so a better layout and design of the on-screen instructions would be better, as it puts off older customers from using the technlology. The screen at the moment is rather cluttered which makes a first time user confused as they do not know where to begin.

A third improvement could be the systems protocols for if something goes wrong. For example, the system immediately attempts to call a staff member over if anything goes wrong, which also locks up the screen, not allowing you to go any further in your shop. It  can never self-diagnose or self-correct, a staff member usually has to override it to make it work properly. Even something as simple as accidentally scanning something more than once, and trying to remove the item causes the system to lock up and call a staff member over, which is disappointing in this day and age. Also, when buying age-restricted items or electronic goods with magnetic tags on requires a staff member to step in and help. There could be a system which can scan a form of ID and double check its validity with a face recognition system or possibly even an iris or fingerprint scanner. With the alarm-activating tags, it could detect when an item has been purchased, and deactivate the tag wirelessly.

A final improvement could be a better detection of the items. The scanner is typically poor at best at picking up barcodes, so perhaps a different way to detect items, or a more powerful one as sometimes it takes a few minutes to detect your item, even if you have the barcode in precisely the correct place. This makes for a disappointing level of service sometimes.