Feb 5th, 2019: Workshop on Calm Technology at Interaction ’19 in Seattle

Smarter Humans, Not Smarter Devices: How to Design Calm Technology

Jonathan Brown and I are excited to announce a half day workshop during Interaction ’19 on Feb 5th, 2019, starting at 2pm!

Want to attend? Get tickets to Interaction ’19 here!

How can we design technologies that work alongside us, instead of against us?

The difference between an annoying technology and one that is helpful is how it engages our attention. Calm Technology is a framework for designing products and services that engage our attention in an appropriate manner. The aim of Calm Technology is to provide principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it away.

Outline
Participants will work in groups to solve a series of design challenges, including designing new products, ‘calming down’ a complex ones, communicating the principles of Calm Technology across an organization and team, and entering a product successfully into the marketplace.

Workshop Organizers

Amber Case
Amber Case studies the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way cultures think, act, and understand their worlds. She is the author of “Calm Technology” and “Designing with Sound” from O’Reilly books. She was a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a visiting researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media. In 2019, Amber joined the Institute for the Future (IFTF) as a Research Fellow.

Jon Brown
Jon Brown is a Digital Architect with SDLC Partners in Pittsburgh, PA where he designs novel interactions to improve outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. He is a veteran of MAYA Design and holds a Master’s Degree in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.

January 2019: Antarctica Trip and Future Congress 2019 in Chile

Antarctica,_Chile_territorial_claim

I’m excited to visit Antarctica for the first time from January 9-13th, 2019 for a few days of exploration, sound recording and sightseeing. The trip will be organized by the government of Chile, and it’s an honor to be able to go!

After the trip, I’ll head back to Chile to give a number of speeches about Calm Technology for Future Congress 2019. Future Congress is the largest scientific meeting in the country, featuring 130 lectures and 40 thousand attendees spanning 10 regions. You can learn more about it here.

INVITACIÓN-future-congress.

Calm Technology and Designing with Sound Workshops at PNCA on 11/12 and 11/18!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be hosting two workshops at Portland’s Pacific Northwest College of Art in November 2018! I just joined the school as a faculty researcher, and I’m looking forward to contributing to MAKE+THINK+CODE, a creative technology-focussed lab, institute, and incubator for creative experiments at the intersection of science, technology, design, art, and culture.

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Workshop Details

Designing Calm Technology

Mon, November 12, 2018
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM PST
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/designing-calm-technology-cte542-tickets-49049799270

Description
Calm Technology is a framework for designing ubiquitous devices that engage our attention in an appropriate manner. The aim of Calm Technology is to provide principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it away.

The difference between an annoying technology and one that is helpful is how it engages our attention. This workshop will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.

Structure and activities
Students will work in groups to solve a series of design challenges, including designing new products, ‘calming down’ a complex ones, communicating the principles of Calm Technology across an organization and team, and entering a product successfully into the marketplace.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices.
  • Design appropriate notification systems into both physical and software products
  • Communicate the principles of Calm Technology to your across your organization and team
  • Use methods of Calm Technology to design technology for generations, not seasons.
  • Enter your product successfully into the marketplace.

This workshop is for anyone that actively builds or makes decisions about technology, especially user experience designers, product designers, managers, creative directors, developers and students interested in the future of technology and humanity.

Bringing a laptop is not required, as work will be done on paper and in groups.

We have a limited number of scholarships for our workshops. If you need an application, please send an email to mtc@pnca.edu with your complete name and contact information.


Designing with Sound

Sun, November 18, 2018
9:30 AM – 1:30 PM PST
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/designing-products-with-sound-principles-and-patterns-for-mixed-environments-fab590-tickets-49056014861

Description
Sound is one of the most commonly overlooked components in product design, even though it’s often the first way people interact with many products. When designers don’t pay enough attention to sound elements, customers are frequently left with annoying and interruptive results. This practical workshop covers several methods that product designers and managers can use to improve everyday interactions through an understanding and application of sound design.

You’ll Learn How to:

  • Understand the place of sound in design, and how it can make a difference in your product
  • Learn key concepts in sound design, with patterns and principles you can use to improve user experience
  • Learn how to integrate sound design into a project
  • Use exercises to help evaluate sound design

We have a limited number of scholarships for our workshops. If you need an application, please send an email to mtc@pnca.edu with your complete name and contact information.


If you know of anyone who’d enjoy these workshops, please let them know! These are aimed at user experience designers, students, artists and technologists. You do not have to be affiliated with PNCA to attend.

PNCA-MTC-Technology-Lab

Welcome to 2018!

2017 was a long and unpredictable year. It started with the death of my father, a hero of mine and an electronics and audio pioneer. He was only 56, and it will be difficult to move on without his voice. He started his decline in mid-2016, followed by many hurried visits last year between trips.

I’m glad I got to spend so much time with him before he left this planet.

Dad and I

This year was enormous for Calm Technology. I was on tour for more time than expected. The 100,000 miles I traveled led me to new places, people and ideas, and I’m excited to explore more of them in the next year.

Calm Technology Book Tour 2017

This year’s Calm Technology Book Tour: 103,281 miles travelled!

What’s Next?
I continue to be an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and a fellow at MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media. I look forward to returning to Boston this January to participate more fully in efforts around AI, ethics, IoT and calm design.

amber case speaking at mind the product london

An enormous audience for Mind the Product London!

New Year’s Resolutions
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1. Write more. Write one short essay a month on topics related to AI, ethics, IoT and Calm Tech.

2. Release Designing Products with Sound. I’m working with my editor to improve my writing skills, and I’m making incremental progress. My second O’Reilly book, Designing Products with Sound will come out by the end of 2018, and I’m looking forward to that.

3. Prepare to write a trade paperback. I’ve had many requests for a trade paperback book that provides a wider look at how technology is affecting culture.

beaverton high school audience

Audience at Beaverton High School in Oregon.

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Getting my cousins hooked on synthesizers and sound-making apps during a family visit in August.

4. Visit family more often.

Family is incredibly important. I feel that a lot of my life after college was spend in survival mode after graduating in the recession. This year I plan on spending more time with my cousins, my Aunts and my dad’s brother. My family is fairly small, and every moment counts.

5. Read more books!

My favorite book this year was Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay. It followed the author through the origins of many different colors, and I encourage anyone from any background to take a look at it.

My second favorite was Writing Tools, a book I’m still working through.

divine maloney amber case

Researcher Divine Maloney and I this summer in Portland, Oregon before he left to pursue a PhD in HCI!

6. Finish a research paper on the phenomenology of AR and VR.

I’ve been a big fan of VR for some time. I’ve been researching the history of it as a hobby for the last 8 years. I worked on this paper with Divine Maloney this summer and am looking forward to publishing it by the end of next year!

divine maloney amber case summer interns

Divine and I with the 2017 Harvard Berkman Klein Center Summer Interns in Cambridge, MA.

7. Participate more in the local community and help others.

Although I was fearful to do it, one thing I’ve done this year is to sign up as a Blood Marrow Donor at Be the Match.

The process is not as difficult as one would expect, and you’d be seriously saving someone’s life if you are a match. All you need is a cheek swab from a kit provided in the mail, and then you wait for a call.

Sign up to be a Blood Marrow Donor!

Sign up to be a Blood Marrow Donor!

Squicky about needles? Consider that matches are rare. Every donor has around a 1 in 500 chance of matching with someone in the US. And “only thirty percent of donations involve actual bone marrow. (The ones that do are mostly for children, who seem to do better with traditional bone marrow transplantation.) Seventy percent of the time, being a “bone marrow donor” is only a tad more complicated than donating blood.” Most of the time, the process can be completed in three hours.

If you want to learn more about the process, there’s some good information here: https://io9.gizmodo.com/bone-marrow-donation-is-nothing-like-i-thought-it-was-1676114500 There’s also a neat (and tear-inducing) Radiolab episode about this you can listen to right now!

I’m definitely fearful to do this, but if I end up being a match, then I’m willing to deal with a tiny bit of pain to help someone else out.

Thank you
I’d like to thank everyone for their support and comfort during this difficult year. I couldn’t have done it without you. Many of you were proactive in helping me reorganize and help with my family. My family is small and I cherish everyone in it.

Thanks also to new friends and faces, art groups and music, and all of the creative things that help to balance out the seriousness. These are crucial and necessary, and we’ll need more of them as we head into the information age.

vice media crew at xhurch

Vice Media crew filmed part of a new show with me at Xhurch in Portland, Oregon.

What are your goals for 2018? Best of luck to everyone in this new year!

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A glacier climb during an AI retreat in Norway this September.

September and October 2017 Book Tour Dates and Locations

Hi everyone! It’s been a big year for Calm Technology: Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design. I’ve been working with sound designer Aaron Day on a semi-sequel to it called Designing Products with Sound: Principles and Patterns for Mixed Environments that should be out in October. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in Boston, MA at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society researching the intersection of technology and humans.

Here’s my book tour schedule for the next couple of months. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people!

September 

4-5: Keynote on Calm Technology. IFA+Summit. Berlin, Germany.

7: Keynote on Calm Technology. 67th International Retail Summit. Zurich, Switzerland.

8: Keynote at Mind the Product. London, UK.

8-11: Free time in London, England.

13: World 50 Conference. NYC, NY.

14: Keynote on Calm Technology. Waterloo Innovation Summit. Waterloo, Canada.

26-29: Conference on the future of AI. Juvet Landscape Hotel, Norway.

 

October

2-3: Foresight and Trends. Home Studios, New York, NY.

4-5: Fedex Security Awareness (internal event). Memphis, TN.

16-20: SIBOS. Financial Security and Calm Technology. Toronto, ONT.

18: World 50 Conference, NY, NY.

24-25: Media Insights Conf. Rosen Shingle Creek,
Orlando, FL.

26-28: Northern User Experience. Manchester, England.

29-31: London, England.

Thanks so much for all of your support over these last few years. Here’s to the future!