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
designing-products-with-sound-oreilly-amber-case-aaron-day

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.

cousins-synthesizer-apps

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!

norway-juvet-ai-retreat

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

Portland Immersive Media Group Show 26-28 May 2017!

houseguest-portland-immersive-media-group-vr-pioneer-square-may-2017Friday 26 May 2017: If you’re in Portland, Oregon on Friday May 26, 27th or 28th, consider coming down to Pioneer Courthouse Square for an collection of VR demos, art and lectures!

Houseguest is a residency program that brings artists to the square to enliven local culture and community. This month’s Houseguest is the Portland Immersive Media Group, a VR and AR art collective and research group. I’ll be speaking at the event on Sunday from 2-3pm! See you there!

Tickets and more information
https://www.houseguest.org/portland-immersive-media-group-may-2017/

Friday

4PM-6PM – TGIF “VR Spa” treatments for Portland’s hard working folk

8PM-9PM – Commencement ceremony featuring music by Golden Retriever and movement artists exploring ‘motion capture.’

8-10PM – Pioneer Courthouse Square in High Fidelity

Saturday

3PM-4PM – Tech Talk: Kent Bye – “The Ultimate Potential of Virtual Reality”

4PM-5PM – Workshop: “Metafesto: Refiguring Social Media, Preparing for the Metaverse” w/ Matt Henderson

6PM-7PM – Performance: EMA + EMS with movement artists exploring motion capture.

7PM-8PM – Live DJs + VR lounge

8PM-10PM – Google Earth VR + Pioneer Courthouse Square in High Fidelity

Sunday

1PM-4PM – Pioneer Courthouse Square in High Fidelity

2PM-3PM – Tech Talk: “Calm Technology” with cyborg anthropologist Amber Case

3PM-4PM – Workshop: “Adventures in Anyland”

7PM-8PM – Down tempo dance party in virtual & real Pioneer Courthouse Square.

I’m Speaking at the Boston Augmented/Mixed Reality Meetup on Wed, Nov 30 2016!

On Wednesday, November 30, 2016 I’ll be giving a short speech on the history and the future of wearable computing and virtual experience at Boston’s AR Meetup Group!

ar-gaming-design-thinking-boston

Summary:
Early forms of wearable computing focused on augmenting the human ability to compute freely. As pioneer Steve Mann and calm technology pioneer Mark Weiser wanted, “to free the human to not act as a machine”. What does this mean for us as designers and developers, and how can we build interfaces for the next generation of devices?

Who was here before us, and how can we best learn from them? This talk will cover various topics on the history and future of wearables. We’ll also learn about the road from virtual reality to augmented reality and what we need to build to get there. This talk is for anyone interested in how we can add a new layer of interactivity to our world and how we can take the next steps to get there.

Join us to learn about AR Gaming as well as design thinking for reality design. Should be a fun night of fantastic speakers, AR demos, and networking!

Want to come? RSVP!

Location
Akamai HQ, 150 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142

Agenda
6:00-6:30pm
Doors open – networking and demos. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided!

6:30-8:00pm
Latest and Greatest in AR

1) Neil Gupta, Founder/CEO at BostonAR, will present on what’s new in AR.

2) Ross Finman, Founder/CEO of ARSpirit, recently finished at MassChallenge and will present on his startup that brings true AR to mobile devices.

3) Darryl James, Design Strategist at The Meme Design will present on Reality Design.

4) Amber Case, TED Speaker, Author, Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and visiting researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media, will present on Calm Technology and the future of AR.

5) Johnny Monsarrat, Founder and CEO of Monsarrat, Inc. , who previously founded and ran MMO company Turbine (Lord of the Rings Online), will talk about Massively Multiplayer Real World Gaming, a mixture of AR and MMO, the basis for a new company he’s founded.

8:00-9:00pm
Member announcements and more demos and networking.

Want to join? RSVP here!

Two Talks at Qcon San Francisco: Virtual Reality and Calm Technology!

qcon-san-francisco-virtual-reality-amber-caseI’m excited to give the Keynote speech at QCon San Francisco (2016 Conference: Nov 7-9 Workshops: Nov 10-11) this coming week! I’ll be speaking on Monday, November 7th at 9am. This will be both and old and new talk.

What’s new? I’ll be extending an early talk I did on the history of wearable computing by adding an entirely new section on Virtual Reality! I’ve been holed up in Portland’s N Portland VR Lab taking video of all of everything VR, from rumblepacks and in-room sensors to games that shrink and grow depending on how much space you have for them!

Keynote: The History and Future of Wearable Computing and Virtual Experience

Location: Grand Ballroom ABC
Day of week: Monday, Nov 7, 2016.
Duration: 9:00am – 10:10am

Summary

Miniature electronics and and global supply chains have us on the cusp of a new era of human experience. Early forms of wearable computing focused on augmenting the human ability to compute freely. As pioneer Steve Mann and calm technology pioneer Mark Weiser wanted, “to free the human to not act as a machine”. What does this mean for us as designers and developers, and how can we build interfaces for the next generation of devices?

Who was here before us, and how can we best learn from them? These are the machines that will be a part of our lives in only a few years from now, and the best way to learn about the future is to dig into the past. This talk will focus on trends in wearable computing and VR as it developed from the 1960s to now, and then into the future. This talk will cover various topics on the history and future of wearables. We’ll learn about Ivan Sutherland, human augmentation, infrastructure, machine vision, processing, distributed computing and wireless data transfer, a church dedicated to VR, computer backpacks, heads up displays, reality editing, job simulators and unexplored realms of experience that haven’t yet come to life. We’ll also learn about the road from virtual reality to augmented reality and what we need to build to get there. This talk is for anyone interested in how we can add a new layer of interactivity to our world and how we can take the next steps to get there.

I’ll be giving an additional talk in addition to my keynote! Details below:

Second Talk: Designing Calm Technology

Track: UX Reimagined
Location: Seacliff ABC
Day of week: Wednesday, November 9th, 2016.
Duration: 1:40pm – 2:30pm

Summary

Our world is made of information that competes for our attention. What is needed? What is not? We cannot interact with our everyday life in the same way we interact with a desktop computer. The terms calm computing and calm technology were coined in 1995 by PARC Researchers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the increasing complexities that information technologies were creating. Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things. Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary.

How can our devices take advantage of location, proximity and haptics to help improve our lives instead of get in the way? How can designers can make apps “ambient” while respecting privacy and security? This talk 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.