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Anatomy of a smart thing

In his book Smart Things, Mike Kuniavsky quotes a Scientific American article from 1991, where Xerox PARC's then CTO Mark Weiser laid out the vision for ubicomp:


"[Ubicomp is] the idea of integrating computers seamlessly into the world at large ... not simulating the world so much as enhancing the one that already exists ... [most of them] will be invisible in fact as well as in metaphor ... These machines and more will be connected in a ubiquitous network.


Today's design challenge, says Kuniavsky, is to create a practice of ubiquitous computing user experience design. Such a practice is by necessity cross-disciplinary, involving identity design (what makes the product or service memorable and unique), interface design (modes of functionality), industrial design (physicality), interaction design (how you can interact with it), information design (how it displays information), service design (how the service maintains consistency across many objects devices and experiences), and information architecture (organizing principles for the information).


That's a lot of D words! In other words it takes a team, and this will only increasingly be the case. The practice is changing quickly, and with the power to transform society comes great responsibility.


Check out the whole set.


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Taken on October 12, 2010