Archive for the ‘conference’ Category

Yahoo Farm From RoboFun Guys (at Yahoo Open Hack 2011)

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

[Viorel] wrote me about an interesting project he and his friends from Robofun developed during the 2011 Yahoo Open Hack in Bucharest, and won the Hacker’s Choice Award. The diorama becomes a physical representation of tour friends’ behaviours.

If you’re a both nature lover and a geek, you would certainly love the Yahoo Farm. The Yahoo Farm is a 60 cm wide diorama, sitting in your bedroom and bringing you online data from the Yahoo ecosystem.

For example, the wind mill rotation below is directly controlled by the wind speed outside (being connected to the Yahoo Weather API), the hand-painted backgrounds are switched according to the weather state, a new sheep is coming out of the barn each time one of your friends gets online on Yahoo Messenger, and each new email lights up a fruit in the Email Tree.

Give a look at the presentation used for the 90 seconds pitch during the event.

via []

Goodbye India

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I am about to start packing before leaving India to go back home. I have spent three weeks as a visiting researcher at IIITB (International Institute of Information Technology – Bangalore) located at Electronics City, just in front of Infosys. During these three weeks I have got to see a version of India a little different from the one many Europeans have. I didn’t come as a tourist, I came to meet professors, researchers, hackers, coders, etc. I also came to write a chapter of my PhD about how to characterize Arduino users (more on this in some months).

During the time here I have been looking at technology, development, entrepreneurship, education … I was a keynote at HCI India – a conference about the importance of human factors when designing technology -, but also had a presentation at Jaaga – the cultural space in central Bangalore -, Srishti School of Arts, Design and Technology, and at Indian Coffee House in Delhi.


9circuits from Delhi

9circuits from Delhi, by D. Cuartielles

Everywhere I went I found people interested in open source technologies, Arduino, Android, Processing, Linux … On April 12th I made a lecture at Srishti School of Arts, and entered in contact with Anders, former student to Tom Igoe, that runs the Toy Lab. The Master students presented their work in the courses they make with Victor Viña with whom I have been meeting before in Barcelona and Malmo. From a conceptual point of view, the Srishti students are very similar to any other design students in Europe, US, or Korea, which are places where I have been teaching at, so are they when it comes to play with technology.

When it comes to the Arduino community in Bangalore, thanks to Kiran Jonnalagadda (also known as the Hasgeek Guy) who arranged a talk on April 15th at Jaaga, I got introduced to a lot of nice people making projects in their spare time using Arduino. From wiimote controlled robots, to Android-to-Arduino connections, passing by irrigation systems (the cool thing about this last project is that the guy with the idea, Sriram, is just 12 years old).

I have to thank Freeman Murray for his hospitality, and all his crew and visiting artists at Jaaga. They will be moving location soon, hopefully to a place with less coconut trees, I was attacked by one just at Jaaga’s entrance :-)


Kiran, the Hasgeek Guy

Kiran, the Hasgeek Guy, by D. Cuartielles

Early in the morning of April 16th I took a flight to Delhi were Priya, Miss 9circuits, introduced me to her team there and guided me through the local electronics market. I learned that IIT-Delhi has a group of students called Technocracy dedicated to arrange talks and workshops around robotics, electronics, science in general. I also got to know that 9circuits ambition is creating a hackerspace to channel those energies beyond the university. They are moving to a much bigger space and will be having more than 5 interns working with them in just a couple of weeks. The core team at 9c is 3 people, but at an informal gathering at Indian Coffee House I could count up to 7 people! They are concentrating in building community at local level and want to bring open source tools to education centers around their area.

Back to Bangalore, on April 19th I was invited to visit Ram and his people at Tenet. They have a fairly big location from where they arrange workshops for colleges, design new PCBs (they do have a fairly large collection of shields coming out soon), and host students needing a nice workspace with internet connection where to build their projects. I think they have a pretty good vision when it comes to encouraging the new undergrads and grads into creating new designs. I liked their fish robot, it is not diving yet, but the videos are really promising.


Fish Robot by Tenet

Fish Robot made by Tenet, by D. Cuartielles


Ram from Tenet

Ram from Tenet, by D. Cuartielles

Prayas, an artist and professor at Srishti, brought me out on April 20th to visit Delhi’s electronics market. It is funny that I am staying at an area called Electronics City, where the only thing I cannot find is a place where to buy resistors. The e-market is about 50min by taxi from the e-city. Together with Prayas I went to the couple of locations where it is possible to purchase Arduino boards directly at a shop. Probably because of how central the market is, it happens to be so much better maintained than the one in Delhi. It is there were I found about the different Arduino compatible boards I spoke about in this article.


Arduino Uno at Bangalore's Market

Arduino Uno at Bangalore's Market, by D. Cuartielles

I had plans to visit even more locations, included the National Institute of Design in Bangalore, but my leg is not looking good after the accident with the coconut tree. However, Ram, Priya, and some others have started to look into arranging a workshop tour to Bombai, Delhi, and Bangalore (and maybe somewhere else) for the end of August. It would be great to come and get to know more people in the community here. There is a lot going on, and things are evolving really quick.

And now I should probably just get my luggage ready. Before I leave, I found this in my HDD, a picture of the Arduino USB board I used back in 2005 when I came to India for the first time, I was lecturing about prototyping back then, when the project was barely 3 months old … and my only board had a nasty hardware failure (the USB connector was inverted)


Arduino USB from 2005

Arduino USB from 2005, by D. Cuartielles



Kiran Jonnalagadda

Arduino at HCI India 2011

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Today I presented Arduino at HCI India 2011 as one of the keynote speakers. It is interesting to get a chance of introducing my research in the field of prototyping and the work I do for Arduino all at once to the HCI community in India, which is strongly focused in the creation of software solutions. I attended the track where the Full Papers were presented and got to see a whole lot of projects where Interaction Design and usability techniques are applied to study the use of mobile technologies to help illiterate people getting access to micropayments, learning about irrigation, or just learn how to read.


(cc-sa-nc) 2011 D. Cuartielles at HCI India

The other three keynotes went from the very theoretical to the extremely practical. PhD. Mark Billinghurst spoke about the future of Augmented Reality and made some nice demos of the software they are developing at HitLabNZ. PhD. Kari Rönkkö from the Technical University Blekinge (BTH) presented his thoughts around the concept of “Wicked Problems” after designing a whole educational computer system together with ABB. And Prof. M.P. Ranjan, now retired after over 40 years at the National Institute of Design, provoked the audience with his visions on how to approach design thinking and how the educational and value system should be improved in India.

My demo was a walkthrough to the use of ArduinoBT + Processing + Android to conceptualize about the Internet of Things. It worked just great and I had people to program graphical behavior patterns on an Android’s screen by drawing how an LED should fade or a motor should move. I am making a post about this technology that was developed by A. Goransson, D. Sjunnesson and myself during the last month.

Talking about the papers, there were two papers on security that I found interesting as a topic for HCI professionals. Can you imagine designing a password system based in icons for people that cannot read nor write? NAPTune: Fine Tuning Graphical Authentication Rohit Khot, Kannan Srinathan and Rutuja Khot got the conference award to the best research paper and I think it was well deserved.

It was really a pleasure to be among such a selection of speakers, panelists, companies, students and practitioners. Arduino was present and we had fun. IIITB -the International Institute on Information Technology Bangalore- was a great host and the Lord hotel served the best food I have had in India so far (I am living on campus for three weeks, that could be a good explanation for this last statement not that the food here is bad, but that my experience is limited to just two places).

I have to add that there was a lot of video tracking going on at HCI India 2011. Tommy from Tobii presented his slideshow by using only the movement of this eyes. Tobii is a Swedish company specialized in eye tracking that has released a prototype of a laptop with Lenovo including this feature. Also I liked very much the approach to social design by Microsoft Research team. I got someone (Ed Cutrell) to rebate my understanding of HCI vs. IxD and I think I got convinced, but I will figure out a way of turning it around.

BTW, it seems like India is in the need for interaction designers. If you guys are looking for a good job in the field, check out the companies that were present both as sponsors and at the company presentations, because they are hiring. Remember you have to be open minded, have good communication skills, like research, and have an entrepreneurial spirit.