#sxpaper Apps – we’re off to SXSW!

Tom, Mike and Jon are all heading over to SXSW to take part on a panel with incredible technologists and musicians from the UK. We’ll be presenting live during the Interactive ‘Can Printed Electronics Save the Music Industry’.


The panel will take place at 11am on the Tue 13th of March 2012 in the Austin Convention Centre: Room 12AB


Why are we going?

Because we are excited about making the web physical.

Over the last five years we have built a small research unit exploring socially led design research that can be used to respond to the needs of communities. We research and generate impact for how existing and emerging digital technology can be harnessed using design to enable new forms of interaction and production for the benefit of people.

South by South West is the world’s most important digital festival and we are working with printed electronics technology – and in an exciting change in direction from standard academic publishing we are putting our work in front of global industry leaders for a live and open debate. Can Printed Electronics Save the Music Industry? Of course it can! But only if we redefine what ‘saving’ means and what kind of music industry we want. The bigger question is whether our very early stage research will have any impact on this highly clued-up audience that have a reputation discovering the next big thing.

But it’s a debate – and we really have no idea where we’re going to quite end up. You get Jon’s view (@ileddigital) – but check out what King Creosote has to say about the whole thing:

“At this juncture, keeping music non digital is the only foolproof way
for recorded music to hold on to what remains of its value, and to regain
the sense of anticipation and excitement that used to accompany a record
release, thus supporting the re-growth of a beleaguered industry.
However, having made this bold backwards step as a musician and a record
label boss, the relevance of an online presence tails off dramatically,
which inevitably and ultimately leads to an outright rejection of the
internet.

What is most exciting to me about my trip to sxsw in 2012 is to be given
the chance to enthuse with the absolute clarity of my 20/20 analogue
vision about vinyl records and early 80s music industry values to an MP3
loving, largely digitally blinded audience and co-panellists.”

Which would explain why he hasn’t made a tweet since joining twitter in 2011 – but you have to love his 396 followers!

I think my favourite comment was when he presented at our Ideas Day a year back – “Get off facebook and into the pub!”.

Tom, Ziggy and Mike are all on stand-by to show off all our wonderful demonstrators including the paper headphones, paper mixer, paper internet radio and the invite instrument.

During our time out there, 7th – 14th of March,  we will be live blogging everyday to keep you posted on what’s going on out there! You can keep up to date with what we’re doing on twitter with #SXPaperApps

Paper Apps from Uniform on Vimeo.

Who are we going with?

Jon Rogers – Jon runs the Product Design Masters at the University of Dundee. He will be chairing the panel.
Pete Thomas – Pete is the Futures Director at Uniform. He is interested in how paper electronic will effect the future of print.
Kate Stone – A leading technologist in the field of printed electronics with her company Novalia. Kate will be able to give us all the technical info on the panel.
Tommy Perman – Member of Found, Tommy is very interested in new ways of releasing music.
Kenny Anderson – a.k.a, Mercury nominated, King Creosote, Kenny is the digital sceptic on the panel.

Please get in touch! @ileddigital

Timescapes workshop at NID

In parallel to the physical apps workshop, I had the pleasure to carry out a week-long workshop with a small group of incredibly talented students from NID. The workshop was organised around the theme “timescapes”. We spent 3 days discussing the subject as well as playing around with electronics, and 3 other days prototyping specific concepts.

The initial discussions led us to 5 different subjects namely:
boredom: uninteresting, redundant time vs moments of busyness that make us consider each second as invaluable
objects/physicality of time: mark of time on things – ranging from a cup of tea that gets cold after a couple of hours, up to buildings that physically change when left alone
natural time: aspects related to time in nature – its cyclical manifestations and different scales
waiting: idle time that involves the expectation of something that is about to happen as well as the frustration of not having it quickly or the comfort of not having to do anything
life time: related to different generations, memories and how the perception of time varies in different phases of life

After choosing a subject, participants sketched several ideas for objects that would make people reflect on this specific theme. Ideas were continuously expanded and filtered down until the fourth day, when one specific idea was chosen and the prototyping phase began. Images of the process can be found here. The final projects were:

Parallax by Dinesh Kumar, Neha Motghare and Sneha Ashok evolved from discussions about the conflict between boredom and busyness. The project challenges viewers to stand in a very specific position in order to read time accurately. The length and width of the clock hands are equal, but are oriented in such a way that the perceived length of each hand varies according to differnt view points.

Time window by Varun Prabhakar approached the physicality subject described above in an interesting way. The project attempts to incorporate a clock into the formal aspects of a window. The idea is to provide a new way of presenting time, in which hours are presented on the horizontal axis of the window and minutes on its vertical axis. This arrangement generates new a graphic composition at every minute.

The Crazy clock project by Virang Akhiyania aims to discuss the contrast between natural time (slow and cyclical) and constructed time (which leads to ever faster lifestyles). “The clock rotates crazily until someone passes by or stands in front of it. It then takes time to show the time: only when someone stands in front of it for a while is that its hands slow to the the accurate time.”

Sandesh by Sudhir Mor and Sivakumar T aims to solve a problem characteristic of rural areas in India. In these areas municipal water supply is irregular and untimely. People have thus to continuously wait for water to come in their pipes. After some tinkering, Sudhir and Sivakumar decided to hack a pressure gauge and connect it to a buzzer, which in this case is triggered by the movement of the gauge hand.