Computer-Mediated Living

Neat design trends were published during the week at the Trends Blog. The trends blog is a service of Microsoft Research’s Computer-Mediated Living team, based in the UK at the Cambridge Research Lab. To just highlight a few trends...

Fashion for the blind

Talking Web Site eyes Fashion for the Blind
“The sound-activated Web site, due to go online in the fall, will ask users what their fashion likes and dislikes are and recommend clothes ranging from casual to evening wear based on those preferences. A braille tag that includes the designer’s name, type of clothing such as a “blouse” or a “t-shirt,” size, color and symbols to help in piecing together certain look like “business casual” is attached to the clothes ordered and then mailed out.”

Insect robotics

Water-skimming robot will probably attack you
“Researchers discovered that the 1-gram bot could carry a 9.3-gram payload without breaking the surface by utilizing a sculling motion for movement. The robot is 10-15 times slower than the actual insect and 10 times larger, but the engineers hope to lower the bot’s size and increase its speed by downsizing its build, along with expanding its capabilities by harnessing technologies such as sensors, wireless communication, and autonomous control.”

making virtual meetings not equal real meetings

2nd life meeting visualization
“avatars are positioned depending on their agreement of a particular topic being discussed. the meeting space provides a visualization of an avatar’s complete movement & chat history in the space. as avatars move in the space, their paths are traced out in the sky above the space, showing any change in opinion.”


See The Unseen: EyeClops Magnifies Anything 200x, Sends Images to TV Screen
“The EyeClops is a handheld microscope that looks like a grotesque eyeball, but can help you see that strange world that’s teeming with life right there in front of you, right under your nose. It magnifies everything 200x , but its design is about 800x as goofy as a typical microscope.”

Personal alarm

Design Concept: Ring, The Vibrating Alarm
“Here’s a design concept that’s long overdue: It’s a vibrating alarm that you wear on your finger, bypassing all that morning racket for a gentle jostling. Each of the two rings can have its own separate wake-up time, designed for comfort with an elastic band so you’ll hardly know you’re wearing it.”