Posts by Menno van Doorn

About Menno van Doorn

Menno van Doorn is Director of the Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT) in the Netherlands. He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 17 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored five books on the impact of new technology on business and society. Awards: IT Researcher of the Year in the Netherlands.

Foggy interfaces and other human machine interactions

It’s probably the most important conference on Human-Computer Interfaces: The CHI2014. A short promo of what can be expected this years on conference.

One of the projects that will be presented is from the University of Bristol and is called “MisTable”. The project is headed by Professor Sriram Subramanian and Dr Diego Martinez Plasencia, from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol, and contains a tabletop system that combines a conventional interactive table with personal screens built using fog, between the user and the tabletop surface. [Read more...]

New jobs will come from Cyber-Physicalytics


For many of the older generation internet was synonymous for “Internet Explorer”. But our children are growing up in an internet of everything. All things digitally connected, able to register or actuate, enrich our senses, ease our lives. From the internet of screens (and the internet explorer as the mother of all screens) to something hidden inside, is a major shift. Internet not as we know it but embedded in cars, machines, doors, thermostats, fridges, airplane engines and put onto our body in all kinds of wearable devices. With the talk about computers eating our jobs, it looks like a no-brainer that new professions will arise form this new field: “System of systems” engineers, cyber-physical sociologists, IT-OT integrators and so forth. I frame it “cyber-physialitics” and it should combine engineering skills needed for connecting machines and processes, and human skills, needed to understand how new human-machine interactions could be optimized.

It’s a physical internet and we need to find out more about how it works. Let’s not pretend we know how to build this brave new world. We’ve just started a huge experiment and the skills that are needed come form a great amount of different areas. A shortlist: psychology, telematics, engineering, proces automation, big data analytics, cyber security, design thinking, politics, architecture, quantified selfers, privacy law, marketing and city planning. For obvious reasons this is a great variety, since the internet of everything is about… everything. [Read more...]

What does SMART technology actually mean?


This post was written by an algorithm

algoRead this article that was published in the Los Angeles Times last Monday and be honest: would you say that this post was written by a robot?

“A shallow magnitude 4.7 earthquake was reported Monday morning five miles from Westwood, California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:25 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 5.0 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, California, seven miles from Universal City, California, seven miles from Santa Monica, California and 348 miles from Sacramento, California. In the past ten days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby.

This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author.”

Ken Schwenke was the journalist, the author of the algorithm. He was able to publish only three minutes after the earthquake happened. The so called “Quakebot” that Schwenke developed isn’t the first journalist robot he worked on. He and his team also created a homocide-bot.

[Read more...]

Yummie! 3D Printed Insects

3dprintendbugsMost people don’t like the idea of crunching cockroaches or sibling earthworms. On the other hand, eating insects is good for you and for our planet too. If only these creatures wouldn’t look that scary. Well, there is a solution. It’s called “Insects au gratin”. You first mash the insects and then put them in a 3D-printer and design them any way you like.

Insects are tremendously efficient at converting vegetation into edible protein. 100 kg of feed produces 40 kg of crickets, but only 10 kg of beef. Insects Au Gratin is looking for new ways of consuming insects and debates the nutritive and environmental aspects of insects as human food. This is how it works, a 3D-printing project done by Susana Soares:

Soares work explores the implications for design of the current technological redesign of nature. Her projects involve developing collaborative frameworks between design and emerging scientific research. She is currently based in London, UK and is a Senior Lecturer at London South Bank University.

Reading Re-imagined “Ok Glass, Help Me Read Faster”

This debute on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was brought to my attention by my colleague Gerben Tijken. It’s a technology, called Spritz, that helps you read faster. You can speed up text that is presented on a smartphone screen and due to the way the text is presented you can read it faster than you would normally. There is a developer program for many platforms. Can’t wait to see how it works on Google Glass.


[Read more...]

AT&T and IBM connect to connect the planet

1Yesterday two tech-giants announce a partnership to speed-up the internet-of-Things. The new AT&T and IBM alliance will initially focus on creating new solutions targeted for city governments and midsize utilities. These organizations intend to integrate and analyze vast quantities of data from assets such as mass transit vehicles, utility meters, and video cameras. As a result, cities may be able to better evaluate patterns and trends to improve urban planning and utilities can better manage their equipment to reduce costs.  Specific areas are: [Read more...]

The human body as interface: 3 ways how to do it

The most natural interface is no interface. When technology is just like walking, talking, breathing, it would be a whole other experience. Are we there yet? No, but we are moving towards that future quite rapidly. In Microsoft labs we’re seeing cool things, like “Humantenna“or a company called Bionym that launched the Nymi, (but that’s still a prosthesis and not totally interfaces less.

Let’s look at three promising, and at least intriguing, examples of the human as interface.

1. Transmitting sound with your body 


A new technology coming from Disney Research. It’s called “Ishin-Den-Shin,” It’s a Japanese expression for communicating through an unspoken mutual understanding, the technology turns an audio message into an inaudible signal that is relayed by the human body. When the communicator touches another person’s ear, a modulated electrostatic field creates a very small vibration of the ear lobe; the finger and the other person’s ear, together, form a speaker which makes the signal audible only for the person touched. It can be used to explore new approaches for inter-personal communication and can be used to transmit sound from person to person via any sort of physical contact. Here you can see how it works. [Read more...]

Four Maxims for Digital Business Success


IBM knows your customer better than you. Is that something to be embarrassed about? Or an eye-opener to understand that the way you run your business is based on old fashioned assumptions?

Based on their view of “The everyone to everyone economy” they are working on new business and marketing capabilities.  And this is basically it: I connect to you, you connect to me. We are all digital. In times of digital connectedness rules for marketing and business are rapidly changing. Forget about what you’ve learned at school. Try these four maxims instead. The future design of your business is:

  • Orchestrated; Collaborative and seamless ecosystems
  • Symbiotic; Mutual interdependence between everyone and everything
  • Contextual; Adaptable experiences for specific needs at any point in time
  • Cognitive; Self learning and predictive capabilities [Read more...]

What the hack: Decoding radio-controlled bus stop displays


Oona räisänen is a self-taught signals & electronics hacker from Helsinki, Finland. She is fond of mysteries, codes and ciphers, and vintage tech. She recently presented a fascinating story during the CCC-event (Chaos Computer Club) on how you can get relevant information about bus transportation through radio signals.

If you are in public transport, then sit down and watch the entire 36 minutes of this video. If you’re an innovator and believer in DIY and disruptive innovations … you should do the same. [Read more...]