Tag related to 2011


Dual Boot Handsets

Many people, we are sure, remember the early days where everyone was struggling to setup their PC in a way that it had two Operating Systems (Windows & Linux) on a Dual Boot mode. People may still struggle for that matter! If it was correctly setup GRUB would display an option to choose the OS to boot. Those where the days…

And then came virtualization…

Using the new concept a user did not have to reboot all the time, switching from one OS to the other. They were running in parallel.

When smart phones came along the same idea was born: What if you wanted to run Android on your HTC HD2 even though it shipped with Windows Mobile 6.5? Well, the XDA Developers did an excellent job on this by making this possible for hand held devices. ROMs were ‘cooked’, OS were tweaked and so on, in order to reach a point where a user could choose the OS to load.

And then came virtualization ??? Deja Vu …

VMWare and LG presented a virtualized  Android phone in MWC 2011 and the potentials of this are very impressive. VMWare has started with Android and LG but i am pretty sure that there is a lot to come on this field.

Check out the video from Engadget along with some comments here.

Synthetic Toys @ International Workshop on AR Standards

One of the aspects the AR community is currently working on is standardisation throughout the spectrum of technologies, services and paradigms within the field. Meetings are being held annually, to discuss the progress of this effort, bringing together companies, researchers, innovators and analysts.

This year’s meeting will be held on February 17-19, 2011 in Barcelona. Synthetic Toys will be there to present their position on user experience in augmented reality (Ux4AR). You can check the draft agenda at the AR Standards website, here with our position paper amongst them.

The death of the ‘mechanical’ keyboard

During the Christmas break, we got a visit from some friends, along with their two kids (2 years and 5 months old respectively). What stood out during their visit, was how children discover, understand and use current technology. Here is how it all started…

During one of our endless discussions, next to the fireplace,  about nothing and everything, the father reached for his iPod Touch and activated the device, entered the password and gave it to the older boy. The boy surfed through the applications, found one that had a baby picture and pressed the touch screen to enter a menu of five categories. The father asked the boy to look for ‘cars’.  The boy selected the Automobile button and nine new pictures appeared. Then the father asked for the boy to look for trains. The boy navigated through the menu to the train picture, pressed it and started laughing when the train sound played through the device. Happy and excited he continued playing with his toys, leaving the iPod to his father.

After 5 minutes the device was locked and the kid wanted to play again. This time he reached the device by himself, entered the password that his father entered earlier – albeit an easy one – and launched the app again.

Child operating a Touchscreen (Image from University of Kent)

Child operating a Touchscreen (Image from University of Kent)

It was quite impressive how the 2-year old could handle the iPod, browsing through the pages and making the appropriate selections. However, we have seen that before, even with more complex interfaces. What was not so easily apparent is how young children are used to ‘touch-screens’, being fairly comfortable using them contrary to traditional keyboards.

As the father mentioned, a couple of months back he bought a cheap video camera which had the classic buttons for settings and usage. The boy wanted to play, so he opened the camera’s screen and started touching on it.

His disappointment was apparent and expressed vocally as the device did not respond when the boy touched the screen and he could not figure out another way of operating the device.

It occurred to me that when these kids start their own families it is possible that the technology that we use  currently may be obsolete … maybe we will not be in a position to understand new devices easily. Kind of like Robert Gu at the begining of Vernon Vinge’s Rainbow’s End. Or the scene from “Back to the future” where two kids try to play an old-school video game and shoot Indians. Michael J. Fox comes in order to show them how to play, grabs the gun which had a cable attached to it and starts pressing the trigger. Disappointed, one of the kids turns to Michael J. Fox and asks:  “You mean we have to use our hands ?”

Most of us have seen how things  began and evolved regarding mobile phones or PCs. I got my first mobile phone at the age of 21 and if I go back in time I remember I was one of the few kids that had a PC at the age of 10. It was a very powerful machine with a V20 Processor and a 20 MB HDD. By today’s standards, not enough even for a cheap mobile phone…

New generations may take technology for-granted, and probably will not be able to fully appreciate the steps that led us to today’s technology. Whether it is necessary to understand these steps is a different matter.

And it came to us…

Here we are today talking about AR & VR in small “smart” devices and a dozen other concepts that kids will probably use from an early age. How will that affect their creativity and technological progress. Will it hinder it, or will it open new possibilities and allow creators thing in a different way than we are. We are hopping for the latter.

Allaboutmusic.gr #Layar layer from Synthetic Toys!

The All About Music Portal is a collection of interesting spots for the music professional and enthusiast in Greece, including listings of Recordings/Rehearsal Studios, Live Stages, Music companies, Music-related Spots, Shops & Schools.

Synthetic Toys has created, on behalf of All About Music a layer for Layar’s AR browser, enabling users to locate the aforementioned points of interest using their mobile phone. The layer is named ‘All About Music’ and is viewable in Greece. Music enthusiasts can now point their phones, locate studios, shops and music related spots nearby, find their way there, link to their websites and call to book that rehearsal this afternoon.

All about Music Layar layer screenshots

All About Music said:

This application really transforms the service we provide to our audience. Now all the information for the musician is available literally at their fingertips! This is great times for augmented reality applications. Think of musician’s city tours. Think of music points of interest. We at All About Music are thankful to Synthetic Toys and Layar for opening all these new perspectives.”

Synthetic Toys said:
For us it was a prime opportunity, to create a layer of Layar’s AR browser, addressed to an audience that is very much connected to modern technology, and can put it into use. We have been involved with AR research for quite some time and for us to build this layer was very rewarding. Layar’s support was excellent through the process. Moreover, it is a pleasure to support with such a feature the effort of our friends at All About Music, in what is one of the very few layers for Greece!

If you come to Greece and want to check which bands play around tonight and find your way there, be sure to check All About Music for Layar, by Synthetic Toys.