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Here is my first argument outline. It has plot holes and I am trying to find out more. Please feel free to critique and give your opinions on what you think. Nathan already gave me a few pointers


Basic Argument:

Computers need to have emotional Intelligence 

  •  Emotion is part of the context
    • We are not always rational: We are emotive beings to think that when we are interacting with a computer we are always in a neutral state is not very in situ!
    • Desiderata and Sociability:  Explanation of context and why problem solving is not enough
    • Example: Nathan trying to find the temporary saved file when his computer crashed. .Using desiderata framework
  • Need based design produces incomplete solutions
    • Usability and Functionality is not enough
    • Pleasure is important for day to day design: What is pleasurable and how need based design does only thinks of it as aesthetics
    • Example: Jeff interacting with Cortana.


  • We are in an abusive relationship with computers (I will write a better claim once it makes sense)
    • We are emotionally invested in computers: We are natural meaning makers, we associate everything with a personality.  
    • Our computer are not invested in us: Computers trigger similar social interactions as people, but do not reciprocate.
    • Example: It’s like talking to a zombie!


  • We already know that emotive computers work
    • Science Fiction Theory and its awesomeness: what we know from sci fiction theory and how it helps us speculate. In combination with desiderata.  
    • Example: R2d2, HER. Using SF theory framework and ACT framework what can we learn about them.


So I already know certain things I need to read (thanks to Nathan). Here are the things that I have read, the italicized are the ones just recommended.

[1] Don Norman: Emotional Design (the whole book!)

[2] Bardzell and Bardzell: Great and troubling beauty

[3] Nelson and Stolterman: Desiderata, Design Way

[4] Trevor Van Gorp, Edie Adams: Design for Emotion. (The whole book)

[5] Crampton and Smith: Design for everyday life

[6] Picard  Affective Computers

[7] switch: its a book on emotional intelligence

So what are your thoughts, comments, concerns?


So I just finally pieced together what I want to do and am currently pulling quotes from different papers. The basic idea comes from Don Norman’s Emotional Design.

When machines display emotions, they provide a rich and satisfying interaction with people, even though most of the richness and satisfaction, most of the interpretation and understanding, comes from within the head of the person, not from the artificial system

I basically want to argue that emotional intelligence is important for the future developments of computers and robots. I will contrast R2D2 and C3P0 with Siri and Cortana (apple and Windows phone) and show the difference in interactions of systems that are capable of emotional intelligence vs systems that only interpret commands.

For example, the other day Jeff Gadzala was showing off Cortana and was trying to get Cortana make a reference to the video game. Unfortunately, Cortana took him literally (“Cortana can you tell me about Master Chief”) and gave him a wiki answer! In this situation for example, had his phone been able to recognize the emotions (casual, joking), it would have been able to offer a joke or two!

I am probably going to dissect each example based on the readings (Sutcliff, McCarthy and Wright, Folkman, Bradzell and Bradzell) and show why emotional intelligence is important.

My question is, does this seem reasonable and narrowed down enough? Are there any seminal papers that I am missing out? Other thoughts and concerns?

I was on reddit this morning and came across a post about Nyota Uhura, a character on the original Star Trek television series. The post was a TIL about this:

“Nichols planned to leave Star Trek in 1967 after its first season, wanting to return to musical theater.[6] She changed her mind after talking to Martin Luther King Jr.,[7] who was a fan of the show. King explained that her character signified a future of greater racial harmony and cooperation.[8] As Nichols recounted, “Star Trek was one of the only shows that [King] and his wife Coretta would allow their little children to watch. And I thanked him and I told him I was leaving the show. All the smile came off his face. And he said, don’t you understand for the first time, we’re seen as we should be seen. You don’t have a black role. You have an equal role.””

I would have to do more research about the context of Star Trek and possibly the public reaction to Nyota Uhura as a character, but I immediately thought about the power of future thinking when I read this. I like to think that Nichols was able to be an equal role character in the show because the show was about the future where powerful social influences and a tyrannical majority hold less power. The audience is invited to imagine a world they all perhaps want, a world with less racism and more equality. Because the rest of the world is already vastly different from the current world and is highly imagined, it becomes easier to accept change.  There is also a notion of hope at play here. Proposed futures can stand as “signifiers” for a better future, a future we as designers can mold and remold to express different values. People can recognize these values and attach hope to them, hopefully integrating them into our daily lives. Indeed we have seen just this phenomena through media in the past 50 years. Art of all kinds has helped promote better futures, specifically, and the point of the original reddit post, through helping minorities gain a voice by subverting existing powerful normative structures.

This could raise some interesting questions. If there were normally racist television viewers who preferred African Americans to be in “black roles” but in the case of Star Trek seemed not to mind an equal role played by an African American, what kind of work is being done by that racist viewer? Is his racism momentarily suspended permitting him to see a black person as an equal? If so, why?  An easier question is to question why one of the first equal roles for a black person (and a woman too) was in a science fiction genre in a time when both women and people of color were marginalized.

Since a long time I have thought that the screen of a computer acts as a wall which separates the real and the artificial world.  No matter how immersive the screen-content can be, it still is a different world. It is unreal, but has a lot of elements which are the reasons of our fascinations. Since the 90s, a lot of attempts have been made to somehow penetrate into this artificial world, but they did not achieved what they really promised. It is mankind’s endeavor to somehow get into the artificial world and feel as if it is real. The attempts of Virtual Reality are real and great, but they don’t really dissolve this wall, they just fake being immersed. We have a lot of examples such as virtual reality caves, Head Mounted displays, Augmented reality, but nothing is satisfactory.

We have seen movies like The Matrix, Tron, and cartoons like Johnny Quest where the hero gets immersed in a different world, and this become a great inspiration for reality to come up with something which really gives us this immersed feeling. Many of the people working in this field are trying to achieve this, and one of the attempts is made my Oculus VR by making the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Display.

The Video below explains the capabilities of the headset.

Oculus Rift is the idea of Palmer Lucky, which he started in his parent’s garage. He is a virtual reality enthusiast  and big fan of head mounted displays. He wanted to buy the best VR headset to get the immersive matrix experience, but there was nothing out there, so he decided to build the Oculus Rift. The makers of the Rift have specifically targeted gaming industry as they want to focus on giving the immersive experience. They want gamers to feel like being in the game when playing it actually. This is a dream of breaking the wall and going completely in the artificial world and feeling like being a part of it.  They never thought of it as for watching movies in an immersive way as because here they focus on games and only games. They don’t want this experience  (even if it is so rich) to be expensive so the device only cost for $300.  They are giving it to the developers (game developers)  to develop content for the Rift.

The Oculus Rift is made of two in-built Hi-definition  screens — one for each eye– and two lenses which allows the eyes to see the things on the screens which are really close to the eye.  Together they give a VR experience. It has a gyro sensor and an Accelerometer which act as the motion sensing couple to track the head movement and translate them into the game, so if the user moves the head, he sees where he is looking. The best part of it is that the motion sensing is very low latency, so the combination of the motion sensing and the one screen per eye generates a stereoscopic 3D image which actually fools the brain to believe that it is experiencing an actual thing. The device itself is very bulky and wired to the PC via an HDMI cable. It has foam layers to make wearing it comfortable. People with spectacle can wear it as because it fits perfectly on a spectacle and also they thick lenses on the device itself can be change to suit the vision of the user. Compared to the traditional VR options available, it is very different. The existing VR goggles give an experience which is like sitting in front of a 100 inch screen kept at a distance of 60 feet, and the head tracking is also very lagging. Oculus Rift has a very low latency head tracking and it feels like being in the environment as you don’t really get to see the ends of the screen so it is a curved, very wide screen giving you a very engulfed experience.

When I tried it for the first time, I was completely astounded. I had never experienced anything that immersive. Initially when you are new to the device, you feel a bit dizzy because your brain is orienting to it, but once you are accustomed to it,  that experience you can never forget. When I tried it I was asked to move my head turn it to right and left to see if I can see stuff, but when I was asked to turn and see what’s behind me, I was simply shocked.  You can move your head and orient yourself to the virtual environment which gives you a feeling of actually being there. The only thing you will say when you are wearing it is “This is amazing”. If you are using something that immersive, then the traditional keyboard and mouse doesn’t work. I was asked to use the keyboard and mouse to move around in the virtual environment, but it seemed not at all intuitive. So I feel that for this kind of technology, the interaction has to be very natural. Using omnidirectional treadmill, gestures, mind-control to interact in such environment is probably the best possible things to be done to make it more realistic. It was hard for me to find the keyboard and the mouse since my eyes were covered with the Rift.  Although, it has all the good aspects of interactivity, it is hard to keep wearing it for a long time because of it’s big form factor and the fact that it is wired.

What effects can we see because of such a piece of technology. Well there can be both good and bad. Good is that there are can be games that help us relax from day to day activities and isolate us from all the tensions. Such kind of immersivity is very essential for relaxing. Instead of visiting families, you will have these virtual hangout  where everyone will meet in this virtual space and celebrate and electronic Christmas. Imagine the future of gaming. What would it feel like actually being the avatar you are playing. How will it feel like actually taking a bullet from the enemy. Will it be for people with a light heart. Imagine the future of porn. Having a virtual sex partner in such an environment will change every thing. You won’t won’t want to come out of it. It being very immersive, the user will get detached from the real world he won’t be aware of the world besides him. What kind of design guidelines with it suggest.  We today are so much immersed our cellphones that we forget the world around us. What will happen when we are totally into different world. What will it change.

Overall, I feel that is a  great piece of technology. It truly gives you a very rich immersive experience. Although, it is not very real, but slowly it will get there. So far there was nothing like this. It has a good side as well as a bad side. It is in the hands of design and the designer of the content how it will be used. Given the applications are made that rich and after carefully thinking about the things this device can change it can really bring about a huge transformation in immersion in to the virtual world completely destroying the wall separating the real and the virtual world.


I became an avid fan of the Walking Dead last semester. I normally try to avoid TV shows when people tell me they are addicting when I am really busy (I’ve missed a lot of good stuff in grad school.) I have a long list of really good series to go back and watch when I graduate. However, I couldn’t resist watching the Walking Dead though. I love zombie movies. I think of all the dystopian narrative genres, I find it the most appealing. It might be the drama of watching someone’s friend turn against them right in front of their eyes and defend themselves. Whatever it is, it can be thrilling when it is done right. For the first two seasons, the Walking Dead was one of the best undead narratives I have seen.

The reason I am posting this on the blog is that lately I have been extremely disappointed in what they have done. In the first season, they kept it short and they had plenty of stuff going on the whole time. You didn’t know what was going to happen from episode to episode. At the end of every episode, you were dying to see what was next! Now, I am just wanting this season to be over. They are breaking all the standard rules of a true zombie thriller story, which they used to follow.

  1. None of the main cast members have died in some time. Knowing that anyone can go keeps you on edge throughout the episode. Game of Thrones is very successful at this. When there is no scare whatsoever of anyone dying, it becomes a soap opera and not a zombie apocalypse. I don’t find myself wondering who is going to die next. There hasn’t been any harsh reality faced in some time.
  2. A ridiculous rivalry which has lasted way too long! There has not been a large plot shift for some time. We’ve known that the Governor (Phillip) is the bad guy from the early impressions we got on him (he is the one on the left in the top photo.) He is the leader of a city called Woodbury. He has committed several nefarious acts in front of us the viewer and masked it from most of the cast for a majority of the season, however, in recent episodes he has shown his true colors for all to see. In the last episode, Rick (main character and the one on the right in the top photo) had the perfect opportunity to pull the trigger and end this. The Governor sat unarmed in front of Rick and he didn’t shoot him even when the Governor promised to bring vengeance upon his whole group with every person who follows him. This is really dragging on and is completely unrealistic at this point. Rick had already crossed the line of making quick decisions to kill people for the sake of his group spontaneously earlier this season against a couple inmates from that prison who tried to kill him. Shoot the guy and protect all you care about; or don’t shoot him and elect to go to a war where you’re heavily outnumbered. Tough choice for a man who is used to making tough decisions to save the people he has protected for almost a year now.
  3. Lame zombies. This past few episodes were laughable. The zombies this episode were nothing like the ones from the first two seasons. Andrea escapes from the captivity of the Governor. There was a moment where the Andrea was pinned to the tree by a zombie holding her there while hugging around the tree. That zombie apparently isn’t going to try to maneuver around the tree for the upcoming 30 seconds she has to fight for her life. Two other zombies are approaching her very slowly from the front as that zombie which refuses to walk around the tree holds her there. She can’t move her arm, but she is fortunate to have the first zombie from the front walk straight into a 5 inch knife with his eye socket. That zombie falls back on the other zombie allowing her to fight free so she can slowly walk up to each of them and stab them in the face. Later on, Andrea is cornered by the Governor who is chasing her. In a last ditch effort, she releases thirty zombies on the Governor!!! The Governor doesn’t appear to be all that worried. In fact, he is more annoyed that she did that as he slowly begins to walk backwards and kill zombie after zombie. What a joke? How the hell did these zombies overtake the human race if one person can fight off dozens of zombies, especially with all the gun nuts in this country. I didn’t see a man fighting for his life. He was trying to fight through a crowd of zombies to get to Andrea. This is no longer a zombie apocalypse. The zombies are more of a nuisance or pest than an impending extinction event of the human race.
  4. Main characters, no face time. I don’t know about you, but I consider Andrea to be a pretty weak, annoying main character. She isn’t likable. Her character is predictable, unchanging, gullible, and she generally finds a way to screw things up for anyone she might call a friend. The entire episode this week only showed Rick once the entire episode. Everyone in the prison is on borrowed time and may likely be killed (if that happens anymore in this series), but we don’t get to hear any dialogue from them. What are they thinking about? Are they nervous still? Anxious to fight? Do they want to run? Why am I going an entire episode without seeing all of the characters I care about. They developed this characters and made me like them. In season 3, they have repeatedly underutilized a majority of the main cast. It would be like watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy and you don’t hear about Frodo carrying the ring for a two hour movie. You spent all of this effort developing these characters. Use them!

I don’t normally feel this cynical this quickly, but I used to love this series. What happened to it? Are there any other fans out there who feel my frustrations?

This Post is coming straight from facebook and somehow related to the topic of my paper.

I acknowledge Angelica and Stephanie for this post.

Most of us are big fans of the Sci-fi movies. These movies sport awesome technology, well the dates in the movies are also like 2030, 2050, but these movies are being made right now, and yes some how the magical creators of the films make this magical interfaces appear as reality to us.

Somehow I feel that this kind of movies inform the design of the futuristic interfaces, but when they get implemented in reality, we say “WTF it is not the same as the one in Minority Report”  What Stephanie commented on the post on facebook was this, “I think movie technology is often another form of human-centered design, but it’s not for usefulness or usability–it’s for entertainment. The “user” is the viewer, so you have to make the tech as entertaining to watch as you can.” What I personally feel is that we will definitely like to see stuff like the one Tony Stark uses at his home in reality, and thus in research labs all over the world people try to make the interfaces like this, but when they are actually made, only the people who make it are really happy, they do all awesome maneuvers in the videos for promoting the technology which impresses the viewers, but when the normal user gets its hands on this, there is a big disappointment.


2013-02-27 18.00.58

I have myself experienced this a lot of times, both, being the user and the maker of such interfaces. I have seen people playing with the stuff I made with the leap. I always see the confusion on the faces of the people using it for the first time, what really scares me is when the confusion comes back after they are habituated with the interface and things go wrong. I feel like this is not what I wanted it to be.

The big question here is that, how much the interfaces shown in the science fiction movies inform the actual Interface design of the futuristic interfaces? Why are these interface not designed in a way that the user can get the same feeling as the one he gets while watching the movie? Where are we lacking? Is it the technology, or the direction which is informing the design?

Is the tech shown in the movies just meant for movies, or we envision what is coming in the future through that window and inform the designs to turn it into reality?



I am a big time fan of Natural User Interfaces (NUI). I am deeply ingrained into development of these as this is what I do whenever I have free time. I have played and develop a lot with things like Kinect, Leapmotion, and OpenCV.

We can see from a lot of science fiction movies and the research going on recently that these, at some point of time, are going to be the ways with which we will interact with computers. Whenever I develop stuff, I ask people to interact with them, I know that they make mistakes (terrible mistakes), and I know that they make mistakes because there is a disconnect between their mental model and the system image in front of them. But I also know that the second time users do equally good.

No matter how better the interface is, it is no having any presence out in the wild, and if they are, they are not that impressive as we want them to be. I will love to investigate why this is happening. Where is the flaw? Is it on the technical side where it is hard to make devices which will make interfaces like this a reality? Is it on the usefulness side? or on the usability side?

I am thinking of taking such interfaces and studying them deeply to find the reasons why these things are far from reality and why not everyone (even if they want to use it) using it? Is there a flaw in bringing them into a reality? Or Were the initial expectations of what these devices were capable of was flawed? We have these many awesome videos on the web showing what these devices can do, but when these things come out, all the awesomeness is momentary.

I will also take the work from Table top research group into consideration.

I welcome all suggestions and directions to help me to begin with. I will love to get some papers related to it.

So I’ve been thinking about my final paper but I think I need some help framing the issue in an interaction/user experience design perspective. The topic is on digital storytelling, specifically in the medium of comic books and graphic novels. There is a history and technique to reading comics that has developed over the course of the past century, and with the advent of digital technologies there lies a whole wealth of possibilities in which the reader and the content can interact. On the other side, crafting comics has also changed drastically with the tools available to creators allowing amateur creators the ability to self-publish some very awesome content. I am less familiar with the creator side of the equation but I still find it extremely interesting.

A socio-cultural topic that also be fun to look at would be the legacy of the stories being told through the generations of comic books and how new media is changing the perspectives of viewers, established and new to the genre. I did a similar paper to this once in undergrad based on the mythology of superheroes and would like to revisit the topic but again, I’m having trouble framing the question in a design perspective.

Any and all thoughts would be welcome!

Imagine the time when we had black and white CRT display. The first of it’s kind was only capable of displaying a dot on a phosphorus screen. Today we can we what transformation the display technologies have gone through. There were color CRTs then came LCDs, then came LEDs, we got full HD Resolution, Now we are talking about  4K television which is 4 times the resolution of the full HD TV. Displays have transformed considerably in form. They are now much Thinner, consume less energy and space, but through all this transformation one thing was very common, use of glass.

Samsung made a breakthrough by replacing this glass with plastic which made a phenomenal change to what display of the future will be like. They introduced Samsung Youm, which is a plastic based flexible OLED display which can be BENT. No isn’t that awesome? Let’s see how awesome it is in the video below.

So Samsung Youm is a flexible OLED display. It has a flexible form because it is NOT made with glass. Yes, not with glass. all the LED are printed on a sheet of plastic. The display is OLED which is Organic Light Emitting Diode display. LED’s have their own light source so they don’t require a backlight which is the case with LCD displays. Although, it is foldable, you wont want to fold and press it like a paper as it will damage the screen by giving it creases. It is absolutely thin. It has very little power consumption as the LEDs have their own power source.

Samsung came out with that display with lots of applications in mind. For example, it will replace the traditional gorilla glass in the smartphones which will make the phone screen unbreakable(you just got rid of the glass part of the display). The display going into traditional smartphones will loose its flexibility. The demo phone shown in the video demonstrates a display which is extended over the edge to show notification, but this is not the exact application of a flexible display.  You are taking away its flexibility. The Concept devices in the video makes some sense with the use of flexible screen, but they don’t seem to be realistically implementable for the next few years. Even if phones with rolling displays are made, how durable will they be?? Well the applications need to be thought out.

Are these displays useful and usable? The display looks very suitable for the application of wearable computing. Imagine having those displays on your clothes. Having a coat which will do your body analysis and display the result on the display, which goes very well with the coat. The question arises, Will that be washable? These displays can be a very good option where fragility is a concern.  There seems a conditions where it is a war between usefulness and usability? One more question arises is that is it really needed? Even if it is needed, should it replace all the displays or it should be augmented with the current display technology? Will this innovation have any meaning if the devices on which it goes is not flexible??? These are the concerns to worry about.

Users of this device are pretty much not concerned with the display itself. They are concerned with the content shown. As far as the content is shown, any display showing the right thing at the right time is perfect. Imagine having a flexible display like a wrist band serving as a clock and health monitor is a good option, but having it on your shirt showing your facebook feed can cause severe privacy issues which the user don’t want. Imagine if you are wearing such a shirt in a public place and if it shows some obscene content will make it loose all it purpose. Although, it might seem cool to have a shirt like that, but wrong place and time along with the wrong content make it lose all its importance.

In Conclusion, the Samsung Youm display is a very nice innovation. For it being a useful innovation, it should be applied to the right device serving the display of data at the right time and place in the right form. It can definitely prove a great leap towards wearable computing and that is where the need of flexible displays is needed more.

Murch’s piece reminds me of the interactive notion of “frame”, which comes from linguistics and communication theories. Tannen and Wallat (1993) define frame as a sense of what activity is being engaged in, how speakers mean what they say. It is frame that contextualizes people’s “speech activity” (Gumperz, 1982), provides expectations and assumptions which a listener/reader/watcher must know to correctly interpret an utterance and to continue the intended conversation, and directs participants to respond playfully or seriously, because they believe/expect they are in a “playful” or “serious” frame and they want to follow the guidelines/expectations.

I read Murch’s film as a frame of unreality/dream, or multiple frames of different themes/emotions divided by cuts, and people need to exchange signals which carry meta-information to identify these frame(s) with the director/editor. Therefore, rates and rhythms of blinking become such frame identifier, because they are “contextualization cues” (Gumperz, 1982), which cover any verbal or nonverbal sign that helps speakers (in this case, directors/editors) hint at, or clarify, and listeners (in this case, audience) to make “inferences”—mental processes that allow conversationalists to evoke the cultural background and social expectations necessary to interpret speech (in this case, the frame(s) of the film). So I would also think blink is “grammaticalizing” as new kinds of punctuation markers, which give hints to connect the director/editor and the audience’s own feeling, thoughts and expectations, allowing audience “to trust” and “to give themselves to the film”.

When I read Mulhall’s “film as philosophizing”, “philosophy of film” and “film as philosophy”, I was thinking about Luciano Floridi’s arguments of information as reality, information about reality, and information for reality… Hm, I’m not sure if they have any connection, but I feel they share something in common in their logics. In addition, Mulhall’s discussion of “Ripley’s voice” seems a comparison between feminism and masculinism. I’m curious of this comparison because I’m a science fiction movie fan. In most sci-fi movies, man is dominant and woman is somewhat “decorative”. However, women are usually the survivors (at least one of the survivors, if not the only one), while most male characters would be killed. It’s very interesting to see how those films manipulate the gender roles and how our expectation/mental models interpret them.