A breakthrough in telepresence and human-computer interaction.

Working with Cisco’s telepresence research team for the past few months I’ve been trying to prove live 360° video conferencing as a concept but haven’t been able to get it working until I met Michael Wall in Sweden who also had a 360° camera. 

Today we made a breakthrough in video conferencing using VR headsets on each end (California and Sweden). The platform we used was designed for live streaming 360° video but we were able to get it to work using two separate browser windows and an audio headset.

We believe we may have made a breakthrough in human-computer interaction here.

Here is the use case I’ve identified for using VR headsets and 360 video conferencing: When one person is tuning in remotely to a room full of people without a VR headset the remote person is rarely engaged as it is.

The purpose being to create a more immersive experience for the distributed person calling in. You don’t need 20 people wearing headsets in a room to alienate people from each other in a room. Just the one calling in remotely. (The one who is less ‘centralized’) – the one feeling more ‘alienated’.

Other people have done 360º video conferencing and I don’t doubt there has been ‘talk’ about the idea of using a VR headset in a meeting but from my research this ‘talk’ has resided entirely among naysayers who didn’t think there would be value in exploring this. We believe we were the first to get a VR headset to work in one.

To keep things simple well call this VR teleconferencing.

Design knowledge wants to be free.

Beginning today and every Monday at Union Cowork in San Diego I’ll be hosting a free design workshop for startups in the San Diego area. The guest list is limited to 25 seats to keep things intimate and will fill up quickly so be sure to RSVP in advance if you are in the area and would like to attend.

We’ll be selecting one project to focus on and do open service innovation around while applying proven design methods to capture meaningful and actionable insights. Design thinking is focused on ‘making’, not an academic exercise. 

I Love Mondays is a weekly dose of design thinking for startups to kick your week off on the right foot. Light & fun activities designed to stimulate discussion around the business value of design, methods-based research and the importance of seeing with new eyes.

/ Play is the highest form of research
/ Design knowledge wants to be free

RSVP: http://nvite.com/ILoveMondays

Live 360º Stream: http://hugvr.com/ILoveMondays

Good design is empathy and clear thinking made visible.

While there may be such a thing as over-thinking there is not such a thing as over-empathizing. Good Design is clear thinking and empathy made visible.

Whoever best describes a problem is the person most likely to fix it. Never compromise improving upon your descriptions in fear over-thinking. Design thinking is focused on making things real with actionable insights and isn’t an academic exercise.

Empathy creates insights.

As design practitioners and as a profession we must be willing to ask what types of models we can create in order to make better observations about the terminology we’ve become most comfortable using and then ask ourselves how might we improve upon and humanize the language we use to describe the activities of the people we are designing for.

6 design secrets for any founder who is truly interested in disruptive innovation

1) Your success criteria is directly proportional to your tolerance for doing shit work.
2) Always have a prototype in your back pocket (never go into a meeting without a prototype).
3) Never show up to talk about an idea without some way of showing that idea to the person whose feedback you need.
4) The prototype you end up building should always answer the questions you need answered in order to prove the most important parts about your hypothesis and teach you about the insights you are trying to generate by building it.
5) Insights that are ‘generative’ should lead you to draw things or cause you to want to address them right away.
6) Insights that are ‘provocative’ require prodding in order for you to be able to think about them — these insights require a willingness to ask why being prodded was necessary in order for you to be able to think about them in the first place.

Keyrious – The adventure that never stops giving

One of the products that I had the unique opportunity of doing service experience work on is launching this evening at the Emmy awards. Gentlemen if you are looking for a special adventure that never stops giving this Christmas you need to buy her a key.

You script the journey and she gets to unlock new surprises and clues every year, it is a gift that never stops giving — literally. http://keyrious.com


#AppleWatch 1st observations

Being an early adopter goes with the territory of doing user research / experience design so here are some of my initial observations of the Apple Watch:
  • The hardware aesthetic feels as though I’m wearing the original iPhone from ’07 on my wrist.
  • There is some utility I’ve discovered so far in that I don’t find myself pulling my phone out of my pocket to see incoming text messages, email or phone calls.
  • It is nice to have a scripture verse of the day on my wrist along with a few other apps that do partially make up for the steep price point. (The 3rd party development community will really be the ones deciding the ultimate fate of this wearable).
  • I am someone who sits and works for long periods of time so the hourly reminders to stand and walk around a little are not as obnoxious as I thought they might be.
  • I wish there were better controls for managing types of notifications from apps. I definitely don’t need all the notifications I receive on my iPhone to all show up on my Apple Watch.
  • I wish Siri worked better on the Apple Watch because I can see myself using it more on my wrist than I would on my mobile device.
  • The remote app for the Apple TV is great when you are always losing your Apple TV remote and remote management of IoT devices (HomeKit) from the Apple Watch really will be the killer app if you want my opinion. People don’t want to have to go hunting for their phones to do routine tasks in their home like adjusting the temperature on a thermostat, unlocking the front door, changing watering cycles on their sprinkler system.
  • Another tradeoff that many people are complaining about is the lack of connectivity when an iPhone isn’t within range. Marissa is a runner and likes to map her runs using RunKeeper and GPS which you would think would be something that she would be able to do without carrying around a tablet sized phone in her pocket.
  • Apple just opened up the watch band API to third party designers so I’d really love to see watchbands designed by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and other big name fashion brands.
  • I see lots of opportunity new ways of visualizing time and it won’t be long before we start to see branded/unbranded watch face experiences brought into the Apple Watch app store.
Marissa and I went in for the stainless steel versions since the sport versions didn’t come with sapphire glass (although I understand that the display on the sport version is a bit brighter).
BTW, I wrote post from my Apple Watch using dictation (kidding)