Globicomp-doing ubicomp differently: introduction to the special issue

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (Impact Factor: 1.52). 08/2011; 15(6):551-552. DOI: 10.1007/s00779-010-0336-2
Source: DBLP


The bulk of the research community’s work to date has been focussed on the so-called ‘developed’ world— contexts where there are already well-established technical infrastructures and digital resources. These contexts have users who have relatively high level of computer literacy, typically have a high degree of textual literacy and have undergone a formal education. Examples include sophisticated ‘smart’ homes with digital noticeboards and even interactive fridge doors [3]; embedded technologies for amusement parks [2]; and, cities and urban dwellers with time to, ‘‘marvel at mundane everyday experiences and objects that evoke mystery, doubt, and uncertainty. How many newspapers has that person sold today? When was that bus last repaired? How far have I walked today? How many people have ever sat on that bench? Does that woman own a cat? Did a child or adult spit that gum onto the sidewalk?’’ [1]. But pervasive digital technology is no longer the preserve of the developed world. The ITU reports that in the developing world, some 68% of people have access to the cellular network [4]. Furthermore, 90% of the world’s population, and 80% of its rural population, live within range of the cellular network. Therefore, there are hundreds of millions of users, and billions to come in the next 5 years, in places like India, China, and Africa, whose first, and perhaps only, experience of computing will be in the

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Available from: Gary Marsden, Oct 06, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: No longer confined to our offices, schools, and homes, technology is expanding at an astonishing rate across our everyday public urban landscapes. From the visible (mobile phones, laptops, and blackberries) to the invisible (GPS, WiFi, GSM, and EVDO), we find the full spectrum of digital technologies transforming nearly every facet of our urban experience. Many current urban computing systems focus on improving our efficiency and productivity in the city by providing "location services" and/or interactive navigation and mapping tools. While agreeing with the need for such systems, we are reminded that urban life spans a much wider range of emotions and experiences. Our claim is that our successful future urban technological tools will be those that incorporate the full range of urban experiences - from improving productivity and efficiency to promoting wonderment and daydreaming. We discuss intervention as a research strategy for understanding wonderment; demonstrate an example of such a study using a matchbook experiment to expose relationships between locations and emotions within a city; and use the results to develop Sashay - a mobile phone application that promotes wonderment by visualizing an individual's personal patterns across the invisible, manufactured geography of mobile phone cellular towers.
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