Future Media Home activities for students 2000-2001

Background

Future Media Home (http://fmh.uiah.fi) is a research group in the Media Lab, founded around a research initiative of the same name. We have been running a project for three and a half years with funding from Tekes and 6 industry partners. During this time we have had many student collaborations, and more than 40 people have been connected to this community, some more, some less. Now the original funded project is coming to its end, and we have new ones running and others in planning stages.

The work we are planning continues the work initiated in the earlier efforts, but as the first project was intended to search for promising and interesting focus for further research, we believe we have now a better idea of the shape of our research landscape, and are now planning a number of more specific new projects.

We will also most likely find ourselves with a new, maybe more appropriate name in the near future!

People

Currently the core of the group consists of

Kari-Hans Kommonen
Maria Koskijoki
Andrea Botero
Katja Oksanen-Särelä
Hanna Holm
Matti Arvilommi
Pirjo Vainio

In addition, we have a number of other members, including students who are working on final thesis projects or study projects. A more comprehensive list of people will be available at some point on our website.

Previous work

The work we have done previously can be situated in a 4 layer model:

1. explaining the future
2. revealing everyday life
3. exploring and illustrating possibilities
4. conclusions

Explaining the future

Revealing everyday life

Exploring and illustrating possibilities

Conclusions

Examples

Student projects 97
100 kotia (access by agreement)
Design Fiction
Kaupunki (access by agreement)
Sandbox (thesis project of Andrea Botero)
Consumeter (thesis project of Antti Ellonen)
Audio Futuro

Home base

We can offer a home base for students who share interests with us or bring in new, interesting interests, and - because we are not planning to focus on becoming a management organization - who do take responsibility in managing their own work and research.

We do not have a formal plan for activities beyond those outlined below, but we can be flexible and support people and activities that are compatible in appropriate ways...

Working with us, you will probably learn a lot from the work, your colleagues and our collaborators, and you will have to think about things like

Activities

At the moment we can announce the following organized activities, but we plan to introduce new ones during the year. We will announce these on the lab's news lists.

Future Design Introduction (18.- 22.9.)

We will give a workshop (1 credit) on 18.- 22.9. every day between 10-16. Here we will present a crash course introduction into our topics. We expect that participants will get new points of view into the future and their ability to influence it, what design is and what their relationship to it is, and what are some of the most interesting potential areas of design in the near future.

Dreamtellers (November)

A Participatory Scenario Design Workshop.

Tomorrow's Gallery

FMH and Sonera collaborate in arranging this study project. The basic idea is to prepare demonstrations of the future that will be presented in an exhibition organized by Sonera in summer 2001. The students will design concepts and prepare production plans for exhibits; these will be presented to a selection committee in December 2000; selected productions will be commissioned to be produced for the exhibition during the spring.

Students who wish to participate the TG project are expected to participate in the Future Design Introduction workshop (18.-22.9., above). The selection of participants will be made after the workshop.

Research Work

We have many things that we would need to get done that qualify for study credits - some of them very independent and some more directed.

Personal Research Applications

According to the guidelines for students given by MT, we also expect students to write personal research plans.

We do not expect these plans to completely describe your activities for the coming year, because we feel that interactions in a community will probably help you to redefine your plans later. Instead, we will read these plans as introductions to your person and your interest areas and try to understand the compatibility and complementarity of interests and ideas between us.

Please find below suggestions of topics and areas of digital development that you might find helpful. Please have complete freedom to suggest anything else equally well.

Areas of digital development

Digital Dimension

A digital dimension is being created all the time where more and more things from the material world will find a new home. More and more, these will also be interconnected. We are concerned with how and of what this digital dimension is designed. How will it function, and whose values will it enforce?

Fluid Media

Media is currently trapped in, and structured according to, its packaging. In order to be more useful and beneficial for us, it needs to be freed and accessible in new ways. People need access to ideas and meaning now hidden inside programs. This requires also new ways and tools to create and author media productions. They need to be available to and usable by everyone. People need better ways to manage their own media and share the media they want with others. Memories, notes, news, opinions, experiences, history, ideas,...

Make Things Happen

In the digital domain, everything is made of software. Today it is quite easy for people to create so called "content", but notoriously difficult to "program". In order to make anything happen, you need to buy a product or learn to program. Programming is very difficult and frustrating, one who wants to get anything done herself must become an expert in it, and this is not at all a reasonable thing to expect from people. There is a revolution ahead of us, similar to the one which made the internet popular, which will happen when people can make things happen in the digital dimension. What does this require? How can we approach this?

Natural Extensions

More and more important things that we need will live in the digital dimension. These can be considered our digital extensions. How can they be as compatible with us as possible? How should our interaction with the digital extensions be designed?

Audiovisual and Tangible Interfaces

There is always an interface layer between us and the digital things. We must get freed of our dependence on the WIMP interface. However, we do not have very good understanding of the reasonable alternatives. We want to study audiovisual (audio, speech, music, visual, 3D, augmented reality, machine vision) and tangible interfaces as important components in those solutions. We want to build an experimental space and demonstrations of new interface solutions.

Topics

Exhibiting in Tomorrow's Gallery

Develop an idea of an exhibit for Tomorrow's Gallery.

Personal Mediascape - Social Mediaspace

Personal Mediascape is about how each individual experiences and encounters the media they come in touch with during their life. Social Mediaspace describes the media environment that result from different individual activities but which makes sharing of ideas, compassion and responsibility (as well as s number of other things) possible.

Influence & Responsibility

Digital technology can empower people. However, empowering without responsibility would be irresponsibility. People will be able to get new ways to influence the world and society around them. What can those tools be? How can responsibility be designed?

Life at Home

Design for Children