Can You See Me Now?

Steve Benford from the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham University has been lucky enough to be able to do work as part of the Equator Project (a really big multi-disciplinary collaborative project funded mainly by the EPSRC: the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council). My reading started by looking into his work. An interesting paper, “Can You See Me Now?” (CYSMN) discusses the design, implementation and ethnographic study on an “adjacent reality” game. Now, there’s a subtle difference between adjacent reality and augmented reality. I have yet to understand this subtle difference, though! Anyway, I won’t go into the details of the game, as the paper explains it all in detail.

I found that the most important point in the paper was that uncertainties arising in systems due to technical reasons such as GPS inaccuracy or WiFi connectivity problems should have implications with the design of the system: we sometimes reach a stage where we cannot improve the reliability any more, so we must evaluate the uncertainties as if they were core parts of the system design. CYSMN responded to their observations by designing ‘four states of being’ of a mobile player, which were simply combinations of whether there are GPS or WiFi connectivity problems. The designers then created solutions for each of these problems, which, in their experiments, proved to improve the experience of the game as strategies evolved to exploit these uncertainties.

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