SpeakStatus (CalmStatus)

This app makes the phone speak about its statuses. The phone says out loud the battery and signal levels, the date and time, missed calls, new messages, new facebook notifications, new twitter mentions, new mail, etc. You can interact with a phone not touching and not looking. This is also an attempt to implement an alternative calm technology. “A calm technology will move easily from the periphery of our attention, to the center, and back.”

A calm technology will move easily from the periphery of our attention, to the center, and back. This is fundamentally encalming, for two reasons: first, by placing things in the periphery we are able to attune to many more things than we could if everything had to be at the center. Things in the periphery are attuned to by the large portion of our brains devoted to peripheral (sensory) processing. Thus the periphery is informing without overburdening. Second, by recentering something formerly in the periphery we take control of it. Peripherally we may become aware that something is not quite right, as when awkward sentences leave a reader tired and discomforted without knowing why. By moving sentence construction from periphery to center we are empowered to act, either by finding better literature or accepting the source of the unease and continuing. Without centering the periphery might be a source of frantic following of fashion; with centering the periphery is a fundamental enabler of calm through increased awareness and power.

Designing Calm Technology
Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown
Xerox PARC
December 21, 1995

Let us consider verbal communications [sitting in the comfortable chair of ignorance]. Often the first thing that comes to mind is a face to face talk with someone. But in this scenario, not only the verbal is happening. There is, of course, a load of information being communicated through posture, clothing, gestures, movement, body position and haptics to name a few.

But there are some situations where you are e.g. standing in kitchen taking care of the fudge (to cover the fresh baked brownie) and your friend is watching those last minutes of the game. You will end up screaming your message, which will be acknowledged with a loud back message. Screaming is one acknowledged mean of remote indoor communication, specially for Brazilian families. 🙂

  • I want to translate human/primitive/natural reaction to technology. Or more specifically, coding human-human interaction into a human-computer solution. It makes sense to me that technology pieces should learn their ways from people and not the other way around.
  • I want to treat this as a blind interaction, or being able to communicate back and forth without looking, without touching, without stopping your present focused activity. Briefly and smoothly bringing this interaction to the center of your attention and taking it back to periphery seamlessly (calm).
  • I want to implement this type of interaction with SpeakStatus app, and hopefully making it a proof-of-concept of a human-imported, with a thought-through ritual and calm technology.

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