Encalming Technology

In their article, Weiser and Brown give the Ambient Information Systems a name called Calm Technology. According to Weiser and Brown, “enhanced peripheral reach increases our knowledge and so our ability to act without increasing information overload” (P.2, Weiser and Brown 1995). This type of technology provide the users information they need to know for their actions in the background and only brings the user’s attention to these information when needed. The best example, which illuminate their point, in my view, is the inner office windows. According to Weiser and Brown, adding inner office windows in a office “connects people inside to the nearby world” by  providing information such as “motion of other people down the hall (it is time for lunch; the big meeting is starting) or noticing the same person peeking in for the third time while you are on the phone (they really want to see me; I forgot an appointment)” ,etc.

These kind of technology is very exciting because it utilize the senses that are normally peripheral to us to provide information which enhances the users’ actions. For example, in the “Dangling String” example, The users will be able to notice something wrong with the bit transmission by some irregular sounds from the strings. In this way the users can focus on other actions and shift their attention to the data transmission part of the system only when the irregular sounds occur.  As Weiser and Brown mentioned, in this way, “more information could be more encalming.” (P5, Weiser & Brown, 1995).

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