Lancaster University

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Next generation Mobile Interactivity

02/29/2008 14:20:33

Dr Paul Coulton
Dr Paul Coulton

Lancaster University is leading an international research network which could shape the way in which we use our mobile phones in the future.

Mobile games researcher Dr Paul Coulton is leading the Nokia Mobile Experiences Group which explores new uses for mobile phones which go way beyond just texting, phoning and taking photographs.

As part of the Forum Nokia Innovation Network the experiences group focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel, uniquely mobile user experiences from games to social networking.

Specific areas of interest include context-aware games, mixed and augmented reality, user-generated content, collective intelligence, location-based applications and community building.

Dr Coulton said: “If you look in any café, bar or bus stop you can see people using their phones in a way which isolates them from people in their immediate vicinity. We are in the habit of texting and phoning people on the move, creating a little cyber bubble around us where ever we go.

“We are interested in looking at other ways of using existing and emerging mobile technology in a more sociable way, to bring people together with their immediate environment and the people around them.”

Ideas in development include games which combine ‘tilt’ sensors and GPS with augmented reality, enabling players to play games on their phone, either individually or with a group interacting with their real environment and a type of interactive installation known as Mash Reality.

Mash Reality enables people to text fragments of prose to giant screens using their mobile phone. The words are then married up with matching images chosen from photo sharing sites such as Flickr or MOSH.

Lancaster researchers are testing their ideas in the real world at large social gatherings such as Futuresonic, Urban Festival of Art, Music & Ideas, 1-5 May, Manchester, UK and Roskilde Festival, 3-6th July in Denmark.

Nokia Mobile Experiences Group Members are: Lancaster University; Technical University of Denmark (DTU) ; University of Aarhus, Denmark ;New York University, ITP ; Parsons: The New School for Design, New York; Helsinki University of Art & Design; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich; Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

About Nokia Innovation Network at Lancaster University

The UK's Nokia Innovation Network hub is based at Lancaster University which is consistently rated amongst the top ten universities in the country. It is managed by Paul Coulton and Reuben Edwards and housed within InfoLab21, an international centre for excellence in ICT. The group at Lancaster has an international reputation in mobile applications research and have won a number of Awards for innovation.