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A Display Computer (DC) is an everyday object: Display Computer = Display + Computer. The Â“DisplayÂ” part is the standard viewing surface found on everyday objects that conveys information or art. The Â“ComputerÂ” is found on the same everyday object; but by its ubiquitous nature, it will be relatively unnoticeable by the DC user, as it is manufactured Â“in the marginsÂ”. A DC may be mobile, moving with us as part of the everyday object we are using. DCs will be ubiquitous: Â“effectively invisibleÂ”, available at a glance, and seamlessly integrated into the environment. A DC should be an example of WeiserÂ’s calm technology: encalming to the user, providing peripheral awareness without information overload. A DC should provide unremarkable computing in support of our daily routines in life. The nbaCub (nightly bedtime ambient Cues utility buddy) prototype illustrates a sample application of how DCs can be useful in the everyday environment of the home of the future. Embedding a computer into a toy, such that the display is the only visible portion, can present many opportunities for seamless and nontraditional uses of computing technology for our youngest user community. A field study was conducted in the home environment of a five-year old child over ten consecutive weeks as an informal, proof of concept of what Display Computers for children can look like and be used for in the near future. The personalized nbaCub provided lightweight, ambient information during the necessary daily routines of preparing for bed (evening routine) and preparing to go to school (morning routine). To further understand the childÂ’s progress towards learning abstract concepts of time passage and routines, a novel Â“test by designÂ” activity was included. Here, the role of the subject changed to primary designer/director. Final post-testing showed the subject knew both morning and bedtime routines very well and correctly answered seven of eight questions based on abstract images of time passage. Thus, the subject was in the process of learning the more abstract concept of time passage, but was not totally comfortable with the idea at the end of the study.
Test by Design
Children's Computing Applications
Smith, Lisa Min-yi Chen (2006). Display computers. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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