The sCoop: the week of February 20

This week, we were geeking out on all kinds of nerdilicious stuff, from meat sensors to permaculture to cat fights between Microsoft and Google. Here’s a rundown:

The future is here, and it’s wearing augmented reality glasses.
Google will be selling these nifty devices for $250-$600 a pop by year end. Instead of reaching into your pocket for a smartphone, you’ll be able to see the information you want right in front of your awestruck eyeballs. We’re wondering what will come out of the Google X offices next. Apparently this super secret lab is cooking up robots and space elevators. Hey Nathan Shedroff & Chris Noessel: here’s more fodder for your upcoming book about interaction design lessons from scifi.

Googlelighting, a spoofy viral video attack on Google Docs, is the latest in the showdown between Microsoft and Google:

Speaking of Microsoft, we passed around this preview of Office 15. Sure, it’s cleaner, it’s metro, it’s blahblahblah but is that infamous ribbon still plaguing the UI? You bet it is.

We also checked out Kodachrome 2010, a 10-minute documentary about Dwayne’s Photo, the last remaining developer of Kodachrome film and the history of that recent antiquity we call “camera film”.

The Repeat Timer Pro app will remind you to rest your weary, computer-strained eyeballs every 30 minutes or so. Plus, it ties in nicely with the *special public service announcement* at the end of this post.

Thinfilm is releasing “temperature sensor systems to monitor perishable items like food and pharmaceuticals.” This means you’ll be able to find out all kinds of things about the ground beef you just purchased, like precise time, temperature and exposure history. This is both gross and awesome, and begs the question, “Do you really want to know?”

Here’s something you probably do want to know: “Permaculture is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by attempting to model them on natural ecosystems.” Check out Holmgren’s 12 design principles.

New from Cooper

Besides catching up on the drama and inventions in the design world, we’ve been busy with new projects, teaching, and using our design superpowers for good.

Chefs Feed
We’re excited about our new relationship with Chefs Feed. Who wouldn’t love working on a mobile app that provides restaurant recommendations straight from the mouths of the country’s best chefs? We just kicked off the project with an experience workshop so that we all had a shared vocabulary and experience strategy.

We’re using our design superpowers for good by bringing design mentoring and training to health startup incubator, RockHealth. This is part of our new UX Bootcamp initiative, where we partner with organizations to make digital products and services that have impact. This week, Nick led the startups in an exploration of what visual interface design can mean for their brands. Working with passionate folk like the RockHealth startups in one of our favorite problem spaces (healthcare) makes for a very happy Cooper.

Hone Your Design Superpowers in an IXD Class
Here’s a way you can use your design superpowers for good: sign up for our upcoming Interaction Design class. Amongst other things, you’ll do some fun guerrilla research on BART, San Francisco’s public transit system, and redesign the infamously bad ticket kiosk. Think setting the time on your VCR, people. If that doesn’t get you rushing to sign up for our classes, we don’t know what will. Upcoming dates: March 6-9 (sold out), April 10-13, May 1-4.

Constraints in Visual Communication
Speaking of classes, Andreas just gave a talk, “The Power of Constraints in Visual Communication” at the Storytelling & Visual Communication Salon at the Institute of Design at Stanford. Students learning how to visually express themselves are often inundated with tools, techniques, and styles to use and to emulate. Andreas proposed the idea that successful visual communication is less about mastering techniques and craft, and more about committing to a set of aesthetic constraints. This way of thinking leads to expressions that are perceived as more authentic and unique to the designer behind it. Or, in other words:

Where You Can Find Us Next

A Special Public Service Announcement from Kendra and Nick

Please take a moment to get up from your computer and…
Not only will you feel better, but your computer will appreciate the *refreshed* and *focused* attention you give it when you sit back down.

That’s right, we’re just improving the world, one stretch at a time.

Teresa Brazen
Teresa Brazen

Teresa Brazen is the Managing Director of Cooper Professional Education.

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