Mixed Reality Lab Showcase at Most Contagious 2014

Most Contagious is an annual, uniquely curated innovation event in London staged by Contagious. Most Contagious celebrates the biggest innovations and analyses the most impactful marketing from the year to decipher what influence these will have on the immediate future for brands and advertising.

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This year, Most Contagious invited Mixed Reality Lab to showcase our latest devices in the multi sensory communication : RingU, Scentee, and Digital Taste Machine. The event was held on December 10th 2014 at King’s Place, London, right next to the King’s Cross Station. Every year, contagious invites many most impactful innovators from around the world, and we were really excited to be featured in the event and also to be connected with other people from the creative and technology industry. We got a lot of good feedbacks on our research and we were really happy to be inspired by dozens of creative innovators and researchers that we interacted in the event.

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Gadget Man Plans to Feature Kisscea and RingU: Postponed Filming

A popular British TV Show, Gadget Man, hosted by Richard Ayoade which featured Mixed Reality Lab’s Digital Taste Machine, has agreed to work with our lab again and now they want to feature our Kisscea and RingU for their future Valentine’s Day Edition. This filming is really important to our team since it will be our first opportunity for introducing our kisscea, a remote kissing device, to the public so we worked really hard on preparing for the demo. The filming was scheduled on December 12th, 2014 at The Makerversity, located in Somerset House, London. Unfortunately, due to the time limit and some technical difficulties, They needed to postpone the filming for our devices until after the new year. Regardless of the postpone, we had a really great experience on the scheduled filming day. We got to know how a TV show is filmed, and also had a chance to see some interesting innovations happening at the Makerversity, as well as knowing some other cool featured devices for the show, like the chocolate 3d printer https://chocedge.com . We will keep you updated with our next filming with Gadget Man. In the mean time, please take a look at our demo videos for Kisscea, which we have prepared for the Gadget Man.

Human-centered Design in the Large: Smart Cities and Smart Airports

Centre for HCI Design of City University London will host a talk by Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz, the Scientific Director of Smart Future Initiative. He will give a talk about Human-centered Design in the Large: Smart Cities and Smart Airports. The details about the schedule and the venue are as follows:

Date: Thursday, 20/11/2014
Time: 16:00-18:00
Room C304, Tait Building, City University London
Northampton Square EC1V 0HB
London, United Kingdom

Below is the abstract of Dr. Dr. Norbet Streitz’s talk:

Entering the ‘Urban Age’ with more than half of the world population living in cities, economic prosperity and quality of life will largely depend on the ability of cities to exploit their full potential. With the deployment of ambient intelligence infrastructures, urban environments are transformed into interactive smart spaces. Combining information and experience spaces with ubiquitous computing in urban contexts results in what is being called ‘smart hybrid cities’.

Cities provide environments for different activities (e.g., living, working, shopping, entertainment, transportation, sojourning, communicating). At the same time, contemporary life styles become less focused and increasingly multidimensional. People’s lives are taking place betwixt and between multiple offers and options. People’s roles change within short time frames due to parallel activities in co-located situations. Airports are good examples of this blending of activities by providing a range of functions people are usually looking for in cities, but now for a limited time frame at this specific location. Airports serve as ‘transient spaces’ providing support for ‘polyphasic activities’. Translating this in an overall design rationale, one can state: “designing airports is designing transient smart cities”.

Against this background, the talk addresses issues and challenges for designing smart cities and their implications for transient spaces taking airports as one example. Contrasting the often technology­-driven approaches, this talk will present a human-environment-interaction perspective for the challenge of urban life management. This includes the shift from information design to experience design which means for airports to address the passenger experience. Furthermore, we are arguing for a people-oriented, empowering smartness where smart spaces make people smarter by keeping the human in the loop. It requires also discussing the implications of sensor-based smart environments, especially in public spaces, for privacy. It might become a commodity people have to pay for and thus a privilege. The talk will build on a perspective or vision for reconciling humans and technology by arguing for a human-centered design approach resulting in Humane Smart Hybrid Cities where people can exploit their creative potential and lead a self-determined life.

About the Speaker


Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz (Ph.D. in physics, Ph.D. in psychology) is a Senior Scientist and Strategic Advisor with more than 30 years of experience in information and communication technology. He is the founder and scientific director of the Smart Future Initiative (SFI) launched in 2009. Before, Norbert held positions as deputy director and division manager at the Fraunhofer research institute IPSI in Darmstadt. His research is in the areas of human-computer-interaction, hypertext/hypermedia, CSCW, ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, disappearing computer, smart environments and smart cities. It was carried out in projects funded by the European Commission, partners in industry and different foundations. Norbert also taught at the Department of Computer Science of the Technical University Darmstadt for more than 15 years. Before joining IPSI in Darmstadt, he was an Assistant Professor at the Technical University RWTH Aachen with research and teaching in cognitive science and ergonomics. This was preceded by his work in theoretical physics at the University of Kiel. Furthermore, he was a post-doc research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, a visiting scholar at Xerox PARC and at the Intelligent Systems Lab of MITI, Tsukuba Science City, Japan. Norbert published/edited 20 books and authored/ coauthored more than 130 scientific papers. He serves on editorial and advisory boards, steering and conference committees, and as a consultant. He is regularly asked to present keynote speeches and tutorials at scientific as well as commercial events in Europe, US, Brazil, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, China, and Japan. You can find more about him from the following link: Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz Biography


At our lab we mostly focus on researching novel technologies that change the way we interact digitally. While some of our technologies, such as the Electric Taste Machine have had more academic resonance, we aim to develop technologies that have real world impact and which has resulted in several startup companies such as the recent RingU.

We are now proud to announce that Mixed Reality Lab member Marius Braun has also taken on an entrepreneurial role with his startup nudge.

nudge front viewnudge is a wristband that helps you keep track of the important things in life, and nothing else. It connects with your phone and acts as a filter for the notifications you receive. Whether this is you when you receive a vital email or text messages. It can even let you know if a particular website has updated, or there is an important calendar event you’re about to miss. And most importantly, it does nothing else. You get no further distractions from your phone, giving you more quality time with friends and family, more time to be creative and more time to enjoy your life.nudge side viewMarius co-founded the company nudge in April, which since has come a long way in development, pivoting several times along the way. In the picture below, the team has just won City University’s CitySpark competition, earning a £3000 prize (Marius on right), which has greatly aided the prototyping process. Marius & co will be launching the product in mid November on the crowd funding platform Kickstarter.

CitySpark WinnersIf you would like to follow an exiting startup story and find out how they are getting on you can sign up here.

The big shopping pop-up

On July 7th we were invited by Elias Constantopedos, the Chief Music Technologist of CORD, a brand consulting firm based in London, to attend a retail workshop entitled “The Big Shopping Pop-up.” We showed Scentee to conference attendees comprised of marketing directors, product managers, and new media technologists representing many international brands. The conference was situated on the HMS President ship docked at Victoria Embankment in Central London. Incidentally, it was located right by the Tour de France passing point which we got a cool glimpse of.


The day was full of informative talks and “labs” which were panel discussions given by guest speakers from affluent companies like Unilever and Microsoft. They spoke of their imagined future of the retail experience and how technology will impact the retail space and influence customer choices in stores. They also gave criticism of some technologies like augmented reality, and praise of others, such as radio-frequency identification. Some companies like CORD even gave demos of their own technology to much fanfare.

After the discussions there were drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and we showed Scentee to some brand managers, many of who were intrigued and fascinated with it, describing it as kind of cool gadget. Ultimately for Scentee, we can see it used in a retail environment as a kind of sensory branding, however, it will be necessary to build some use case scenarios in order for people to “get” its potential for brand building.  We spoke with other CORD employees and they shared their feedback on how it would be used in this manner. We thank CORD for the invitation and for the wonderful experience aboard the HMS President!