Future University – Edge Zones
February 5, 2013 – 6:47 pm | Comments Off on Future University – Edge Zones

I’ve been thinking a bit about the future of the university, and it seems to me that a new model may be emerging, one that has something of the traditional sanctuary of a place of learning, but that innovatively engages communities, both local and international. There will, of course, have to be those preserves where students and teachers can contemplate their experience and learn together, but there must also be what, for the moment, one might think of as an edge zone where interactions of many kinds might take place.

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Home » Headline, Hybrid-Space

Sprint Digital Lounge

Submitted by on September 13, 2010 – 3:13 pmNo Comment

Hybrid space is all around us and embedded in our everyday experiences. It is shaped by your interactions with technology in subtle but powerful ways. You are engaged in hybrid space while watching the morning news, listening to a pod cast on your audio player, or reading a news feed or blog post on your laptop or handheld. These media interactions expand your immediate space and engage you in a wider network of shared perceptions and experiences.

A better understanding of hybrid space affords a number of benefits. For everyday consumers of information, hybrid space provides ever increasing options for access to information, news, events, and activities at home and at work. If you live in urban areas, cellular and wireless networks are nearly seamless and provide mobile connections, anytime and most anyplace. Choice has replaced other considerations. At issue now is what information do you need and where do you want to be when you need it. Increasingly individuals turn to colleagues and peer groups, defining their choices against and within social networks.

We haven’t said much about design, but space has always been the domain of designers. These people give shape and character to space with the intention of making it better serve its occupants and uses. With hybrid space the definition and importance of design is doubled, with greater need for better design accompanied by the heightened ability of its occupants to modify it. This of course suggests a shift from passive consumption of information to a more active role of selection and choice. This shift has significant repercussions for the design of places where people choose to live, work and play.

In a recent Tactable project for Sprint’s flagship store in Kansas City, a multi-disciplinary team carefully shaped an interactive space and set of experiences for customers to engage with a range of media offered by Sprint. The Sprint Digital Lounge space is defined by two tables with media content that activates in response to the presence of passersby and is easily and intuitively opened and shared with others. The design of this multi-touch table was the result of focused attention on user experience. Careful attention to seamlessly merging the physical and virtual spaces resulted in the sense that one is in direct interaction with the media content and by extension with Sprint itself.

In the past, designers have successfully used templates for space making decisions. These types or precedents provide forms that approximate probable uses. Today these models are insufficient, more immediate and specific formulations are needed to shape spaces in anticipation of likely experiences. Virtual modeling and representations of space provides improved simulations and allow for flexible design modifications.  The use of prototypes with user testing and response are increasingly necessary and effective in combination with virtual modeling.  These tools and methods will continue to evolve to keep pace with emerging technologies and the emerging demands of hybrid space.

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