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Travel eyes

Whose idea was this? Angela McDowell
Who else might want to work on it? Gabby Resch, Stian


Augmented reality already exists on phones; you can download an app like LAYAR walk down the street holding out your phone and find out where all the nearest Starbucks are. If you are into art you can down load an augmented reality app that allows you to walk down the street and find information about a particular artist just by looking through your phone, the capabilities of this technology are endless.
A few years ago I travelled to Italy and did a lot of sightseeing, since it was cheaper to purchase a head set while touring through places like the Coliseum rather than paying for a tour guide I walked around with a map and a head set all over the ruins of ancient Rome trying to figure out and make sure I was in to correct location before I pressed play. This got me thinking, what if augmented reality glasses existed. I chose glasses because when you are touring you don't necessarily want to be staring though your phone to get information.
How would it work: The glasses would have two cameras that were in sync with each other on each of the lenses. You could buy these glasses to rent from travel agencies or chose to buy your own. If you chose to go on vacation to Spain, you would download onto your glasses the layered information system for the specific place in Spain you were going to. This program would be a shared knowledge base because you will only be able to download what the public has added.
The glasses would be voice activated, that way you would not have to touch anything on your classes and smudge the lenses. If you were walking down the street and you were sightseeing and wanted to go for dinner. You would speak to your glasses through your blue tooth and say "diner" the images you would see in the lens would show you where the nearest location would be. You could narrow your search by stating the specific food you wanted to eat. If that restaurant uploaded information onto the layer when you got close to the restaurant you would be able to access information such as the menu to decide if that were where you wanted to go and eat. I hope this does not exist becuase I spent forever thinking about it!

Angela, here's a good starting point:
As far as tourist-oriented layers go, some good ones are already available, so it would be cool to build a set of glasses that can piggyback on the existing software infrastructure.


Whose idea was this? Leslie
Who else might want to work on it? Jaclyn, Gabby


This might seem like a strange idea, but I am aware of all the media hype regarding diets, eating well, etc. and I thought of utilizing a tool we probably use everyday, the cutting board. How about a board that is a multi-functioning tool. It will recognize the food you put on it, but if not, there is a touchpad that allows you to input the name of the food. It will be able to weigh the food and let you know the nutritional and calorie value of the food (it would take into account everything - vegetables, meat, grated cheese, etc.). You could even programme it to keep count of your calorie intake if you need to make note of this (i.e. you are on a 2000 calorie intake per day). It would even be able to upload weight-loss programmes, such as the point system from Weight Watchers. It is a tool that is in the kitchen and used frequently, so make it more versatile to help us become healthier.
Is this too crazy an idea?

Neat idea, Leslie. Have you seen this augmented reality kitchen?


Whose idea was this? Rebecca
Who else might want to work on it?


Using a touch screen interface, subway riders select a song to play on the platform while waiting for their train on the north/south platform at Bloor Station. The song plays loudly enough for everyone on both platforms to hear. Once either train arrives, the song stops. The interface allows a song to be played only once a day.

The touch screen interface is mounted on the wall, and is the same size as the posters at the station. The system is sponsored by Starbucks and the selection of songs is the same as those on the CDs available for sale at Starbucks. Using the same technology that is now available to pay for lattes, etc. using the Starbucks App on your cell phone, riders pay $2.00 per song, with proceeds going to support the Red Campaign (see link below). Once a rider pays his/her $2.00, he/she chooses a song, and other riders are temporarily locked out of the system.

The rationale for choosing Bloor station is that Bloor is sort of the hub of the TTC subway system and has a bit more of a festive atmosphere than other stations. Cellphones also work at this location. Also, if the jukebox were available at every station, it would become too annoying for riders. The jukebox would only be available on the weekend and in the evenings.

I did wonder though... what about the buskers who play at Bloor? This technology would not be beneficial to them!

Dan: hmmm, interesting. The loud noise might be an issue for people trying to converse (e.g. "which platform should I use, I'm lost!") or be so loud to cause accessibility concerns. Perhaps each platform could have its own (quieter) jukebox so the entire area is not flooded with sound?

Whose idea was this? Jane Yoon
Who else might want to work on it?


How much time is needed when you're shopping for someone? In today's interconnected world, everything seems to be available at our fingertips. Almost all major retailers now have an online shopping feature with free shipping and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Although time is saved when purchasing a good or service online, most of our time is used brainstorming ideas. Give-a-Gift is a service that provides many gift options, where shoppers could choose from a variety of countless ideas, customize the wrapping style and color, attach a personalized card, and deliver the gift via major freight carriers. Give-a-Gift's value added service is that it will feature the hottest gift items of the season, track the gifts given to others over time, and provide reviews from 'Consumer Critics'. Since the desires of the shopper are constantly changing, daily shopping statistics will be provided to view the most popular items. This will help to either confirm or receive feedback on whether a gift is in 'Daily Demand' or 'Uncommonly Unique'. Sending a gift from a retailer seems impersonal, especially when the wrapping paper has the company's logo stamped on it. Give-a-Gift's commitment is to their shoppers and recipients; it detaches impersonal corporate branding from the essence of the gift. For the uber-forward tech-saavy, and time-sensitive individuals, a free downloadable app will accommodate those wanting to shop directly from their iPhone or Blackberry. It is often said that, "time is money". In our fast-paced world, efficiency and effectiveness is highly valued. The benefit of saving time is that it can in turn be utilized to capture greater moments. So why not Give-a-Gift?


Whose idea was this? Jaclyn
Who else might want to work on it?


Throughout my education, i have taken core French is the hopes of becoming fluent one day. After high school, I continued to pursue my French education into University. Would I say I am a competent reader/writer? Yes Would I say I am fluent? No. I have noticed that I lack the ability to just speak French fluently without thinking about the grammar behind my sentences. I know that immersion programs are ten times better than core programs for improving conversational skills, but I didn't want to take immersion French in school because that meant studying all subjects in French, not to mention going to a farther school!

So, I tried to meet up with my peers in French class and friends that I knew who also spoke the language but we would always resort to speaking English.

My idea is to create a real-time computer Frenchie, who is always available to have a conversation in FRENCH with you. So no more need to meet a la cafe, to attempt a conversation tout en francais. The software would depend on voice recognition and would commence after your first greeting. The program would have conversation prompts and a complete French dictionary pre-programmed. It would also have common errors, both grammatical and phonetic pre-programmed so that your Frenchie can correct you in real time. There would also be basic, intermediate and advanced options that would coincide with the amount of English translation that would be available to support you. On that note, as a support system, you can choose whether or not to have English subtitles on screen as Frenchie speaks. Furthermore, at the more advanced level, you can choose to hear different dialects of French because as we all know, if you travel to France the language will sound different in Quebec.

This program would allow users to log in at any time and anywhere and you can even share a cup of coffee with your Frenchie, although he might get jealous that he cannot drink too!

Brain-Based Study Helper

Whose idea was this? Jaclyn
Who else might want to work on it?


I was introduced to a program call Neuro-programmer a few years ago by a close friend who used the program for many years. Here is a link to the official site :

What I would like to create is an extension of the current neuro-programmer. Currently, Neuro-programmer using light and sound to stimulate different patterns of activity in your brain to alter brainwaves to specific tasks you are doing. For example, you can choose to listen to a program that will heighten your brainwaves for optimal study or which can reduce your brainwave frequency to that of sleep to help induce the sleeping state. Additionally, you can also design programs that will help you instill positive thoughts and affirmations deep into your mind so that they become a regular part of your thinking.

My variation of this would be to have electromagnetic sensors that are wireless and very tiny that you can stick onto your scalp and near your heart or other pulse sights. The sensors would be in place to monitor your autonomic nervous system for things like heart rate, respiration rate, perspiration, etc. The sensors would then be able to send frequencies to the brain that would induce brainwave changes. The sensors would be able to detect stress level changes and thus be able to send appropriate signals to heighten brain wave activity. This could help with different learning tasks such as casual reading, studying, and exam taking. During each one of these activities our brain functions at different intensities. During an exam, the Autonomic nervous system would step into high gear, but a negative effect of this is to increase cortisol levels. Because this would inhibit rather than promote learning, the sensors could send signals to the brain to optimize it's brain waves to a comfortable learning and recall state.

I do not think that this would be invasive since it uses frequencies much like the original program and this could really help people who find it difficult to learn and especially helpful to procrastinators.

Smartboard meet VR and Second Life

Whose idea was this? Leslie
Who else might want to work on it?


This idea is somewhat difficult to articulate, but I will give it a go! At the moment it would appear that a lot of schools are starting to incorporate smartboard into the classroom. Although, SmartTechnology does do workshops with teachers, they can only give the basics because they are not, for the most part, teachers themselves. However, teachers are working with this technology and I think it would be great to have a forum where they can show each other what lessons, activities, etc. they are doing in the classroom, but in a much more interactive way.

What I am proposing is the ability to create a virtual environment, similar to Second Life that people can join no matter where they are in the world. However, the environment needs to be interactive and teachers need to be able to come up to the smartboard in the virtual world. For example, I could invite people to see a lesson and invite people to 'come in', yet if a teacher wants to try the activity for themselves, they can. They can come up to the 'board' and write on, move things around etc. Others could also take the opportunity to download their own ideas and we can observe and work on it too. It would be like being in a world with several smartboards and we are able to go from one to the other, and work on them.

Yet, it doesn't just have to be teachers that participate in this virtual world, students could join to. Perhaps work with other students on a particular project, collecting data, sharing data, ideas, etc.

I hope this makes sense. I can see it in my head, but having difficulty articulating it, maybe someone can help out?

Just as a final note. I am looking at this with respect to smartboard, but businesses could use this idea as well with presentation tools, e.g. powerpoint, prezzi, etc.

Peer-teaching through social network technologies

Whose idea was this? KYUNGMEE LEE
Who else might want to work on it? Minoo, Stian, Jane


I believe that teaching somebody is the one of the best ways to learn!!
Furthermore it could be more FUN activities for many students in our classrooms than PASSIVE learning activities. That's why there has been a variety of research on peer-teaching or peer-evaluation methodologies; even in educational technologies field, we are implementing peer-teaching models such as Jigsaw model for our computer-meditated teaching practices. But most of them are still only focused on face-to-face peer-teaching models, which could be used as teaching-assistant tools in physical classrooms. Therefore, even though it has a great of potential to engage students in not only learning a particular content in school curriculum, but also attaining different meta-cognitive skills, we are using peer-teaching methodologies in only the limited ways.

ide wall
third life educationThrough the pre-study on social network technologies and their classrooms applications, I found out that there is very promising possible connection between these technologies and peer-teaching methodologies. Already the students in our classrooms are actively engaged in communicating with others and expressing themselves to their peers through social network technologies; so we can suggest CPT (Cyber Peer-Teaching) model to help them more productively interact with each other by teaching and learning together.

First of all, we should review peer-teaching literatures and relevant social networking or interacting studies to develop conceptual model; and conduct semi-pilot tests to assess on the model and revise it. Additionally, we could suggest how to use this model as after school activities, which is successive to classroom teaching practices to facilitate teachers' implementation.

Enfant Om Nom Nom Nom

Whose idea was this? Gabby Resch
Who else might want to work on it?


This concept builds on an earlier one proposed by Eva Hourihan, from last year's class, that sought to create an augmented birthing environment, more attentive to a pregnant woman's needs, featuring more familiar and relaxing layers to the environment. Knowing that the new obstetrical ward at Sunnybrook (which recently subsumed the obstetrical ward from Women's College) anticipates some of these possible changes, although probably doesn't incorporate near enough available technology, I've been wrestling with the idea of hospitals as spaces of order and control (which is certainly not new...Foucault beat it to death). Can sterile birth environments be brought in line with a more holistic delivery approach? I'm not sure.

Regardless, I have also been thinking about the experiences of new mothers post-birth, particularly the experiences of mothers who choose to breastfeed. Although it is technically legal for them to breastfeed wherever they choose in Ontario, many choose not to feed in public view. What environments are accessible? What spaces are private? On a university campus, for example, where might a breastfeeding mother find solace and be able to feed her child? I know that the Family Resource Centre at U of T provides a list of breastfeeding-positive environments, but it is not mapped (at least as far as I can tell).

I propose the development of an augmented reality layer, to be viewed through an AR browser like Layar, that would provide information about nearby feeding spaces (including whether they are private rooms, what their hours of accessibility are, etc.). This could be similar to the existing Toronto Hospitals layer and, conveniently, could crossover as a traditional layered information system due to the fact that AR layers use geodata that can easily be plotted on a conventional map (thanks to the Google Maps API).   

Molecular Gastronomica

Whose idea was this? Gabby Resch
Who else might want to work on it? Rebecca, Jaclyn, Minoo, Jane


My brother is a French chef. Like all good chefs, he stays ahead of the curve as far as cooking techniques and technology are concerned. Although he was not specifically trained as a molecular gastronomer , the tacit knowledge he has built up with regard to the physics and chemistry of cooking is pretty astounding. He began his career as a pastry chef and, from what I gather, it was through baking bread in different cities, at different atmospheric pressures, and using differing oven types, that he began to understand the science of cooking. I wondered why my bread wouldn't rise when I'd add a cup of olives, and he'd launch into a one-hour lecture about allowing the molecules to "breathe," kneading for a precise amount of time and in an exact manner, etc. And he was always right. Here's a little context:

What I propose here, is a traditional home economics kitchen crossed with a chemistry lab that would serve the dual-purpose of enabling experimentation with food while develop a knowledge base around the chemistry of cooking. This environment would be not unlike some conceptual "internet of things" spaces, and would feature built-in atmospheric pressure sensors, temperature sensors, air quality (CO2) sensors, etc. The ambient intelligence gathering would be processed and displayed to students, allowing them to develop an understanding of the intangibles that only long-time cooks seem to know. There would, as well, be multitouch surfaces for them to interact with, similar to the ones in the link below Leslie'sCalorie Counting Cutting Board proposal (which, of course, could be a part of this environment, and certainly contributed to this idea).  

Knowledgeable surfaces

Whose idea was this? Cal
Who else might want to work on it? Rebecca, Leslie


Smartboards and tablet computers provide a more natural interface for teachers and students to engage in problem solving; they decrease the physical limitations of the keyboard that regular computers have. However, they are only a graphics device - they have no "knowledge".
The surface (either class-wide in the case of the IWB or individual in the case of the tablet) should be aware of the nature of the content on it. In the case of mathematics, it should be aware of the algebra, geometry or graph and be able to offer additional information or options available. This awareness should extend to the interface in that objects naturally linked should move together and interact (two graphs, when placed together, should merge and axis change accordingly... two geometric objects combine and scale appropriately). It should be linked to learning and assessment resources, a computer algebra system (to facilitate computation) and reference material to provide context.


Whose idea was this? Minoo
Who else might want to work on it?


We have been experiencing an unprecedented grows in science and technology in the last few decades. In particular, there are many emerging subdisciplines in many areas of social and physical sciences, engineering, health care, and businesses. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for new ways of facilitating and organizing scientific and technical communications and dialogs across a broad spectrum of emerging communities. I think there is a great opportunity for design and development of a Unified Online Conference Organizer (UOCO). This can be accomplished by design and implementation of specialized online social networks for identifying, gathering, and indexing the relevant information into a large database. The information includes a list of participates academic institutions, e-learning applications, virtual conference facilities (e.g. second life), conference halls, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, local businesses, etc. Based on the particular need of a client and availability of online and local services, UOCO can offer various options and prices based on the necessity to utilize virtual and/or physical environments for holding seminars, conferences and workshops. A large of amount of participants and clients will inevitably leads to major discounts and subsidizing services. Moreover, there is a significant reduction in time and energy to organize the logistics of such events via a reliable UOCO instead of typical ad hoc organizing operations based on limited resources and finite local networks that is currently being implemented by small peoples or groups at academic institutions or local business. Moreover UOCO provides an opportunity for collaboration among educators in different disciplines all around the world by providing a systematic way of exchanging information. Therefore, it is beyond distributing good ideas (such as TED). The print version of new research is usually available with a certain delay after it gets a chance to present at a conference. A unified conference organization allows access to new finding. Assess to the conference abstracts and presentations should be offered free under a Creative Commons license and a user judgment (such as could provides and opportunity for viewers to evaluate the materials.


Whose idea was this? Rebecca
Who else might want to work on it?


From Muddy York's website:
Muddy York Walking Tours is a company dedicated to bringing Toronto's past back to life in fun and exciting ways. Too often, history - especially Canadian history - is presented as being a dry and boring subject. Not for us! We believe that exploring our city's past is a fun and exciting way to spend a few hours, whether you are a visitor to our city, or a life long resident. We offer several tours which try to present the past as an authentic playground for those who want to know how the modern city of Toronto came to be.

Richard, the founder of Muddy York, has agreed to work with students who may be interested in developing a prototype for a mobile application to augment his tours.

First project idea: to develop an app that would augment the Victorian Toronto tour. Users could use the app to coincide with the walking tour. As they tour the sites, the app would show them photographs or some other form of augmented reality to depict what the Victorian buildings would have looked like.

Second project idea: to develop an app that would allow users to tour sites of Toronto's underground rivers on their own. Using augmented reality, the app would show where Toronto's underground river system is.



Who's idea was this? Dan
Who else might want to work on it? Cal, Angela, Minoo, Cal

The idea is to automatize the banal process involved in purchasing gifts. The main interface will be a website and phone app where you can create a profile mainly keeping track of the people for whom you must buy gifts, the relationship you have with these people, and the days that the gifts should be shipped. Then, you forget about them! The website staff automatically purchase gifts according to your guidelines, email you to let you know that the gift has been dispatched, and give you a brief summary of what was purchased.

What is happening is that you're creating a network linked by the fact that you have to buy them all gifts.

Smart kettle - picks water temperature based on scent analysis of tea leaves! heehee


Who's idea was this? Lixia Lin
Who else might want to work on it?

I like different kinds of tea, but for tea lovers it's always hard to make different kinds of tea because they are brewed at differing temperatures. So if we can design a smart kettle with an easily readable digital thermometer and a small reservoir in the top of the kettle to hold a sample of the tea to be brewed,and pores in the reservoir allow the scent of the leaves to be analysed. The water thus can be heated to the optimal temperature for that type of tea (Oolong and black tea require 100C, green tea requires 85C, and flower tea 75C in general). This could be especially useful for loose-leaf tea that the owner cannot accurately identify outside of its original packaging. David's Tea as an example has many teas that are blends that fall in between these temperatures for optimal brewing, and label each package accordingly. Not all companies follow this practice and sometimes tea ends up being stored in impromptu containers that no longer label the tea accurately. Occasionally tea is labelled in a language ( Chinese or Japanese.....)not understood by the owner.

Persistent use of the kettle will teach people how to handle the brewing of different varieties of tea. In this way the device is using augmented reality to enable activities not normally accessible to its users, while simultaneously assisting in gradually educating the users how to brew tea properly without needing it.

A road map of knowledge


Who's idea was this? Jaclyn
Who else might want to work on it? Leslie, Dan, Gabby, Angela

I was inspired by a student's design post from 2007. His design idea was: "Turning a freeway into a museum of community history" in which you could drive along popular scenic routes and highways and learn about them in your car through a layered information system. I really like the basis of this idea and would like to tweak it slightly and combine a few new ideas.

People spend a lot of time in their cars and family road trips can often be long, laborious feats of parents trying to remain calm while encouraging their children to do something to take their mind off a long drive. To encourage family literacy and family fun time, why not make a car ride a place for learning, sharing time together and having fun? An information layered system can be created that would have little screen that can tuck nicely into car windows. The screens could pick up on and hold an image for up to 15 seconds in memory until it, or another image, is chosen by touch indication. Once an image is chosen, the system would share facts about it through the car speakers. This way, everyone in the car can listen and engage with history on their trip. No more boring road trips for the kids! The other great thing about this is that it doesn't focus attention on a video screen like those new car movie players do. The system allows users to visually admire the landscape around them while taking in auditory information about what they are viewing.

Here's a link to the seed for this idea (from 2007).

A better publication system


Whose idea was this: Stian
Who else might want to work on it? Rebecca, Kyungmee Lee, Minoo, Jane

Currently, to find academic information, we have to go to multiple publishers' webpages, and then we end up with our Download directory full of "3049304934.pdf" and similarly named files. We take notes, that get lost in transit, and we don't share them with others. It's very hard to come into a new field of knowledge and figure out which are the important papers, how are papers connected etc.

How would an ideal new system for academic publications look like. How could we use PDF metadata, semantic data, XML, microformats, social networking tools and other technologies to make it much easier for researchers to find and analyze data.

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