[edit] Calm Technology: Designing for the Next Generation of Devices

O’Reilly Books, Oct 2015

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“Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, all of the time but just some of it and only when absolutely necessary.” – Mark Weiser, John Seely Brown, The Coming Age of Calm Technology

In the beginning of the 20th century, computers were scarce resources. Now we’re entering into an era where there are many computers per person. The technological default is information overload. Beeping, alerts, notifications and status keep people Furthermore, The difference between an annoying technology and one that is helpful, even relaxing, is how it engages our attention.

Calm Technology is a framework for designing ubiquitous devices that engage our attention in an appropriate manner. The aim of Calm Technology is to provide principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of take it away.


Case’s perspective on the Internet of Things totally re-wires our view of technology. Researchers at XEROX Parc were tackling the problems facing the Internet of Things back in the 70s, but now, too many people in tech are making the same mistakes, with executives intent on adding new features to their devices, because that’s the model they’re used to.

In the next 5-10 years, we’re going to have a whole class of connected devices, but we’re still focused on building technology that’s complex and code heavy. We’re already encountering this problem now, with heavy applications struggling to work on connected smartphones with minimal battery life and consumer attention. So we’re going to see a return to lower level device languages — LEGO-type projects that reward interoperability, instead of the walled gardens we have now. Expect a massive sea change, because successful technology for the IoT era will become really simple, with minimal interfaces. The future of the Internet of Things will be driven by “Calm Technology” – elegant, humane, unobtrusive.

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