← Home

Hypermedia Environments

Table of Contents


Most of us are comfortable with and accustomed to navigating hypertext and hypermedia interfaces through our computers. Alan Kay’s 1972 Dynabook concept has materialized as our smartphones. This has resulted in not just an extension or translation of old media but an entirely new information paradigm – where one can simultaneously read a journalistic account of an ongoing protest, watch a livestream of the event, and view a map detailing the global response updated in real-time.

As technology has evolved the borders between digital information and the wider world has shrank. Nearly all of our digital media, however, has remained two dimensional, screen based, which imposes a limit on technology’s fluidity and flexibility throughout our lives. What happens when the borders disappear altogether?

a compilation of images detailing how phones have changed over time

But how could anyone think it could be over? The internet is now more potent than ever. It has not only sparked but fully captured the imagination, attention and productivity of more people than at any other point before. Never before have more people been dependent on, embedded into, surveilled by, and exploited by the web. It seems overwhelming, bedazzling and without immediate alternative. The internet is probably not dead. It has rather gone all-out. Or more precisely: it is all over!

Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?, Hito Steyerl 2013

Moving forward

What does a three dimensional hypermedia interface look like? One can imagine room-wide wireless power supplied to voice assistants and IoT devices alongside holograms controlled by a 3D touchless capacitive sensing interface all adapting to the changing needs of the surrounding environment.

This can be thought of as an extension of “roomware” as described by Streitz et al in the 1999 paper i-LAND: An interactive Landscape for Creativity and Innovation

Our approach to meet the requirements of flexible configuration and dynamic allocation of resources in integrated physical and information environments is based on the concept we call roomware. By roomware, we mean computer-augmented objects resulting from the integration of room elements, e.g., walls, doors, furniture (tables, chairs, etc.) with computer-based information devices. The general goal of developing roomware is to make progress towards the design of integrated real architectural spaces and virtual information spaces from the perspective of augmenting reality.

I-LAND, Streitz et al 1999

to be continued...


Further Reading