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No. 3 | April 2021 
Hello, RE:Labers!
Welcome to Cruscotti, our monthly newsletter. Please, fasten your seatbelt and let our journey begin.

In this second issue:
  What's new?: Techy, UX & Ergo, DesignFun(d) Raisers


The NeUX: news from UX world 


Interactive technologies for a city museum

 
Many Italian regions have opened their museums again in the last few days. This makes us reflect on the importance of cultural centers in every country and brings to mind an important project in which technology and culture met: the re-design of a city museum in Rovereto, located in northern Italy. The multidisciplinary team of RE:Lab has been inserted in the technical/curatorial system of the Museo Civico of Rovereto, developing technologies then installed as interactive stations inside the City Museum. Through the technologies used in the various stations, the visitor is able to live an experience in which knowledge and multisensory information merge, between real and virtual. The artistic heritage of the city dialogues with the present through digital technologies, revealing new meanings and possibilities of sharing and interpretation for the user. Inside the video, we briefly show the results of an interesting project that brings the historical and cultural background of a territory closer to older and newer generations in an interactive way.

 

 
The project has developed 10 different interactive technologies. Among them, InterFACES is a digital mirror that integrates artificial intelligence algorithms for face recognition and adaptation to an artwork. While the Soundwall is an interactive wall that collects different objects on display with their own visual and sound identity to be discovered. The system works by using the gesture of the curious visitor, which is recognized as the control of the interaction. By pointing the finger and indicating an object, it is illuminated and at the same time, the associated sounds are activated. The sound is one of the elements most explored in the curatorial project. In fact, we find ourselves next to a window on the courtyard that works as a digital interface that allows you to activate, by touching them, sounds related to the most significant historical events of the city of Rovereto, such as the landslide, the earthquake, the river in flood, the bell of the Fallen, the siren of war and childhood memories told in dialect. Historical memories that live again through technology. 


Link(
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Journal - If you have ever thought that "less is more", check out this article from Nature that suggests that humans struggle with subtractive thinking.

   


The RE:Lab’s guide to the Galaxy


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While in RE:Lab


The latest cutting edge news our RE:Labers talk about at the coffee machine (which is virtual in this COVID-era)

 

Techy

  • Blockchain: not only Bitcoin, but also much more.

UX & Ergo

  • The Oscars 2021 has just taken place. But have you ever wondered what ergonomics has to do with the Oscars? An article of some years ago.

Design

Fun(d) Raisers 

  • On 27 April, the European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution approving the text of the new Horizon Europe programme, which defines, among other things, its structure and objectives, its budget and internal organisation, and the forms and rules for granting funding. This month's news includes the publication of the first calls of the new Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme; the first calls of the second pillar, in the field of health; and the first calls of the EIC programme.


Great Need of RE:Lab


The Microwave

Have you ever come across a microwave equipped with a particularly complex control panel? 

We have. Using a microwave with a control panel that has 5 rows of double-sided buttons, for a total of 10 independent controls (no less!), is not easy. Quite often, each of them has a specific symbol, in many cases double, but only a few of them clearly suggest what it is.
For example, this  is for fast defrosting (but must be pressed several times to select the correct type of food, according to a table found in the printed manual, then the weight must be selected with -/+), and this  is about, quite clearly, the top grill. However, this  is really hard to figure out without flipping through the user manual, and the red triangle might actually suggest a dangerous/emergency situation. Actually, the button is for stopping cooking, which basically can be done by opening the door as in any microwave or activating some energy-saving mode.

The activation of some functions is confirmed by a light that lights up on the display but still, no details are given about the function itself. Once again, the user must rely on the 28-page manual to understand the procedures. Not exactly an intuitive self-learning interaction.
So the user in these cases is faced with a choice during the lunch break: eat a cold dish or study the manual.
There’s a Great Need of a hot meal, and of Re:Lab!

Serial Stories

History of RE:Lab 

Thus begins the serial story of RE:Lab that will stay with us for a long time... A very long time... We want our RE:Labers to know in detail all the events that have taken place over the years. 
Only by sharing memories can we build identity and a sense of togetherness.

Chapter 3
In its very beginning, RE:Lab experienced a period of close partnership with the research group in Human machine interface of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Thanks to this, the company was able to get in touch with the context of European projects that the research had been able to set up.
These projects were around the theme of interaction in the automotive world. Which is one of the main points of the research work and business activities of RE:Lab.

Early projects
Among others we can mention Asset-Road. A project dedicated to the development of truck interfaces capable of handling cross-border driving information. What happens when you move from one European country to another, and regulations change - for example safety or speed regulations? Providing a tool for the on-board system to adapt and communicate with the driver - for example to warn him to vary his speed - could be very helpful. Another (pioneering) project was Safeway2school. It investigated the relationship between children and new interaction technologies in school public transport. The project designed advanced systems for the safety of children. Specifically, devices in school backpacks to track entrances and exits, and warning systems at bus stops for children, to prompt cars to slow down. Other projects open up RE:Lab's activity in the motorcycle field. SAFERIDER and 2-BE-SAFE addressed the issue of interaction between the user and the motorcycle. The project introduced technologies in the context of the motorcycle sector that were quite well established in the automotive one. In particular, SAFERIDER realized important interfaces and also significant preventive safety devices. At the same time, RE:Lab began to take its first steps working with customers in the automotive sector and in the agricultural one. For both of them, RE:Lab has designed interfaces, has organized usability and ergonomics tests. Even today, the company helps blend its expertise in integrating aspects of electronic design with those of ergonomics and interactive design.
 


The RE:Lab Bookshelf 


Books
There has been a lot of discussion about how robots will replace us and take our jobs, but MIT Media Lab researcher and technology policy expert Kate Darling argues just the opposite: we just fall into that technological determinism while treating robots with some humanity, more like the way we treat animals, will actually serve us better. Robots will likely complement, rather than replace, our skills and relationships, just like the animals we have integrated into our jobs, transportation, military, and even families.
This book explains how treating machines can reveal a new understanding of our history, our systems, and how we relate, not only to non-humans, but also to each other.

Good reading to everyone!
 


Bibbidi Bobbidi Broom-Broom


 
Layer composition, in photoshop, is a useful method for creating different layer states and showing different screens within the same document.
It is a useful option for those who design graphical interfaces and want to see the different states quickly, without having to turn layers on and off.


We think it would be nice to learn something new and useful every day. If you would also like to share some magic tips with other RE:Labers, send us your secret here.
Epilogue

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If you want to read the previous issues, you can find them all here.
And here you can find how is named Cruscotti.
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