Touch is a research project that investigates Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology that enables connections between mobile phones and physical things. We are developing applications and services that enable people to interact with everyday objects and situations through their mobile devices. http://www.nearfield.org
As invisible technologies including WiFi, RFid, Satellite Communications, Cellular Communication, radar, sonar, IR, UVA, UVB, etc infiltrate consumer markets, questions about the physical understanding and representation of these fields has designer, and consumers worried about their power. Currently with in cellular communication, the connection bar has been a stand in for the the quality of connection a user will receive on that device. The indication of service bars is an abstract representation of the potential invisible field for that device. The abstract representation does not take into account bandwidth, number or callers with in the area or amount of traffic a particular for this case a cell tower is handling. I may be so bold to say the my cell phone calls have been dropped on occasion due to traffic not potential connection.
The issue of field representation takes on a different role when individual consumer devices are communicating independent of their service providers. The implementation of RFid technologies has many consumers, and technology producers skeptical of its use and abuse. RFid takes invisible field communications from the macro world of cell towers and nation wide coverage to the micro of near field communication (NFC) which is a couple of inches to a couple feet from a reader. The fear vetted by many consumers is a level of control and protection. When a user can just walk through a door and be charged for items with out interaction of purpose the implementation of intent has many saying RFid will be the new treat to consumer fraud and identity theft.
Desigers at nearfield.org and many of the experiments I am engaging in within my own work is attempting to challenge and educate consumers, designer, producers, and industries that the technologies can make really engaging experiences but only when there is a intrinsic understanding of operation space. Educate consumers and teach them that communication can be done through proximity and habits and interactions will follow that will engage there interactions with purchasing connection and understands in trans-formative ways.
check out thesis website : Marginalia: The Hybrid Textbook