The Question - » News

Extant logo

We were awarded ‘Best Paper’ at UbiComp, Beijing!

Janet and Louise shown holding the award

Our paper ‘Haptic Reassurance in the Pitch Black for an Immersive Theatre Experience‘ has just been awarded best paper at the international technology conference UbiComp 2011 in Beijing, China.

The paper  authored  by the Open University, Rusty Squid and Extant is based on our outcomes and evaluation of The Question and has been selected from 304 international papers submitted for the conference on ubiquitous computing.

Comment on this post

Our paper accepted for publication at UbiComp

The Open University, Extant and Adam Spiers of ‘Rusty Squid’ are delighted that our paper ‘Haptic Reassurance in the Pitch Black for an Immersive Theatre Experience’ has been accepted for publication at UbiComp 2011 Papers and Notes.

The paper based on our outcomes and evaluation of The Question is one of 50 selected from 302 international papers submitted for the conference on ubiquitous computing to be held in Beijing, China in September 2011

Comment on this post

Guerilla Science – Secret Garden Party

Adam Spiers was invited in July to present a demonstration of the Haptic Lotus at Guerrilla Science summer festival event The Secret Garden Party

Woman with grass and hay in the background, repairing a lotus with the lid off and electronics exposed


17:00-22:00 Blind Robot’s Bluff: Adam Spiers Navigate through darkness with the Haptic Lotus, a cybernetic instrument that manoeuvres through space with engineered grace. Use the unfolding petals to guide you to your destination, and ponder the meaning of light in the dark.

A man dressed as a wizard holding a Lotus in the middle of a gazebo

Based on a mock up we had tested at the DHRA conference last September, Adam   and his assistants set up a similar situation in a tent at the festival.  They attached some cylindrical containers (each containing a sweet) to the corners of a gazebo with magnets. This was the corner where the target ‘beacon’, sound source and some interesting textures were hung up (fake fur, garden twine and corrugated card). Before people went in to the installation blind folded   and wearing headphones, they were told that they needed to find these objects and that the Lotus would guide them there.

a person with skeleton / zombie face paint holding a Lotus and being blindfolded

They were also given the option of racing their friends, which worked quite well. Surprisingly nearly everyone managed to find the container and return to the entrance with it!

A man dressed as a bear, blindfolded, holding the Lotus and sweet container, with a big grin on his face!

Peter Bennett AKA ‘Pencil Beam’, made a short and sharp atmospheric looping sound track that fitted in with the feel of the technology.  This activated in the blindfolded persons headphones when they moved near the target tactile area where the container hung.

‘Pencil Beam’ music production can be found at

Listen to the track here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

More images can be seen on Flickr at

In other news – our paper has been accepted for publication at UbiCom! Read more here

Comment on this post

Full DVD and evaluation videos

You can now access the full DVD of the Question on our DVD page and a video of interviews taken during our evaluation process can be found on our new Evaluation page.

Comment on this post
Follow us