You don’t need to teach a child to push harder when confronted with a heavy object. She figures it out. You don’t need to teach a child to pay attention when you shake a rattle. He naturally gets attracted to its sound and motion. You don’t need to tell a child to become calm and joyful when seeing beautiful objects. She just smiles.The human brain has evolved over centuries to interact with physical objects and react to cues in the real world. Interfacing with mobile apps is increasingly more like interacting with these physical objects. We touch, swipe, tap and tilt them.Apps are also responding like physical objects.They slide, bounce, shrink and stretch. The obvious benefit of this, when done well, is that the human brain doesn’t need to be trained to respond. It simply draws upon millions of years of evolutionary learning engraved in our limbic system.I am glad that both Apple with iOS 8 and Google with Material Design are headed in the same direction. In fact, the new Syncplicity for iPhone app also borrows heavily from the real world and, in the process, creates a natural experience that is easy to use and seamless.Let me give three examples of metaphors our brains either love instinctively or have learned over millions of years of human evolution and how they can be used in mobile apps.How objects respond to touchIt is common for physical objects to shrink when you press on them, like paper crumpling into a ball. It is also natural for physical objects to bounce, no matter how little, when they are dropped on the floor. The global gesture of tap and hold in Syncplicity causes the sheet to shrink, just like real sheets of paper. When you swipe the sheet down, it docks at the bottom with a slight bounce. This makes it easy to remember that there is a sheet waiting to be restored. How bubbles captivate the child in all of usBubbles are delightful. They rise to the surface. They naturally evoke an urge to reach out and touch. What better way to offer rich functionality than to use bubbles like animation? Syncplicity’s contextual menus use bubble design to naturally attract users to reach out and tap,exploring the full functionality of the system.These are just a few examples of applying these physical world metaphors to the mobile world in ways that even children understand and love. I am proud of the Syncplicity team for creating a rich and easy-to-use experience that relies on these intuitive metaphors. This is, though, just the beginning of the revolution in UX that leverages human evolution.Just like we ride on the shoulders of those who came before us, this is our humble attempt to provide a platform for others to build on. Try Syncplicity out and partner with us in advancing this revolution even further. How objects slide and stretch when pulledPushing or pulling objects makes them move in the real world – sliding forward, backward or side-to-side. In the case of elastic objects, like rubber bands, they stretch when pulled and go back to their original state when released. Mobile apps can use this metaphor to good effect too. For example, in Syncplicity, tapping and holding the main menu panel results in the left and right panels sliding into view. Swiping to the right or left panel applies the stretching metaphor visually, indicating that if you let go, it may go back to its initial state.
Following President Barack Obama’s decision to lift the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, medical and scientific experts will converge at the University of Georgia to discuss how recent advances in stem cell research can be turned into cures for spinal cord injuries.The second Spinal Cord Workshop, a program of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation, will be held on Saturday, April 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences in Athens, Ga.Every year close to 11,000 people sustain spinal cord injuries in the United States, while more than 200,000 Americans live each day with a disability caused by them.“Because spinal cord injury usually occurs in otherwise healthy, young adults, it is an especially attractive candidate for a cure for stem cell therapy,” said Ann Kiessling, director of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. “The big question is whether a ‘moon shot’ approach will produce a cure, or if there is still too much basic science yet unknown.”The workshop is hosted by UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center. Additional support is provided by the UGA Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute, the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and Millipore, Inc.“The University of Georgia is fortunate to team up with the Bedford Foundation to host these leading experts in spinal cord therapies to discuss and develop new paths forward for spinal cord injuries,” said Steven Stice, director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center and a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences professor. “In addition, Georgia’s recent legislation aimed at restricting stem cell research makes this workshop an especially timely one.” Created in 1996, the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation is a Massachusetts-based public charity and biomedical institute conducts stem cell and related research for diseases and conditions that currently have no cure. The Regenerative Bioscience Center brings UGA’s expertise, resources and accomplishments in human embryonic stem cell research under one umbrella, while contributing to the university’s educational and outreach missions with student research experiences and public lectures, symposia and workshops.The event serves as a follow-up to the inaugural Spinal Cord Workshop held at UGA in March 2008. For more information, go to the Web site www.spinalcordworkshop.org.
Georgia made it through September without much dramatic weather. Temperatures across the state were normal, but rainfall was light. The areas that received the most rainfall were affected by the remains of Hurricane Isaac in the first week of September. In Atlanta the average temperature for the month was 74.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees above normal). Across the state, average temperatures ranged from 72.6 degrees in Athens (0.7 degrees below normal), to 76.8 degrees in Columbus (0.2 above normal), to 75.3 degrees in Macon (0.8 below normal), to 77 degrees in Savannah (0.1 above normal), to 79.1 degrees in Brunswick (1 above normal), to 77.4 degrees in Alma (0.3 above normal) and 73.8 degrees in Augusta (0.8 below normal). No temperature or precipitation records were set during September. Most of September’s rain was tied to the remains of Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall in Louisiana on August 28. The center of Isaac moved slowly north, up the Mississippi River valley over the following week, which continued to bring warm moist air into Georgia and spawned some bands of heavy rain. When Isaac entered the Ohio River valley, it split into two circulation centers. A small piece of Isaac then moved south towards Georgia, sparking additional isolated showers for the next few days. The highest monthly total precipitation reported by National Weather Service stations was 4.88 inches in Athens (0.94 inches above normal) and the lowest was in Atlanta with 1.37 inches (3.1 inches below normal). Savannah received 2.86 inches (1.72 inches below normal), Columbus received 3.6 inches (0.54 above normal), Alma received 2.19 inches (1.45 below normal), Augusta received 1.84 inches (1.38 inches below normal), Macon received 2.71 inches (0.88 below normal) and Brunswick received 2.86 inches (2.9 below normal). The highest single-day rainfall reported by Community Collaborative Rain, Snow and Hail Network reporters was 3.9 inches observed 5 miles southwest of Valdosta in Lowndes County on September 21. Two other nearby observers reported 3.8 and 3.23 inches at their respective locations. One of the Valdosta stations also had the highest monthly total of 8.88 inches. Other high monthly totals included 8.86 inches observed northeast of Dillard in Rabun County and 8.49 inches in Trenton, Ga., in Dade County. Severe weather was reported on six out of 31 days in August. All of the reports were for widely scattered wind damage. Drought conditions stabilized in September, with only slight changes over the month. Rain impeded harvest in some locations, while in other areas farmers were hoping for more rain to improve pasture conditions.