Rethinking the Mobile User Email Experience

You're standing in line or at a conference so you quickly check your email on your smartphone. Basically, you want to know what's new; what needs to be handled immediately; what can be deleted now and what can wait until back in the office. If it's something that you can put off until later, you probably have some trick to remind yourself. Then, you get back to your desk and find yourself making the same decisions over again. Sound familiar?

Current mobile email clients are often just smaller versions of desktop clients and assume a user will open, read and respond to a message in the same manner they would on a desktop or laptop. Through studying the behaviors of mobile users, IBM scientists are finding that mobile email usage differs greatly because of the environment and context in which it typically takes place. People are primarily focused on “triaging” what's in their inbox at that moment.

To help solve this common problem, computer scientists at IBM Research - Almaden have developed the IBM Mail Triage project. They have built a prototype application that rethinks the mobile email experience by allowing users to quickly "triage" their email and identify what needs immediate action and what can be handled later.

Here's how IBM Mail Triage works.

According to Jeff Pierce, the lead researcher on the IBM Mail Triage project, the project has grown out of ongoing research that attempts to understand how people use the technology devices in their lives – mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablet computers, etc. -- and spread their computing time across them. He recently spoke at the Web 2.0 Expo about this research effort. It's great insight into what the project is all about.

And, you can also read a paper on the project here.

We'd like to hear what you want in your mobile email user experience.


And the 2010 Kavli Award in nanoscience goes to....

On September 28, 1989, IBM researcher Don Eigler moved a xenon atom back and forth between two defect sites on a platinum surface. In his lab notebook of that date, under the heading of “first atom to be manipulated under control”, Eigler wrote “Did it,” “Did it” and “Did it again! 3 in a row. On February 14, 1990, Eigler used a different method to manipulate single atoms: instead of dragging the xenon atoms across the substrate, he lifted them up off the nickel surface and then put them back down in their new locations. The lab notebook for that day records “success at pick up” and “success at put down” six times each — no doubt about reproducibility here — followed by “I'm really having fun!!” in big bold writing. Finally, in possibly the most famous image in the history of nanotechnology, Eigler wrote the letters IBM with 35 xenon atoms on a nickel surface.

Today, Don Eigler is the winner of the Kavli Award in Nanoscience, which is awarded for outstanding achievement in the science and application of the unique physical, chemical, and biological properties of atomic, molecular, macromolecular, and cellular structures and systems that are manifest in the nanometer scale. Don is one of two recipients of this year's distinction, and he recounts the events leading up to today's award below.

What we achieved 20 years ago, represented, at the time, a leap forward in our ability to investigate and control matter at the atomic scale. When we look at what we're doing today, these milestones have really set the stage for the "nanotechnology revolution." Atom manipulation with the scanning tunneling microscope has grown into a powerful tool used in laboratories around the world. What's more, atom manipulation is as exciting today as it was 20 years ago.

It's amazing that I've managed to contribute something that is recognized on this scale. It couldn't have happened without a lot of support and opportunity - from my parents, from my mentors, from the University of California, and from IBM. I have often been asked why I chose to write "IBM" instead of something else. It was simple: pay back. IBM provided me the opportunity to excel at what I loved doing most. Remarkably, that's as true today as it was 20 years ago.

East Meets West : Analyzing Digital Medical Records to Understand Treatment Efficacy

Eastern and Western medicine take very different approaches to the practice of medicine -- whether in prevention or disease treatment. And while, they may seem mutually exclusive, more and more clinicians are trying to understand how and when it may be best to integrate the two in order to prescribe the most effective, appropriate treatments for a patient.

Combining data from Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with the health data from EMRs and other systems, means exponentially more information from even more sources to sift through. In order to better research and understand medicine and treatment plans, the raw data needs to be transformed into an easily consumable format so that doctors and researchers can combine and analyze relevant patient data and clinical events to discern patterns of how populations are affected and respond to medical treatments.

To help solve this problem, IBM Research and South China's largest hospital, Guang Dong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a leader in integrating traditional Chinese medicine with contemporary Western medicine, are building healthcare analytics system that will help clinicians study the effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine in conjunction with Western medicine in treating Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).


Inventors' Corner U.S. Patent #7,689,595 -- Automatic travel content capture tool for address book entries

Master Inventor, Rick Hamilton, explains how the invention associated with U.S. patent #7,689,595 works:

This patent describes an invention that automatically checks your cell phone or handheld's address book and calendar when traveling and, using GPS, automatically provides directions from your current location to nearby destinations.  For example,if you're traveling on business and are staying at a hotel that's near an old friend's house whose address is stored on your device, the invention will automatically find and provide directions with a map from the hotel to your friend's house.

U.S. Patent #7,689,595 was granted to inventors Greg Boss of American Fork, UT; James Doran of New Milford, CT; Rick Hamilton of Charlottesville, VA and Timothy Waters of Hiram, GA.