The Disappearing Computer Initiative

by Norbert A. Streitz

As part of the European IST programme, ‘Future and Emerging Technology’ launched the proactive initiative ‘The Disappearing Computer’ (DC). After a careful review and selection process, 16 projects were finally accepted for funding. An overview of the projects can be found at

The projects started on January 2001. The duration of the projects is between two to three years. 37 institutions from academia as well as industry in 13 countries are participating in the 16 projects. The total effort of all projects is close to 300 person years, 50 % of it being funded by the European Commission.

The objectives of the ‘Disappearing Computer’ initiative are to explore how everyday life can be supported and enhanced through the use of collections of interacting artefacts. Together, these artefacts will form new people-friendly environments in which the ‘computer-as-we-know-it’ has no role. The aim is to arrive at new concepts and techniques out of which future applications can be developed. Specifically, the projects of the initiative will focus on three inter-linked objectives:

Beyond the individual projects, the DC initiative is planning a range of inter-project collaboration activities as, eg, Disappearing Days workshops, Troubadour grants, Research Ateliers, Jamborees as conference-like major events, etc.

The DC-initiative started their collaboration and networking activities by electing a steering group of four people: Norbert Streitz (chair) (GMD-IPSI, Darmstadt, Germany), Lorna Goulden (Philips Design, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Spyros Lalis (ICS-FORTH, Heraklion, Greece) Paddy Nixon (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK). The initial kick-off meeting of all DC-projects took place on January 31 in Darmstadt starting to form the DC community. The steering group can be contacted via The DC website has been launched and will soon become the primary place of information and communication for the DC community.

The Disappearing Computer Initiative:
EC Future and Emerging Technologies:

Please contact:
Norbert Streitz — GMD
Tel: +49-6151-869 919