Everyday objects which hold affordances that we take as a given are deemed to be succesful interactions,
I believe it's far more interesting to design in such a way that question our everyday interactions.
The elderly are interesting to work with because they have very specific needs which under the right circumstances can be met with technology. During this project we augmented everday artifacts used by a seniors in an assisted living community. The exploration of the solution space was a particpatory design process and resulted in a complex interaction between augmented objects, such as a rollator walker, and social engineering, like how to decrease feelings of loneliness by increasing social interactions via microblogging.
Traditional materials, such as wood, fabric and metal do not typically have associations to computation, yet this is precisely the connection that 'The Dress Room' was attempting. With the project we asked what happens to the way we interact in a space if the technology is pervasive? In what ways can we media tangible and what are the affordances?
In our initial explorations we confronted difficulties in choosing the right sensor method that would provide robust feedback to the system so that there would be a clear cause-effect. In such experiments there is a fine line between creating a simple scenario which can shed light on some of these questions and choosing to explore the apparent randomness that arises.
I was briefly involved on the Solar Cell bag, Memory Bag, and Climate Dress projects in their post-launch phase. I wanted to mention them because I believe that the areas of fashion technology, smart textiles and tangible media are very interesting in terms of potentially increasing our environmental awareness and as tools for tuning into our bodily needs. The Alexandra Institute hired MOXI to look into the possibility of stabilising and updating the technology installed in the aforementioned prototypes.
Partook in the 'Foo' exhibition at the Norwegian Kunsthall Grenland where I helped in creating the 'Evidence' piece which consisted of a vest that measured the heartbeat of the person who was wearing it and a specially constructed balloon heart representing the person's heartbeat. It was great fun to be part of this project because we combined many different technologies and materials, it was also super interesting to be part of an art exhibition where art and technology meet and go beyond the scientific method. Have read on the website of Laura Beloff which contains other interesting examples.
The Microsoft capacitive TouchMouse was at the centre at the UIST 2011 Student Innovation Contest, at the Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. We, Juan David Hincapié-Ramos, Morten Esbensen and myself, came up with the idea to put the mouse inside a 'pyjama' and connect the metallic snap-on buttons of the 'pyjama' with conductive thread to various parts on a soft toy. By pressing, for example, the ears of the elephant the corresponding graphical interface on a screen lights up, making the soft toy interactive. The project was a proof of concept to show how to make a tool-kit with an API that supports rapid prototyping of tangibles. Download 'Rapid Prototyping of Tangibles with a Capacitive Mouse' to read the paper that we wrote for the conference and won first prize in the implementation category.
Investigations into developing methods that enables people to harness the potential of pervasive computing systems in their everyday lives have been ongoing since the late 1980s. One of the projects that I took part in was at the University of Essex where a group of researchers had built the 'iSpace' a dorm room where the vision of the intelligent home became reality. Everything in this small living space was interconnected from fridge, desklamp, music, bed and clock - you get the idea. The video introduces the 2006 version of iSpace, I worked on an earlier 2002 version, but the principle is identical. One of the most important lessons I took away from this experiment is to never ignore the importance of a transparent communication architecture of the underlying ubiquitous network. Of course this is much easier said than done!