Pocobor.

Designing New Interactions

A research project, called Skal, allows users to control a media center by placing different physical objects embedded with RFID tags in a bowl embedded with an RFID reader.

Timo Arnall, from the Oslo School of Architecture & Design, spoke last month at the “IxDA Interaction 10″ about how technology and networked objects are providing an entirely new interaction category. Designers and engineers, including Pocobor, are embedded technology into products that are providing an entirely new user experience. He stresses the difficulty and importance of communicating and/or visualizing the captured data for immediate feedback and for reflection in the future.

I’ve embedded the video of his presentation below for you to take a look. He focuses primarily on his research using RFID, but sprinkled throughout are some interesting comments about designing for this new product category. Enjoy.

An Igloo in a High-Tech World

An Eskimo can build an igloo in 40 minutes (how to build an igloo). It took three friends and me almost 11 hours to build our first igloo. BUT, the resulting structure and the night of sleep within were very satisfying. On the spectrum of technology, an igloo is much like a wheel: low tech on the whole, but very technical in the details. It is a remarkable structure that is elegant, highly efficient, and can be built using only snow and a saw. However, each block of the igloo must be shaped and placed very carefully if the structure is to support itself.

When we set out into the woods near Lake Tahoe, I brought my mobile phone just in case of an emergency. I tend to do this a lot (“just in case”), but normally there ends up being no phone signal and my phone is dead weight. However, when we arrived at the site of our soon-to-be igloo, I was surprised to see that I had full reception for my phone. With lots of work ahead of us and having no interest in receiving phone calls or emails, I turned off the phone and set it aside. This was no place for technology! We were there to build an igloo!

The next morning, before leaving, we discussed ways to document our little snow dwelling. Beyond the many photographs taken, we decided we should create a blog for the igloo (in hopes that others might find it and update us on its standing). We originally planned to do this once we got back to civilization, but with 3G mobile coverage, we realized that we could do it all from within the igloo! It was quite a technological contrast – using an iPhone to create a blog from within an igloo.

It is this technological contrast that I wish to highlight here. We live in a world of technology, but we also live in a world of igloos. As we get caught up in email, apps (the iGloo app is the next big thing), and digital everything, it is important to remember the simpler, perhaps more elegant, forms of technology that have existed for thousands of years. While the latest technology may be the best thing since sliced bread, sliced bread may just be the best thing since the igloo.

Check out this great book I used for reference and build your own!

iglooprocess1

igloooutside