February 19, 2010
This pressure cooker was designed to broaden the view in this project. By going through the design process in one day we can see where there are difficulties.
The aim of this project is to design a sound system that provides subtle but relevant information in the home environment.
This lead to the question: what things within the home environment are relevant and useful to perceive during your daily task? For a lot of these tasks visuals are good enough and would not be improved by sound applications.
For the EU project SOFIA (Smart Objects For Intelligent Applications), Bram van der Vlist and Gerrit Niezen created a demonstrator for one of the use cases: semantic connections. “The demonstrator consists of a set of devices; surround sound-set, mobile mp3 players, an ambient lighting system and interaction device(s). The interaction device is a tile-like interactive object that allows for both exploration of the Smart Space in terms of connections and manipulation of these connections and information/data streams. Coloured LED lighting and light dynamics visualize the connections and connection possibilities between the various devices. By means of putting devices close to one of the four sides of the tile, a user can check if there is a connection and if not if a connection is possible. By simply picking up the tile, and shaking it a user can make or break the connection between the devices present at the interaction tile.”
More at www.sofia.id.tue.nl
In any given situation, there will be multiple auditory channels reaching the ear. However, we are able to focus our attention on one of them. The remaining auditory channels are typically monitored in the periphery of our attention. In other words, we do not have to pay specific attention to them, but if something unusual happens, our attention immediately shifts. For example, when driving a car, one will normally focus the attention on the road, the radio, or the conversation with passengers. However, when the engine suddenly makes an unusual noise, the attention immediately switches to this sound. In other words, the sound of the engine that is normally in the periphery of the attention shifts to the foreground. The same thing will happen when you hear someone say your name.
In this project, you will explore how you can leverage the above described auditory perception skills in interaction design. The goal of this project is to design a system that subtly provides relevant information via short auditory cues in the home environment. These auditory cues can be connected to everyday objects. For example; what if the refridgerator tells us what is in it whenever we open it, or the door-knob tells us if it is going to rain when we open the front door?
In envisioned smart environments, enabled by future ubiquitous technologies, electronic objects will be able to interconnect and interoperate. How will users make sense of the connections that are made and the information that is exchanged? This Internet of Things could have a life of its own, exchanging digital concepts and values between its members, having an understanding of each other and communicating in their own language. Will it be possible to represent this digital world in the physical reality we live in, providing handles to control and clues to understand, build conceptual models of what is happening in this hidden reality?
Exchanging values between different realities can be viewed in the widest sense. Not only in computer games and other virtual communities we can cross boundaries, also in daily life we are often interfacing with another reality, like the digital reality in many electronic products. As the products and our environments become smarter and more complex, these connections between physical and digital reality are becoming increasingly complex and problematic. Often, we cannot make sense of what is happening in the digital world anymore. As industrial designers it is our job to make sense of this hidden digital world.
In general, an Ambient Intelligence system enhances the physical space through technology, media and services. According to Aarts, is defined as a combination of context awareness, ubiquitous computing and natural interaction, in order to achieve a distributed system architecture integrates different typologies of basic devices, defined by their power consumption and functionality.
Within this scope, this project consists of designing an adaptive office that provides its user(s) with an enhanced working experience, by enabling different user-adaptation levels, based on needs and requirements. Considering the specific features of the typology of space selected (individual offices, group work spaces, meeting rooms, moveable offices, etc), the developed system should take in account current worker needs and trends in task accomplishment. This includes providing workers with adaptive options and possibilities that ultimately augment the level of efficiency via comfort, communication and access to services and information during the use of this space, e.g. temperature, sound, light, image, etc.