Merging Technology and Everyday Objects within our Home

20 Oct

Using everyday, personal objects as input devices has many advantages “users already have mental models or personal links with these objects”. I am now interested in merging technology with the physical reality of life (Tangible Computing in Everyday Life: Extending Current Frameworks for Tangible User Interfaces with Personal Objects).

It is at this stage that I became familiar with Reality Based Interaction and I believe that this may be the next generation of computing which is being referred to as Post-Wimp (Windows, icon, menu, pointing style) (Reality Based Interaction – A Framework for Post-WIMP Interfaces)

I am investigating the relationship between households and the role of communication and information technology. How do people use everyday objects in their home? Communication and information technology as objects and how they differ from other objects such as plant, hammer etc (Consuming technologies: media and information in domestic spaces)

I have come across some very inspiring projects in this area such as the “WebStickers” system developed by L.E. Holmquist, J. Redstrom and P. Ljungstrand. The system allows users to connect physical objects to data on the Internet. The system enables users to place barcodes on any object of their choice. Using a barcode scanner these objects can then be linked to one or more web-pages. For me the most interesting part was the way in which some people used the barcodes. Although many people used them to link objects to web-pages about the object or a dictionary to an online Encyclopaedia, a number of people used them in a very clever way. For example a cup that is used in the morning to drink coffee linked with a web page containing the latest news headlines therefore making a connection between drinking coffee and reading the news.

In 2008 Violet produced a similar product using RFID tags. A USB based-RFID reader could read RFID tags attached to any object of choice and then send commands to the computer. Below is a video that explains the many uses of the product.

I am now going to investigate the area of “Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) within the domestic environment.” To do this I will conduct research on TUI’s in general and also the area of interacting with household, everyday objects and technology within the domestic environment.


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