Commercial Products

16 Feb

Ambient Devices is a successful company which uses the concept of ambient information in their products. The company outlines that certain information should be glanceable, like a clock or barometer. They create technology that uses subtle changes in form, movement, sound, color or light to deliver this information. Ambient Umbrella has a light on the handle that will pulse if the forecast is rain or snow so that at a quick glance you will realise that the umbrella is needed. The Ambient Orb is a glass ball that glows different colors to display real-time stock market trends, traffic congestion, pollen forecasts or any other information that the user wants to represent (“Products,” 2007).

Figure 1. The Ambient Umbrella pulsing to show the weather forecast is rain and the Ambient Orb representing traffic congestion in a certain area.

The Colour changing tap light will change colour when water reaches a certain temperature. Every time you turn on the tap a beam of red or blue light will fluoresce from the stream of water running from the tap.

The Ambient clock shows a glanceable view of your events for the day. The Backlight changes colour depending on your next appointment etc. At the moment only an online beta version is available that can be used with igoogle.

The Ambient Presence Clock

Two clocks are connected and share the times that each clock detected movement and presence. Each clock has a motion sensor, a distance sensor, and 12 small lights underneath each hour. Each time someone sits near or walks by the clock, the paired clock pulsates gently for the duration of the detected presence. When this presence is detected, the light under the hour the presence was recorded during on the pair clock glows brighter. Each additional time during the hour that presence is detected this light glows brighter. The clock form factor gives a good overview as to what times the other side was present, while still being an object that is familiar in a household.”

“The ambient plant design concept seeks to (i) provide separated family members with a sense of social connection through the presentation of ambient information and (ii) provide family members with a sense of each other’s presence. Based on our literature review, ethnographic inquires, and cultural probe analysis, we determined that our target population exhibits a strong inclination to maintain social connections with their close family members and friends. The ambient plant supports and stimulates these social connections through a series of ambient displays of LED lights integrated into the pot of a normal houseplant. The ambient plan is intended to connect family member living in separate homes by sensing the moisture levels of the living plant and displaying this information through a series of colorful LEDs on one display located on the plant pot. Along with these readings, the moisture level information from the participants’ separated family members’ household plant is also displayed. The ambient plant pot allows members from both households to keep track of the wellbeing of each others’ respective plants. In this context, the familiar everyday practice of watering and caring for the plant is transformed into a symbolic act to check in on the condition of close family members as well as the broader emotional climate of their domestic household. Additionally, when a family member is standing in front of their plant, the connected pot within the separated household begins to glow brightly to convey a loved one’s temporary presence. The ultimate desired outcome of the ambient plant is not to replace direct forms of communication (such as telephone or face-to-face interactions), but rather to support social connections among separated family members through subtle enrichment of an already existing domestic object and practice.”

The Waterdrop weather forecasters backlight changes colour depending on the weather forecast.


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