Each day at Ixd13 brings new and crazier events. The Internet of Things, beautiful failures, Interaction Awards went down on Day 3 of Ixd13. (Catch up on Day 1 and Day 2 and look ahead to Day 4 here.)
We’re no longer telling objects what to do and why – now, they sense, respond without our direction. Right now we are in the perfect storm for the Internet of Things (IoT) with accessible robotics, affordable sensors, wireless communications, object tagging, and easy broadband access.
What does this mean for design?
In 2008, the number of things connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people on earth. Through design, we have the ability to directly affect the future of the IoT.
The Mavericks in this space:
Smaller companies are putting products out through Kickstarter and other small funding arenas and trying IoT in an experimental way.
Here are some ideas they’ve put out:
- Twine: A brick with orientation, temp sensor, and other attachments. You create a set of rules online (like when to turn the thermostat up so the pipes don't freeze), and Twine obeys.
- Karotz: Tells you weather, traffic report, read your twitter stream, RFID tags to trigger actions (ex: give one RFID to your kid, when they come home they swipe and you get an email letting you know they are home).
- Pet collars that tell you when left your pet in the backyard unattended
- Houses that know when no one home, turns the power down.
- Sensors that makes it possible for everyday items to connect to the Internet.
What does this mean for our everyday lives? How does the IoT help us?
Learning about Self:
The IoT can help us track our own behavior and habits, eventually even leading us to a better understanding of our own identity. Take the kid's toy Furby. When Furby comes out of the box, it speaks a language entirely its own. But as it spends time with you, it learns about you, and eventually, their entire personality is based on their impression of you and your environment.
Learning about Others:
The IoT can bring people closer together, too. These objects can help foster a community through a shared connection in the IoT. There are pill bottle caps that glow to remind you its time to take your medication. If you miss it, the cap can play a ring-tone. If you still can’t see it, the cap will call your phone. Every month the device prints a progress report and shares it with your doctor and family members.
Learning about Surroundings:
Devices that can learn about our surroundings are becoming more and more prevalent like Nest the thermometer that learns about your, or Hue the light bulb by Phillips that can be whatever color you want it to be. These objects help to expose the invisible and access the inaccessible while allowing us to monitor and manage them remotely.
IoT can help us bring us back into the physical world.
Sitting at a keyboard or behind a screen is unnatural. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to virtualize the real world into the screen.
Principles for designing for IoT:
- Information overload is never fun
- Life now, data later
- Context is everything
- Communication defines personality. Be intentional about crafting that personality
- Playing nice with others. We could have a cacophony of gadgets, but that would be a mess. Instead, we need to make it easier for devices to communicate
- Knowing when it’s appropriate to borrow the screen
Methods for trying it out:
Now is your opportunity to experiment. There are few rules, and this is a beautiful chance to try new things.
Get more resources at the Smart Interaction Lab