Camera Restricta: More disobedient technology

Camera Restricta by Phillipp Schmitt is a 3D printed augmented smartphone which stops the user from taking photographs of an area that has had too many pictures taken of it already.

Having seen the huge clusters of geotagged photographs surrounding tourist hotspots, it’s refreshing to think of a visual recording device which forces the user to seek out the road less travelled to find places which haven’t been digitally ‘appreciated’ so much. Perhaps it would also make the user reflect on why they have such a need to record and share all of their experiences and to, maybe, just be in the space and not feel obliged to record.

The next iteration could be a camera app which uses facial recognition to force the user to stop taking pictures of the same faces; restricting selfies and making the photographer seek out new subjects (and/or friends). Knowing that the camera could reject a face, would make pictures more thoughtful and meaningful.


Prototyping in SolidWorks

Rendering of my first User Centred Design product: FocusLAMP.

Rendering of my first User Centred Design product: FocusLAMP.

One of the modules I took for the second semester of my MA is a product design course based on SolidWorks software.

It’s been a beast of a learning curve and I’m still far from being fully proficient, but I am starting to reap the rewards. SolidWorks allows me to render photo-quality images, models and animations for my upcoming prototypes. This means that I can be as speculative as I want with my designs and still produce amazing renderings of what the final product will look like.

I see this process as helping greatly with my upcoming workshops. My video and paper prototypes can get their concepts across much more directly and participants will have an easier time imagining their interactions.

Addicted products: The story of Brad the Toaster

Well, we’ve all bought products only to underuse and eventually forget about them. Like the proverbial gym membership which starts off as a life-changing adventure and ends up leaving us with a general sense of guilt and waste, only to be washed away by the next investment.

This Addicted Product, by Simone Rebaudengo and Haque Design, is a toaster which needs to be kept busy and useful or it may move on to a more deserving person.

This project looks at a future where individuals need to earn and appreciate their products and to be open to time-sharing technology. A real and speculative piece which uses the Internet of Things and Twitter to give personality and communication to our devices and raise issues of sustainability and waste.

Natural Fuse

natural_fuseHere’s an interesting one: Natural Fuse – an Internet of Things device for sharing your carbon footprint responsibility.

The Natural Fuse was a project which used plants as ‘fuses’ based on your use of an electrical appliance. It encourages people to cooperatively be aware of their energy expenditure using networked devices which keep the plants alive. The less energy you use, the more the system takes care of the plants. If you overuse, a random plant may have to be killed off, affecting others on your network.

Not so good for the plants, but a good use of the IoT and networked awareness.

On another note, it’s interesting that the underlying system  – Pachube – does not work anymore. The project is from 2009, the heyday of Pachube, and also around the time that I began to use Pachube to revisualise IoT data. Since then, the demise, resurrection and rebranding of Pachube into Cosm and Xively has broken many an interesting IoT app. It’s a lesson in how these seemingly open and community-based systems can upset a nascent movement for monetisation.