Saturday 8th February, 2014
2:00pm to 2:00pm
Generally we wake up in the morning, go to the kitchen, make coffee, put the bread in the toaster and in some time the toast pops up. And that’s it! That’s all the interaction we have with the toaster.
But what if, one fine day, you wake up, put the bread in the toaster, and it suddenly wakes up and says “GOOD MORNING” in a voice good enough to brighten up your day. And when you are busy making coffee, asks you “WHY YOU DIDN’T USE ME YESTERDAY” in a voice that reminds you of an abandoned little puppy dog. Then if you make the mistake of ignoring it, becomes mad with rage and starts shaking to grab your attention. Or maybe on some other day, if it’s in a jolly mood, it tells you a joke while your toast is in the making. And if you wake up really early one day, it will be a little surprised and might ask you “WHAT’S THE MATTER! UP SO EARLY?”
That’s how I think things will become in a few years. Your toaster won’t be a passive object that just sits in one corner of your kitchen; it will have a character of its own. It will have moods, and it will know when you are around and it will make sure that you know how it is ‘feeling’, and will also try to understand how you feel and adapt its behavior according to that. And that will be the case with most of the devices around. Imagine working in a kitchen where all the devices understand a little bit of your personality, your preferences, and what you might like them to do or how you might want them to behave, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will try to please you all the time.
If we look at the way things are going we will realize that our modern devices are coming with inbuilt ‘brains’, ability to talk to other devices and sensors to sense the world around them. In this increasingly complex world of devices and things, it will become increasingly difficult to make sense of all this information, but what if you have devices, which have a character of their own, it will help you make sense of all this. Character is a mental construct of a person or an object, which we make in order to make sense of its behavior, it helps us predict its behavior and make sense of the actions it does. That’s why we assign a character to a person or an object- to make sense of their behavior.
Here, I am proposing a new generation of devices that won’t be just smart, intelligent and networked but they will have a personality of their own and will be anthropomorphic in their interactions, appearance and function.
Right now I am working on this idea where I am not just planning to conceptualize it but in next 2 months I’m going to prototype some of the devices and test them in real world situations to understand how people react to them. I am going to make a working prototype of the concept using various sensors embedded in the device and the device will have different modalities of interaction, the device will react through the medium of sound, body language and movement. I hope to present this idea along with a demo of the devices at the Interaction14 conference.
2pm Toasty by Gaurav Patekar
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