Tuesday, February 27, 2007

With - an emotional communication device

With - an emotional communication device - was selected as part of the Next-Gen PC design Competition organized by Microsoft and International Council of Societies of Industrial Design in 2006-2007. The device is designed for family members who live separately and to communicate over the internet. It is designed with the objective to convey emotions with the assumption that current technology interfaces are made too complex. The device resemble everyday objects (eggs, egg carton) to be familiar thus easy to use. The shape of the pillow is made "huggable" to offer a comfortable interaction.

A lot is being done in product design regarding remote communication using devices. Not so much attention is given to digital interaction using these devices (from a product design perspective). Because these objects are made interactive, I wander how the form factors can really match the technology outcomes. How do product designers think the functionalities of the interactive parts of the proposed objects? I liked the following example because it kept its product-like justifications even though it did not really address the interactive components. Instead it presented how people will use the designed generic tokens in relation to three main internet functionalities: talk, mail, play.

Small egg shape tokens called Identcons play a key role in this proposed emotional communication.

Each of them represents a person's identity.

The objective of With is to respond to growing need for a new, human-oriented communication device that conveys emotional qualities and solidifies people’s relationships by sharing their emotions.

Thank you Idealist for the link!
And thank you Microsoft, IDSA and ICSID for the pictures of the Design Competition.

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