I’ve been thinking about embodied contexts for maps lately, beyond flat paper maps.
I have 3 sets of keys that I carry around and I thought that a simple way of differentiating them would be to design location-relevant key rings. There’s such a familiarity with specific locations like the office, home, your partner’s home, that labels aren’t necessary anymore.
KeyMaps are key rings with a very focused zoomed-in map of where that key goes. The hole in the keyring is the place those keys are connected to. Around them, the area. Something that only the owner could make sense of. Granular, but not too granular.
I think they might be nice made out of wood and generated easily online somewhere.
I’ve been thinking about the role of product design in the upcoming flurry of domestic robot solutions that will soon be thrown at us as consumers. Some quick thoughts.
1. Roomba & AR Drone are only the beginning, the latter entering the doors of our homes through the iPhone’s compatibility. There was a lot of “can I control this from my iPhone” type questions at InnoRobo. The iPhone’s role might grow to control all home tech, however small it might be. This might see the universal remote control market completely disappear in the next 10 years as a result.
2. The objective of Homesense was always to try to look at the home as a hyper-personalised space you couldn’t just stick technology in mindlessly. Assumptions about people’s behaviours and habits were kept to a minimum, if only in the choice of technology we gave them to play with. People made a lot of different things. Home is a highly flexible space where technology lives and dies quickly, objects get used daily or once a year. It’s very hard to operate as a designer in that space without taking this into consideration as robotic companions don’t have a single function. They are not like designing salt and pepper shakers.
3. The politics of domestic space and chores is complex (nice paper by G.Bell here also this ) I like the role of Blinky in this short film. The parental and family tensions that permeate that home is a natural part of what makes a home and not a house. It is intimately linked to why we buy some things. A robot cannot hope to avoid being part of those decision mechanisms.
4. Soft Internet connected devices
I’m quite intrigued by the future appearance of wireless devices that don’t have screens on them at all. I’m reminded of my friend Dana Gordon’s Undercover project. A blanket that plays music in an ambient and personal way. That’s understanding what the power of product design is and automation in a quiet, intimate way.
5. Non-essential goods.
In all this, we have to keep in mind how we treat technology in the home. It’s not about publicly showing off, in the same way we buy phones and clothes. The tensions are different, and the expectations are different too. To close with a comment from a long-time Roomba owner:
A Second Vacuum is a Must
Don’t expect to have any Roomba operate as your only vacuum. They do a great job of keeping the mess down, but we still rely on our Dyson to do it’s weekly job.
I’m trying to think, through Lirec about what the difference is between designing a robot and designing a teapot. I will probably go back to Don Norman’s book (even if I hated it the first time around) shortly but in the meantime, here’s 3 little things I’m thinking about that would possibly justify developing a robot versus a “machine”.
- Does it do the job better than a human?
- Does it help a human?
- Does the human care about it?
There’s stuff there I hadn’t seen in the past 10 years of Milan Furniture Fairs. Projects and depth of thought people don’t put into their work anymore. A slowness about it I liked. I will make something around this soon I think.