The Ambient Furniture project lead by MIT Media Lab's Tangible Media group Hiroshi Ishii, David Rose, and Shaun Salzberg consists of 6 prototype furniture concepts that mix "apps with the IKEA catalog" to explore ideas on peripheral awareness, incidental gestures, pre-attentive processing, and eavesdropping interfaces when embedded into our everday objects.
Furniture is the infrastructure for human activity. Every day we open cabinets and drawers, share a conversation around a coffee table, relax into a lounge chair, and toss out trash. How can digital technology augment these gestures in subtle and delightful ways?
Description: The Skype Cabinet is always on. No more setup, log-ins, bad lighting, or headphones. Each cabinet is a dedicated portal between you and your closest friendsor family.
Place it wherever you live most and assign a space to everyone you know. The translucent doors glow when your friends are nearby, and you can open the cabinet to start a conversation. With crystal clear sound and perfect lighting, you can share a special moment or just hang out together.
Description: When you're serious about saving energy a monthly bill doesn't cut it. The energy clock gives you real-time, instant feedback on your household energy consumption. It learns your energy consumption habits, then gives you subtle feedback on how you're tracking against yourself. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all it takes to make a difference!
Description: Early evenings are always a little hectic, but family planning just got a lot easier. The Google Latitude Doorbell plays subtle chimes to tell you when someone's on their way, and getting home soon. Knowing that Mom’s ten minutes away lets you put the pasta on at exactly the right time. Each person in the house has their own signature chime.
Additional Coverage: Paul Franzosa, Boston Globe
Image Credits: MIT Tangible Media Lab