Getting Closer to Mind-reading Products

A lamp that changes color based on your facial expression:

Wired cover story this month:
In the Programmable World, All Our Objects Will Act as One

Just announced:
Arduino Yún with on-board WiFi

Vittorio Cuculo took an Arduino, an RGB LED, and an IKEA lamp and programmed the system to recognize your facial expression and change the color of the light based on how it thinks you’re feeling. I’ll say that again. How it thinks you’re feeling. Sure, it’s a simple interaction and it may be easy to argue the utility of such a system, but projects like this represent significant steps into the future of our interactions with the physical objects we own even though the steps may appear, at first blush, to be small.

via Arduino Blog

$20,000 For Your Best Idea

That’s what LG is willing to pay in their Design the Future Competition:

What we’re looking for
Predict what’s next. What do you think the next generation of mobile phones should work or look like for the U.S. market in the next 2 to 3 years? We are asking for your help. We’re NOT looking for a long list of specs or phone ideas that already exist. We’re looking for a cool new concept or “big idea” supported by usage scenario and user experience illustrations.

Who doesn’t have a cool new concept or “big idea” they’d love to share? Among the support documentation I found this: 4 Tips For Success which provides a pretty good starting point for any product development project:

  1. Find a Good Problem to Solve
  2. Do Your Homework
  3. Carefully Craft Your Pitch

But the real gem is about halfway down the page:

How to Innovate

  1. Select a product or service to innovate.
  2. Create a list of its components.
  3. Apply a TEMPLATE to each component. This creates a VIRTUAL PRODUCT. It is virtual because it does not exist. It should not seem to make any sense to you at first. That is okay…that is how the method works.
  4. Take the VIRTUAL PRODUCT and think of all the ways it could be useful. What problems does it solve? What benefits does it offer? Who would use it?
  5. Repeat the process using a different component.
  6. Repeat the entire process using a different TEMPLATE.

There you have it. If only it were that easy…

On a more serious note, Autodesk is a sponsor and I really like what they have been doing with their software lately to enable designers to design. On par with Siemens’ Synchronous Technology.

Comments are happening on the new Form Loves Function Discussion Forum.

Nexus One Design Videos

These are a bit heavy on the marketing-speak and not as deep into the details as I like to get, but there are a few interesting bits making these videos worth posting; hardware and software designed in conjunction, optimization of the 3D engine, and insight into the magnitude of physical testing going into design validation.

Episode 1: Concept & Design

Episode 2: Display and 3D Framework

Episode 3: Testing

Episode 4: Manufacturing

Episode 5: Day One (all marketing here, but kinda cool to see all the pieces in action together)

I’d love to see how they make that sheetmetal housing. Hydroforming? Tricky welding?