Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Idea #6: See Me Outside

Just last week, I began taking a Tangible Interfaces course under the legendary Hiroshi Ishii, head of the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab. We spent our first class period learning about the concept of "ambient interfaces", products that augment an environment by unobtrusively conveying information, often with abstract visual representations. Many of the concepts created by those in the Tangible Media Group are endlessly fascinating and beautiful.

During our group breakout sessions, we needed to develop as many concepts as we could that could be designated as ambient. One idea that I'm particularly interested in is this "See Me Outside" concept.

The idea of the product concept is to have a photo frame that dynamically displays your photos that map to the corresponding weather of the day, or even the current level of daylight. There's an interesting meaning to the product as it taps into your emotional memory that already associates current weather conditions with past experiences. While photos themselves are nothing novel, using them to convey information about the weather just might be. After all, do you care about the specific weather details or just whether you'll need an umbrella?


  1. Very interesting concept. So for example, if it's 27C, 80% rh and a mild breeze, the frame would show you and your family,dog out on the beach having a bbq. It would then inspire you to go outside, or at least bring back those pleasant memories. Or since all that weather info is now recorded, you could tie in special occasions to weather patterns: Wedding Day, Birth of Child, New House, etc. People seem to remember the weather on these days, and it would be great to remember (randomly) them when the weather's right.

  2. Yes - and thanks for the feedback! I think there is an underutilized aspect here of photos being more than flat images, they are instead representations of memories and we would be using the weather to conjure up those memories, something we do naturally already.