All posts filed under “Objects

Play inspired furniture

Continuing research into play in everyday situations, I was very happy to stumble upon the Play! range from BCXSY (cooperative between designers Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto).

“PLAY! consists of a collection of products that was conceived out of a desire to bring a sense of nostalgia and playfulness into the grown-up environment. Recognizable childhood motifs and patterns are reborn and remolded into new designs for furniture, lighting, and home ware”.

BCXSY Book shelf
Every book tells its own story. Every book has its own weight. By playing with balance, the See-Saw bookshelf visualizes the breadth of our home libraries.

Swing Lamp
Never again feel alone in the dark! The Swing Lamp creates a comforting ambiance through lighting and movement. Materials: Acryl-glass, rope, SMD LED lighting with press-switch mechanism.

Coffee Table
The PLAY! Coffee Table has a slide-puzzle top. With each arrangement, the missing piece reveals one of sixteen storage boxes.

Kinetic Sculptures by Conrad Shawcross

Conrad Shawcross

London based artist Conrad Shawcross creates these fantastic kinetic sculptures that draw inspiration from philosophy and scientific theories.

Shown above is ‘Loop System Quintet‘ (2005):
“Each of the five oak machines in Loop System Quintet – connected by a single drive-shaft – draws a different ‘knot’ of light in space, predetermined by the ratio of the cogs that drive it. These ratios are directly related to formal theories of musical harmony (Harmonics). The resulting light patterns, perceived by the viewer only as the machines rotate, can therefore be regarded as visual transcriptions of musical chords….The circles of energy produced by the lights also relate to string theory, a complex scientific theory stating that matter is comprised of vibrating ‘strings’ of energy rather than single, isolated particles”

Watch video

Conrad Shawcross

Created in 2004, ‘Light Perpeptual I‘ (2004) must have been a precursor to the work above.

“Displayed in a darkened gallery, the device works as a giant drawing machine, blasting it’s luminous patterns through the wire grid onto the walls, leaving the viewer seeing spots, like from staring into the sun. Conrad Shawcross isn’t making paintings on canvas, but rather through mechanical invention, he’s imprinting his image directly into the eye”

Further reading & sources above:
In the studio: Conrad Shawcross (Telegraph, 2005)
Conrad Shawcross, sculptor (Guardian, 2006)
Portrait of the artist as a young boffin (Observer, 2005)
BBC Feature

The exhibition ‘No Such Thing As One‘ brings together a body of work that explores ideas concerning time and the essence of matter. On display at the Victoria Miro gallery, east London, until 18th November.

You may also want to visit the Kinetica Museum in Spitalfields to see more moving sculpture artworks.

Philips Simplicity

Last week in London, Philips held an event to preview new potential products ‘that demonstrate its sense and simplicity brand positioning’. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the event, but below are a few products that I find interesting. Many of these follow approaches that I have seen from interaction designers and students in the past.

Here is a press article, product gallery and gadget centre article.

Drag and Draw
Drag & Draw turns the whole house into a canvas for a child to draw on. Very little technical info, but by the looks of it, the bucket contains a laser projector and tracks the ‘magic wand’ (a pen with a light on), projecting the augmented drawing back on to the walls. Includes an eraser and basic animation frame features.

Storyteller aims to bring story time to life. Whilst the parent reads the story, the child shines a torch on the wall that contains moving images relating to that part of the story.

Chameleon is a floor lamp that uses a colour sensor to change its colour to whatever object you hold up to it. Like a larger version of RGBy.

Wake-up Light is an alarm clock with a light that glows brighter nearer the time of wake-up, making you wake up naturally like a sunrise. I could do with one of these in the winter. Related -> light sleeper; bedding that lights up in the same way from

The amBX system aims to give PC gamers a more immersive experience. This usb devices allows games to control rgb lights, air fans and a vibrating wrist rest. Video (WMV)/ Interactive Demo

“A simple stroke of the uWand allows users to intuitively point at a device and to scroll, select, play and move elements. The uWand is a simple instrument to control all content at home; from music to films and from TV channels to family photographs. Philips hopes that the uWand will stimulate product designers to rethink user interfaces to make them more simple and designed around the consumer”. This seems very much like a Nintendo Wiimote.

Trans Light – handheld sun-like light that shines energizing blue light into the face as soon as opened, helping to compensate for the lack of natural light – anytime, anywhere

Ambi Cat Lab
Ambient Experience Catheterization Lab (Ambi Cat Lab) – designed to improve the workflow of physicians and reduce anxiety of heart patients undergoing catheterization.

Go here to see everything.

Interactive & audible print, by Simon Elvins

Simon Elvins, a graduate from MA Communication Art & Design at the RCA, has created a number of interesting works dealing with print as an interactive interface for sound.

Notation : “This is part of an ongoing exploration into sound, print and notation, and looks at ways of linking sound to the printed page. Using a simple sounder, the project aims to directly relate tonal values of pattern and drawing, into a tonal scales of
sound and music”.

FM Radio Map
FM Radio Map : “This map plots the location of FM commercial and pirate radio stations within London.The poster works in its own right as a piece of information design, but when connected to the modified radio it becomes part of the interface. Each map is made site specific by connecting only the stations that can be received in that location. This is done by drawing power lines in pencil on the back of the map, which conducts electricity from the radio to the front of the poster.Placing a metal contact onto each point enables us to listen to the sound broadcast live from that location”.

Sound Book
Sound Book : “Writings on the use of sound within Art and Design. Includes interactive typography and audio CD which can be played through the book when connected to a CD player”.

Related post:

Between Blinks & Buttons

Sascha Pohflepp got in touch to let me know about his final project at UDK in Berlin, titled Between Blinks & Buttons. Nice one Sascha.

Between Blinks & Buttons are two projects about the camera as a networked object. Through making their photos public on the internet, individuals create traces of themselves. In addition to their value as a memory, each image contains a multitude of information about the context of its creation. Cameras become context-recorders which create references that go well beyond taking a photo.

Through this metainformation, every image is linked to the precise moment in time when it was taken, making it possible to see what happened simultaneously in the world at that instant. This work tries to focus the user’s imagination on that other, to create narratives that run between one’s own memory and a stranger’s moment which happened to coincide in time.


Blinks is a table-top interactive, where projected photos are scattered on the surface. Placing a glass prism over a photo causes it to refract the light to the sides of the table. The really clever part, is that this light contains projections of other photos taken at exactly the same moment in other locations (the software searches Flickr using the api). The user can browse photos through fragments of time, and also upload their own photos via Bluetooth.

Watch video.


Buttons is camera that takes other peoples photos. Buttons has no optical input, by pressing the button you remember your moment, but it also retrieves the stored moment of others from the internet on Flickr. You then wait for a Flickr user to upload a photo taken at the same time as your moment. Created using a mobile phone, Mobile Processing and custom PHP code. Watch video. Great stuff.

The Sprochs

Reporting on the Royal College of Art Show 2006. Read more on Pixelsumo.


The Sprochs from Daniel Goddemeyer (Interaction Design) are a family of characters that allow you to record a single voice message, then pass it on to someone else. Upon recording your message, you can set the level of effort and care from the receipient required to hear the message (by turning the ear like antenna). The inputs that the Sprochs reacts to can be time, light, the sun, air quality or smoke etc.

“Unfortunately, due to unlucky circumstances, the Sprochs have beared some rather unwanted children in the past who, once in a while, wake up by themselves, demand attention and the exposure to a certain sensory input within a certain timeframe. If not given this attention demanded for, the message will eventually be deleted and is forever lost…

A look at how curiosity can be used to change behaviours or motivate”.

Unfortunately the Sprochs didn’t want to come out and play during the show and were on display in a glass box, but you get the idea.


More from Daniel : Smoke, Heart and Talk dolls,

Photos on Flickr.

Progress Bar

Reporting on the Royal College of Art Show 2006. Read more on Pixelsumo.

Progress Bar

Progress Bar from Eyal Burstein (Interaction Design) are objects that visualise periods between one week and one hundred years, and are used to review the progress of goals, aims, ambitions or any other long-term interest, which might get left behind because of every day life distractions.

Time is inputted with a simple turning mechanism and is visualized through calming radiating lights. The Progress Bar is a minimal and elegant object, which asks for very little attention or upkeep, it lies in the background serving as a gentle reminder.

Photos on Flickr.

Sketch and Share, a networked toy

Sketch & Share

Sketch & Share by Robert Faludi, John Schimmel & Grace Kim is a collaborative sketch pad toys for sharing drawings and sounds over distance. Developed as part of the networked objects & toy design class at ITP. User scenario:

Children turn on the toy and begin pressing lit buttons to create patterns. Each button press activates a sound, and the child can toggle between a variety of amusing and annoying sounds including lasers, elephants and doorbells. Each toy can be paired with another toy over a local wireless connection, or over long distances using the Internet. So children in remote locations can draw together, play games like tic-tac-toe and share a variety of funny sounds. There is also a software version of Sketch & Share that runs on a computer, and can connect to any Sketch & Share toy over the Internet. Grandparents and family friends can join in the fun from wherever they live, and take an active role in the child’s playtime–strengthening the bonds with that child.

Part of the ITP NYU Show

Sketch & Share



iScratch by Shosei Oishi (a student of IAMAS Japan) is software which enables you to scratch audio files like analog record using iPod’s touch wheel. Shosei re-wrote the pre-installed open source audio play program of Pozilla to be able to scratch audio files, and works using Linux.

I got to try this at the Takeaway festival and is great fun to use, an obvious metaphor that works without explanation. iScratch will be on display in the up coming Cybersonica exhibition.


Shosei is also a member of the Breadboard Band:

The Breadboard Band is a performing band that uses breadboards made of freely constructed electronic circuits to play music. We produce audio and visual expression through the most minimal, fundamental elements in the form of showing the electronic components of an instrument while directly touching and forming the electronic circuit by hand. The electric signals released from hand-made electronic circuits releases extremely rough and ferocious wave patterns. This performance is based on improvisational interplay, and we pull powerful music into shape through each member’s operation, while discovering new sounds by hand.

Bread Board Band