The way that data can be incorporated into our physical environments is, for us, the most interesting aspect of the internet of things. Way back in 2011 we took part in a two day hack to explore how it might be possible to introduce data into the home in delicate, unobtrusive and magical ways. A foil to the more utilitarian-style consumer electronic products that are typically found in this field.
The cabinet consisted of a series of RFID embedded avatars, each representing a useful data set (e.g. local transport status, the home environment or the location of family members). A small decorative shelving unit containing a hidden pico projector was mounted to the wall above a chosen trigger surface, onto which a small circle of light was projected. Underneath the circle, on the underside of the trigger surface, an RFID reader was mounted.
Placing an avatar into the projected circle triggered the appearance of a graphical data overlay that showed just the data relevant to that object. Once the avatar is removed, the data disappeared and the system became invisible again.
The cabinet really offered nothing that can’t already be achieved via a smart phone, but it’s instead more concerned with the quality of the user experience rather than the sheer speed in which data can be delivered to us. It’s about the entire journey, not just the destination.