Category Archives: Assignments

Designing Meta Products

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Designing the Internet of Things

A computer processor such as Intel’s i486 used to cost around the same as a small car. Nowadays a chip with similar power is the price of a chocolate bar. As sensors, actuators and the technologies that let them talk to each other become smaller and less expensive, more and more objects will be embedded with electronics and network enabled. This evolution of making products more intelligent is changing our relationship to computers and information.

We can make these objects aware, think and communicate. Pundits have dubbed this “physical computing”, “the Internet of Things”, or “Meta Products”, these intelligent devices are physical objects that combine network connectivity with sensors, controls and actuators to make information more meaningful and perhaps change behaviours in positive ways. We’re already beginning to see an increase in the number of connected objects dedicated to one purpose. These objects are custom fit to do a specific thing better and more conveniently than a smartphone app.

But what does it mean to “connect an object to the Internet”? Clearly, sticking an Ethernet socket into a chair or a 3G modem into a sewing machine doesn’t suddenly imbue the object with mysterious properties. The goal is to pull all of the data back into a human sphere where people can add value.

Research & problem definition
Brainstorming & ideation
Sketching & interaction articulation
Produce a prototype & presentation

Project Due: October 16th

Prototype, Presentation & Documentation

Read Chapter 1-2 of Meta Products book

Possible Domains

  • Health Care
  • Transportation
  • Energy
  • Entertainment
  • Play/Fun
  • Fitness