Connected Devices In The Home

As connected devices becomes more relevant, I predict that home goods companies will want to initiate their own IoT products. The future of connected devices requires new and forward looking mechanisms to control them. Before ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, and mixed reality is broadly obtainable, I will conceptualize how physical interactions beyond the 2-D screen can be a more productive and enjoyable experience.

  • Create concepts for IoT devices that help complete activities within the home. 

  • Prototype objects and forms to imagine how physical interactions can be experienced to control devices

  • Tell the story of product experiences by using video and presentation. 


  • Create delightful and intuitive user experiences through interacting with physical objects that fulfill some basic human needs like security, entertainment, health, and self confidence. 

  • Research current and future forms of ubiquitous computing to understand how we can control the smart home before big data and big context are relevant and popular technologies.

  • Gain my own confidence with form development, prototyping, and model making through iterative concept development and model making processes.

  • Present the user experience to clearly show how the actions we take for granted can be enjoyable and productive through the use of technology.

Check out the process.




Case 1 - Visual Subtlety

A functional task lamp that notifies.

Our notifications are signaled to us through our phones with a sounding ping to keep us connected to our personal data and information. This method is obtrusive by taking us away from task we are concentrating on because we recognize the sound and then immediately grab our phones to see if the notification was important or just something we'd like to read later. I believe a subtle notification through lighting would be less obtrusive than the way we handle personal data delivery currently. Like case 2, what if we identified certain colors with certain kinds of information. Maybe read is entertainment while blue is related to our profession. This creates a hierarchy for our notifications to quickly swipe away the information on the lamp base, or bring the information on the screen.  

Touch sensitive surfaces combine an intuitive physical interaction but the magic of the digital creates an interaction that feels simple. 



Case 2 - Physical Input + Visual Output

A floor lamp that visualizes data in a smart home. 

Before smart homes are fully automated years from now without much human input, systems will make decisions based on context to assume what the user wants. How should we control the environment now? I think that controlling the smart objects and environment around us could be changed with physical interfaces beyond the screen. The object is a controller with an obvious interface that can be learned by using the object without direction. 

With this controller, the user taps on the object to make their selection which becomes understood by the color that is associated with a specific function pre designated by the user. The color corresponds with the visual output device, in this case a lamp to control aspects of the environment ie; temperature, brightness, amplitude, volume, etc. We memorize and remember information through our daily lives. Color gives the opportunity to have many choices with a system like this, and over time, we associate the selection colors with specific function in a smart home system. 



The physical input controller is intended to be simple in form, intuitive to use, and a beautiful object that would evoke curiosity. 


The semi-translucent diffuser has a gradient pattern on the edges to transition the line of light between the black outer frame and the diffuser. 


Individual LED's are programmed to show different interactions of the smart home system

Case 3 : Learning an Interface

Objects that evoke intuitive use.

 A simple interface that uses a reference to the physical world can be understood without screen based imagery . This object is referencing a clock, and when the user touches the object, the clock signifies one of the buttons as 12. The user recognized the object as a clock because of the 12 protruding buttons. In this case, the user is setting an alarm for 8:35. The object then counts down how much time is left before the alarm will sound by the blinking lights. A subtle illuminated reminder.  I imaging objects like this could be organized in different way to adjust different functions beyond time based functions.


Case 4 - Visualizing Data with Light

Connecting haptic data to ambient lighting.

Lets say there are sensors in a babies mattress or better yet, on their wrist to simply sense their heart rate.  By placing this simple light on the wall, The object becomes a symbol of your babies current sleep state. When talking to mothers and fathers, I found that even know their baby is sleeping, they feel the need to check on them to see if they're still breathing. They can quickly observe they're babies heart rate for reassurance. The slow dimming and brightening of the lighting symbolizes the baby and rest and the obtrusive flashing symbolizes crying or restlessness. This type of baby monitor works better than a noise or camera because of it's subtle reminder that will lessen the parents anxiety. 

I see this as a way of visualizing the well being of another person, weather that be a baby or the elderly, to be important because we can quickly acknowledge their current state whenever we think about them or when we see the lamp on the wall without using a screen based application. 

The object becomes a metaphor for a being, which makes the viewer empathize with another person even though they're looking at a lamp on a wall. 


Case 5 - Objects with context

An object that reminds the user to view data. 

By involving big context with home goods, consumption of useful data can be used to inform the user in unobtrusive ways. In this case, a simple mirror is placed near the front door. The user sees the mirror and the physical object reminds her to be informed. Memory alone may not enable her to check her device while the physical object is a cue for her to be curious about what the object will tell her. She engages with the mirror physically and through a touch sensitive surface, she checks the weather throughout the day which prepares her to have a her rain coat for the day. Maybe the mirror could tell her that a meeting was canceled, to buy more groceries, or that her package will be delivered in the afternoon. I see similar home goods objects dispersed throughout the home to blend into a home aesthetic while giving the opportunity to be connected and "smart" when needed.