Objects That Give a Hint

What if you can learn from your surrounding?

A lot of things we do on a daily basis, become a habit. We learned them at some point in our lives and then never question them again. Those things could be basic activities like teeth brushing, showering or buying groceries.

To do those things, we have to interact with things. A toothbrush, a shower or a fridge. A lot of those everyday stuff get now connected to the internet. We Put a Chip In It is a really good collection of how to do it wrong. Things do not get „smart“ by only connecting them to the internet. It is crucial to first define what smart really means. To buy automatically a new toothpaste if the old one is getting empty? Is that the smart we are strive for?

What if we define a smart behavior in terms of sustainable and educative? What if we can use IoT to educate people to change their daily habits for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle?

Students of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) ask themselves a similar question: „What If Your Shower Could Help You Use Less Water?“

„Cloud Burst is a smart faucet that gently reminds users when they have used more water in the shower than they intended. The idea was developed by Shruti KNR and Chelsey Wickmark from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID). The duo looked into how a faucet could help us use less water in the shower, without interrupting people’s special ‘me’ time.“
More about the project can be found here.
Cloud Burst by Shruti KNR and Chelsey Wickmark

For a good user experience it is key, that the feedback of the object is subliminal, intrusive and takes place incidental. It does not judge the user or let him feel bad. It only gives him an little advice of how he can improve his behavior. I am also of the same opinion as David Mayman, Senior Interaction Designer at Method: „People are actually more comfortable seeing their information without the hard numbers. They just want the feeling.“ For me that means, most people are not interested in how much steps they took or how many calories they have burned. They only care about because they can set the numbers in context and so they can assesses their performance and behavior. In the end they only want to know if they are doing good or bad in their current context.

Those small tricks can have a huge impact on how people use things which have an impact on its wider implications. I hope that we will see more stuff like that in the future and benefit from these exciting new possibilities.

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