2010 Connected Products for IDEO
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Conceptual future products exploration
These conceptual products’ purpose is to show how the businessperson of 2010 can not only cope with intensely increased technological and information presence in their lives, but also improve their work and play experiences via vastly improved access to and control over information. The overall design solution involves smart-as-they-need-to-be connected devices tethered to an extremely smart (AI-enabled) network, with a combination of novel product form factors, seamless and scalable interaction design, and use of smart materials.
Included in the suite of products from this exploration:
The Agent: The PDA of the future, providing communications and personal management services. It will screen, reply-to, store, and forward incoming messages, survey and present info, and manage user’s personal data based upon learned profiles. A thumbprint scanner and wireless connectivity allow it to become a medical monitor with sensor patches, to collect data from the stick-on Sports Watch, to authenticate users and approve e-cash transactions, and to serve as a universal remote control. One-number telephone access and an ear-piece will obsolete the cellular telephone of today.
Sports Watches: Today’s sports watch (stopwatch, barometer, altimeter, etc) plus vital statistics and performance analysis conveyed to the Agent wirelessly. A hydro-gel adhesive back allows for hours of comfortable wear, stretching with the user’s skin, allowing moisture to pass through, and adhering for hours.
Media Panel: This replaces today’s video display. Hung on the wall or placed at an adjustable angle on the desktop, and interacts with the Agent to automatically present data in a manageable way. Pull-out speakers, camera, and mic afford communication with network videoconference and media services. Wireless links to multiple Agents and the Home Server allow use of the Personal Printer and other peripherals provide complete home computing function in a distributed manner.
E-quill: This product captures handwriting, stores it, and forwards it to the Agent or the Tube as either script or digitized text. Interchangeable tips allow for writing on a number of surfaces (paper, white board, tables where no writing occurs).
Personal Printer/scanner: Printing will still be in demand, but in a more limited sense. The paper simply drops in the rear slot and exits out the front slot.
The Tube: A concept for the laptop of 2010, featuring scalable, flexible roll-out LCD screens. External indicators and a small LCD screen on the end of the Tube convey top-level info, and a voice interface eliminates the keyboard.
Home Server: This product links all the other products, and also monitors and connects home appliances, security devices, and oversees telecommunications within the home.
Privacy Glasses: Inexpensive eyewear that incorporates display, noise control, light control, and vision enhancement at night. The earpieces, along with wireless links to the Agent and Tube, among other devices, afford the user completely private audio reception.
The concepts benefit the user by providing unprecedented user control over personal electronic products form factor, function, and presentation and management of information. The range of products shows how ubiquitous access to information can be afforded to the user in transparent and diverse ways. Brainstorming in numerous cities across North America and in Europe produced a long list of ideas and problem statements that informed the design of these product concepts. Futurist literature and studies were surveyed to inform the design process and inspire novelty in the concepts. Scenarios were constructed around the busy professional of 2010 to test and refine the concepts.
All of these concept products together will help users cope with the high tide of data and messages forecast for 2010. The AI functionality resident in these devices and the network connecting them will relieve users of the burdens of dealing with too many messages by autonomously dealing with each message for the user, based upon a learned profile. This service will free people to focus on face-to-face human interactions, and we hope reduce the tensions swirling around public cell-phone use, for example, that are prevalent today.
Project date: 1999