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Enchanted Objects, or Ordinary Things Made Extraordinary #exsum13

Sogeti Labs
October 10, 2013

Rose2For MIT Media Lab’s famous researcher and entrepreneur David Rose ‘enchanted objects’ is the preferable way to relate to digital technology, the other three being ‘terminal (screen) world,’ ‘prosthetics,’ and ‘social robots.’ David’s new book Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things will be published in May 2014. According to Mr. Rose enchanted objects are ordinary things, made extraordinary, for instance the Anoto pen, which is already an evergreen. It uses normal ink and has a built-in infrared camera, parallel to the ink cartridge. The camera takes 75 images a second and thus helps any company and industry improve their workflow, converting handwriting to computer data instantaneously. Enchanted things are everyday things, augmented and connected, like trashcans, wallets and ambient furniture. To answer the important question of which things we should start to enchant, you just have to study the history of the future and scan for fantasies like the autonomously driving car. Primal wishes are revealed though fables and fairy tales, for instance the talking mirror. Enchantment creates better affordances, like the ambient umbrella which lights up blue when precipitation is likely to occur. Enchanted objects satisfy our six latent drives, dreams and wishes: omniscience, telepathy, protection, immortality, teleportation and expression. Imagine a table centerpiece that listens to the room’s conversation, and provides visual feedback about the balance of conversation. Or Glowcaps, the smart pill bottle that successfully monitors and controls medicine adherence, the adherence rate going up from 71% to 98%. Or the Babolat Play Pure Drive sensor-packed tennis racket and mobile app. David Rose is full of convincing exemples, like ditto, the Shazam service for photos that automatically adds context and organizes pictures. Ditto works inside Facebook: no app needed. Ditto also helps companies track social influence, sentiment and virality through photos. Asked what special abilities enchanted objects offer, David Rose mentions eleven categories: glanceability, wearability, useability, loveability, tangibility, learnability, expressability, gestureability, ingestability, affordability, sociability, and even the smokeability of the Blu electronic cigarettes. Eventually, Mr. Rose is certain, there won’t be a product category unaffected by enchanted objects.

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