Principle number four: Humane technology should resonate with the human senses, rather than numbing them.
If you’re an office worker or a video game fanatic, you may spend most of your waking hours staring at a screen, and not tasting, touching, or smelling much of anything. How much more engaging would the constructed environment be if we had squishy computers or scented information? This is the basis of information decoration, which attempts to expand the digital interface beyond the flat screen of a computer or cell phone.
Humane technology recognizes that humans are sensory organisms, made to live in a rich three-dimensional environment. Neurologists have counted between 9 and 20 difference human senses. It’s time we engage more than just the ones required to operate a computer. That blaring 7 AM alarm may be the norm, but it feels better to be awoken by the gradual glow of a sunrise-style lamp or pillow.
Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.
Do you suffer from small health inconveniences and do you like to put salt on your morning egg? Why not combine the two? Medicinal All-Salt provides a low-dosage solution for things like headaches, depression and low libido. You refuse to pay insane amounts for birth control pills? Just season your dinner with the hand-harvested and sun dried salt. Or make it yourself for that matter. Via the site of All-Salt you can find a small guide that will help you to create your own medicinal salt out of the waste-water of your local water treatment plant.
Mushroom based plastics? Designer Eben Bayer must have eaten too much of the wondrous chanterelles perhaps? No seriously, the man is turning his vision into a reality with an utterly–innovative–fungus–grown–plastics–packaging–material.
Welcome in the 21th century folks! Yet we couldn’t help noticing that Eben in his TED talk presents a very traditional, static idea of nature. Amazing that a guy who grows plastics from mushrooms gives a talk so deprived of next nature thinking (rather than seeing nature as static, we should perceive it as a dynamic force that changes along with us).
Hence, we can’t help but wonder what Eben thinks of the bugs that eat plastic – rest a sure, we applaud him nonetheless for his innovative mushroom material.
Chinese designer Daizi Zheng created a conceptual mobile phone for Nokia that could be powered by cola. The idea is the phone could run on a battery that uses enzymes to generate electricity from carbohydrates.
A bio battery is used instead of the traditional battery to create a presumably pollution free environment. Unfortunately the idea bounces back in your face once you calculate the energy required to produce a can of cola. But there is hope, as it won’t require ‘the real thing’ to charge your phone. It will also charge on sugar water.
Besides the benefit of having a fully biodegradability battery, the notion of having your electronic appliances run on the same energy sources as yourself is stimulating, to say the least.
Nowadays buttons are completely mundane and natural objects in our environment. You find them on phones, alarm clocks, keyboards, elevators, dishwashers and of course on the computer screen. You press buttons countless times throughout your day, but hardly think of them consciously.
The little symbols of control are so omnipresent, it is difficult to imagine that buttons did not always exist. Certainly people in the stone age did not press them – taken that nipples do not count as buttons – but we don’t know exactly when we started pushing buttons and who invented them.
Apparently buttons were unknown until the early 20th Century, with the possible exception of valves on wind instruments. When small controls were needed, for example on camera shutters, they were usually styled after latches or triggers.
Recent RCA graduate Nitipak Samsen, took it upon himself to re-investigate and re-design the concept of the button altogether, moving from the button as a symbol of control, an extension of the human desire to harness the planet, to inter-control.
Haroon Baig from Germany has figured out a way to key up the amount of 50+ Twitter addicts.
This progressive nostalgic cuckoo device displays new tweets from any twitter stream or search on the built-in display, “accompanied by the charming yet obtrusive call of a mechanical cuckoo popping out of the clock”.
Our peculiar image of the week learns us that what is good for the environment doesn’t always look good for the environment.
The adieu of this disused tank into the Gulf of Thailand last week looks like a blatantly disgraceful act of dumping waste. Yet all was done in the name of ecology. Trucks and 25 old Army tanks were dropped into the ocean to form artificial corals hoped to improve the ecosystem’s fish stocks.
Now lets hope some future archeologist that might find the tanks won’t mistake the site for an ancient war zone flooded by the trenches of global warming.
Via the Mirror.