Memory Chairs

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Made of recycled aluminum, the amorphic chair, called ‘Memory,’ squishes into a new shape every time someone sits in it. Yoshioka designed the futuristic-looking piece of furniture for Italian brand, Moroso.

Interaction Modalities

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Multimodal Interfaces

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The use of speech and gestures simultaneously, is a relatively new area of research. Sharon Oviatt has studied the use of speech and gesture in a pen-based, geographic map application. When given the choice to issue commands with a pen and/or voice, users preferred to convey locatives (i.e. points, lines, and areas) with the pen, while they preferred speech for describing objects and giving commands.  For intelligent environments, this means that perhaps the most important gesture to detect is pointing, while other commands should, initially at least, be left for voice.

High-tech Toilet

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In Japan, the global leader in high-tech toilet design, market leader Toto presents the latest “intelligent” model – it offers its users an instant health checkup every time they answer the call of nature. It provides urine analysis, takes the user’s blood pressure and body temperature, and measures their weight with a built in floor scale. The information is read on a screen next to the toilet or on a mirror when you wash your hands. Giving tips on what you should eat/drink to improve the potential deficiencies in vitamins and minerals detected in the urine.

Blue Crystal

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Located offshore Dubai,  the Blue Crystal integrates a tracking system capable of identifying the footprints of the visitors, in specific areas, enabling them to leave their mark on the surroundings by projecting the footprints on the ground behind them. As soon as the dusk become evident on the horizon, the structure transforms into a splendid illumination, which keeps changing after each hour like a giant timepiece, giving a magnificent view to the spectators on the mainland. The Blue Crystal is adorned with interactive tables that integrating a watery surface to let the guests use an interface to play with sound waves.

Cybertecture Egg

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The Cybertecture Egg, in Indias Mumbia, will be one of the most high-tech offices in the world with PV panels, a wind turbine and a sky garden that will generate electricity via thermolysis as well as an eco-cool water filtration system that will recycle grey water for use in the building. The futuristic office will also have on-site health check systems like weigh-ins and blood pressure monitors installed in the washrooms.


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Media architecture collective Urban Alliance has recently finished the Moodwall, a 24 meter long interactive light installation in Amsterdam. The Moodwall is situated in a pedestrian tunnel and interacts with people passing by, improving the atmosphere in the tunnel and helping to make the environment feel safer.

The interactive urban wallpaper is built out of about 2500 leds behind a ribbed semi-transparent wall.

Goal Orientated System

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The smart environment is made up of numerous ubiquitous computing devices. They each function to sense and actuate according to a given occupant’s need. But what happens when one device contradicts the other? How can the devices cooperate so that a ubiquitous computing environment responds correctly, as a whole?


The answer is a system driven by a user’s goal – where the system generates the strategy.


A user’s needs may be quite varied and the smart environment’s devices must cooperate with each other in unison. In addition, as users add or remove devices to their smart environment, ubiquitous computing technologies must easily allow for such user changes.


If the design objectives are laid out in a systematic way it is possible to translate them into a series of sequential steps. Therefore they are programmable in terms of computation for a Goal Orientated System.


smart environments and smart objects

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Smart environments sense objects as well as its occupants, leading to data and therefore a response which is contextualised.  This idea of sensing context means that a given environment can sense what goes on within it to determine an environment to assist the occupants needs. Features like person recognition, person location, person activity and person expression may all be sensed by smart architecture. Additionally, objects can be tracked through object tracking and object recognition.


A Question to Consider

So, what happens to architectural design as environments become smarter? How will the user interface design of architectural features look and feel? What will happen to interior design and architecture as ubiquitous computing becomes more widespread?


Occupants will begin to communicate with their environments more and more. Occupants will intuitively gesture and move, subconsciously sending signals to their surroundings, allowing the brain of the system to absorb behaviours and the state of mode to adapt accordingly.


Smart devices are the first step towards creating a habitat of smart sensing orientations. These smart objects are the interface of communication and productivity, providing a smart interface between us and our intended outcome. Combining smart devices and smart architecture will enable a two way perceptual process between the occupant to the environment and the environment to the occupant.


What mood is the City?

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3 Month installation in Stockholm, the Haymarketscrapers towers reflect the mood of citizens by changing colour. Purple signifies deep depression, while a bright red means citizens are happy!  People can rate their mood for the day by logging onto a website to rate their mood by clicking on one of a scale of 7 colours, signifying moods.


What do we want?

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Imagine how much more effective the design process would be if you knew what your clients were really thinking. What colors inspire them? How do they interact with their physical environments? How does sunlight make them feel?

Answers to such questions are rarely gathered during typical pre-design planning sessions. For one thing, design teams rarely delve that deeply into the human psyche of end users. And most people have difficulty verbalizing this kind of subjective information.

Research shows that only 5% of what the average person thinks can be expressed verbally,  the other 95% is hidden deep within the subconscious.

Integrated technology

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Aarts and Marzano (2003) have named the key elements of ambient intelligence:
  • Embedded – Many networked devices are integrated into the environment
  • Context aware –  These devices can recognize you and your situational
  • Personalized – They can be tailored towards your needs
  • Adaptive – They can change in response to you
  • Anticipatory – They can anticipate your desires without conscious meditation

Smart Textiles

To be useful in an ambience design context an intelligent textile has to have an embedded information technology system which enables twoway interaction between the system and an individual user, and interaction in unison among a user group connected to the system. Personal carrying devices such as mobile phones and MP3 players, and RFID tags attached to items, clothing and environments, can also be used as atmosphere adjusting technology, and integrated with textiles.

Philips and Orange collaboration – Relaxing game

”The game is based on the concept that the more you relax, the more you will achieve in the game. To play the game, simply slide it between any two fingers and relax. You see yourself on screen as a friendly dragon; the more you relax the more your dragon will float and eventually fly. The meshlike textile material contains sensors but is soft to the touch.”


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A four dimensional model of experience according to Pine and Gillmore (1998).

Multimodal Experiment

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To get in touch with the basic psychological phenomena which affect a multimodal environment two quite simple AD rooms were designed. Both a relaxing and a stimulating atmosphere were created by adjusting five  parameters: materials, colour illumination, music and furniture colour and material.
The goal of this experiment was to find out the way participants reflected upon their experience of being in a designed room. These reflections were collected in a qualitative method and analyzed according to a holistic approach in order to better understand the experiential process.
The relaxing room

In the relaxing room the seat was upholstered with a synthetic, even and flat fabric. The color of the seat was a light turquoise. The room was illuminated by using only blue fluorescent tubes in the luminaries. The  illumination of the room was measured at two different spots: through the divider material (30 lux) and from above the seat (15 lux). The music played in the relaxing condition was Brian Eno’s Ikebukuro.

The stimulating room

In the stimulating room an identical round seat was used. However, the upholstery was a bright and structured red cotton. A piece of the same kind of bright and structured red cotton fabric was placed on the floor between the seat and the mirror as a mat. The illumination in the stimulating room was created by mixing red, white and blue tubes.  The illumination provided through the divider material was 135 lux and above the seat 70 lux. The music in the stimulating condition was Lindsay Buckland’s Trans Amazonian Highway.

Participants and procedure

Twentyone participants (10 females and 11 males) were gathered from the various student mailing lists within the Helsinki University of Technology. In the actual test situation the participants were asked to sit down in the room and fill in a stress monitor questionnaire.


The participants in the relaxing room perceived their environment in an integrated way. They also paid attention to characteristics that were more of a combination of different stimuli than individual stimuli. For instance softness was often described as a result of materials, illumination and music. The participants perceived the music as being the most noticeable perceptual modality in the room.

In the stimulating room the perceptual descriptions and the focus of the participants’ attention were more concentrated on individual descriptions of a few stimuli. These stimuli were materials such as, the divider, illumination, the overall simplicity of the design and colors. The participants in the stimulating room perceived the music as being the most noticeable perceptual modality. Also colours, materials and the space divider drew their attention.

The laboratory conditions with surveillance systems, used in this experiment, could be more useful in other research paths, which could also be beneficial for the development of AMDE. The hybrid method should be applied to gain more knowledge concerning single modalities, e.g. sound, luminance, colours, materials and their interaction in more strictly determined environments.

Stress and Therapy

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Studies have shown that between 70 and 80 percent of all disease and illness is stress related. Stress research has shown that regulating environmental factors decreases the risk of stress related illnesses. Model to show different types of comfort.

Music Therapy

There has recently been a considerable interest in the therapeutic potential of music.  A neurological study involving subjects connected to an electroencephalograph (EEG device) while listening to slowtempo music  revealed that the musical rhythm quickly synchronized brain rhythms to its beat an effect also seen with strobe lights.

Colour Therapy

Exposure to coloured light is another technique for promoting relaxation. Colour therapy has been traced back to ancient Egypt, where patients at a healing temple were treated in rooms designed to break up the sun’s rays into colours of the spectrum. I

Classic Panel

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Wall panel .The CLASSIC PANEL is the recipient of the 2003 ROEDER AWARD as well as the European REDDOT AWARD.  When in the TONE mode, the panel changes colors to voice and rhythm of music.

ULife South Korea

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The ULife South Korea plans to spend $25 billion on New Songdo, the world’s largest “ubiquitous city,” with computers linking home life and life on its streets. Construction, 40 miles from Seoul, is to be done in 2014.

Ambience Design

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Ambience design communicates with all senses. Holistic experiences which take into account hearing, sight, taste, scent and touch are created using transdisciplinary design. Ambience design means a shift from mere visual impressions to lived experiences.
Smart materials and spaces can be successfully exploited in ambience design. The goal is to increase the interaction between environments and their users.
The central feature of ambience design is to create a changing identity. Tapio Mäkelä has stated:
“We need to design for time and place, or rather, for situations, durations, and different localities. Because the rhythm of life is accelerating, design has to better take into account fast user interactions while people are mobile and the varied multisensory and social conditions we inhabit. Furthermore, slowing down the pace of life and creating more static spaces can counterbalance the increasingly fragmented and dispersed everyday urban work and leisure. In my opinion, realizing this is central in order to design for increased welfare”
(Mäkelä 2006

Brain Activity Mapping

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Plug in application for the Emotiv headset displays a real-time map of your mental activity in four significant brainwave frequency bands. These are:

Delta (0.5-4Hz)
– indicating deep sleep, restfulness, and conversely excitement or agitation when delta waves are suppressed

Theta (4-8Hz) – indicating deep meditative states, daydreaming and automatic tasks

Alpha (8-15Hz) – indicating relaxed alertness, restful and meditative states

Beta (15-30Hz) – indicating wakefulness, alertness, mental engagement and conscious processing of information

Ambient Control through Cognitive Data

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The Emotiv headset allows users the ability to wirelessly control objects through expression, emotion and cognitive data.Based on the EEG technology, emotiv has transformed the cognitive control patterns into a wearable remote control. This headset allows for control of real-time data which can directly a UI or environment. For example, your mood state could drive the meta-data relationships in a user interface to show you only particular images from your Flickr account or directly affect the physical geometry of the user’s seat as they read a book.