01.tangible examples

Figured it out! Sorry!

Nike + iPod website

Using Nike iPod shoes you can put a sensor into the insoles of the shoes. Your iPod tells you the distance, speed, and calories burned while you run, and you can program motivational songs in case you start to get tired. Then, when you reconnect your iPod to your computer, it saves all of your speeds and distances to reference in the future. You can also use the sensor to hook into cardio machines and save those workouts—I haven’t seen this part in action yet, but it is advertised on the Apple website. The sensor is $29. The shoes are $80. Not the right fit for everyone, but that’s relatively cheap for a pair of running shoes. I think this is so exciting because it is a commercial record of human motion. On Kawara is an artist who paints the date on days that feel right, and lines the back of his canvas with the first page of the major newspaper that day of the country he is in at the time. His paintings are famously known as fourth-dimensional and non-subjective self portraits because they record his motion over time. I think of the shoes as little On Kawaras, adding objective information about me over time to a hard drive.  They also tell you if you’ve improved or gotten worse, weaker or stronger, somehow objectively evaluate you in a way I think is unique today.

T-qualizer website

T-qualizers are sound sensitive T-shirts that depict an equalizer of some sort that responds to music. These equalizers are “electroluminescent panel[s]” on which the user can adjust sensitivity. At $35 they are affordable to everyone, but already somewhat stigmatized because they are so tacky-looking.  I find it mind-blowing that they more than just blend in as a common technology, but are discarded as cheap and tacky. What will the next generation think is tacky? When I was “a kid” (lets say a decade ago), yo-yos with little LEDs were tacky.  Sound-sensitive light-up t-shirts for $35 weren’t even within what I thought would be my lifetime.  I think in the near future, relatively complex programming on relatively thin and discard-able surfaces could be useful, amusing. I can just imagine going to a Disney-owned restaurant (or any moderately-priced chain restaurant really) and getting a placemat on which I can draw with light or that tells me when my order will be ready.


~ by Garrett Nickerson on January 14, 2010.

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