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Internet of Things August 31, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, physical interaction design, prototyping tools.

Last year, I wrote an application for research funding together with Prof. Vandenhouten from the University Wildau. We were suggesting to developing a easy-to-use prototyping environment for the next generation of internet of things.

(image taken from the application, artist: A. Knörig)

Similar to the concept behind Fritzing and other high tech prototyping tools we follow the philosophy that making new technology accessible to non-experts leads to a wave of innovation. The art is to design these tools right – with a low entry barrier, high ceiling and wide walls – as Ben Sheiderman describes it in his wonderful paper “Creativity Support Tools” (2006):

“low threshold to enable easy entry for novices, high ceiling to enable experts to work on increasingly sophisticated projects, and wide walls to support a wide range of possible explorations.”

We suggested to not only design a new board, but also to develop a programming environment, which suits the potentials of an always-on hardware. Furthermore we wanted to adress many of the complicated and delicate issues (as privacy) in the background and proved a support platform with courses, sample projects etc.

Our application was perceived positively by the jury – with 91 out of 100 possible points. Unfortunately the German government decided recently to cut down on spending and so only a low percentage of projects have been funded. However, my partner and me decided to submit our application again for this year’s call.

Now, we are looking for partners, especially from telecommunications: even though we are planning to develop an open tool, it would be nice to have a partner, who brings in knowledge in the telecommunication side of this project and – at the same time – has an interest in opening the infrastructure for small-scale and innovative projects – and not only for the classical use cases as the car industry…




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