Monday, September 18, 2006

As a designer, I have always had a fascination with the products and objects we produce. The marketplace truly offers a mind-boggling array of choices, ready to meet the consumer’s smallest need. But while some products become huge successes, others are doomed to the scrapheap. What is it that differentiates these?

Besides the obvious components of price, function, brand and marketing, there is often an emotional attribute to a successful product. This emotional component can sway our choice when purchasing an item, or it may be the sole factor in our decision to buy. Designers have long tried to build in this emotional connection, both as a way to express the product’s function as well as a way to set it apart from its competitors. Through form and materials, designers have been able to create “cute” or “sexy” or “friendly” objects.

It is my intention to develop a series of objects whose emotional connection goes a little deeper than just the surface. With microprocessors and sensors, my objects will monitor and respond to their surroundings and to the way they’re used. The objects will be embedded with several “emotions” (most likely contrasting) such as friendly/unfriendly, or optimistic/depressed. The objects’ behaviors will only reveal themselves through interactions with the user.


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