‘ Untitled’ – an Unaware Object

Research by Professor Ron Wakkary and Will Odom:
Paper reference : Intersecting with unaware objects

We share the space with the objects around us and thus we also react to the presence and to the functions of products that are not directed at us. This is the heart of an unaware object : An everyday objects perform their function without the ‘awareness’ of users. This doesn’t mean that there is no reaction or intersections with users! As part of the research project of professor Wakkary a module of three weeks was spent on discovering new cases for intersections and the design of unaware objects. 

In this project I teamed up with Sander Dijkhuis who is a skilled programmer and designer. Together we designed ‘untitled’. I

Untitled is a prototype of a side table that has the character to show off. Over time it will rotate its top surface to put the content on display. It can move as high as a museum pedestal. There is no telling on when this function will be executed. As a user, you choose how to deal with this: What do you put on the top surface? And what goes in the drawer? n the design process we provided a new casestudy for the professors to validate and add to their research on interaction design.

Living with a prototype
Surprise intersections or interactions ?
Skeleton of a new prototype

A process of surprise, humor and understanding

This project started with a brainstorm between me and Sander on what we wanted to take from the research; are there (intimit) relations with unaware objects, theory of slow design + pheripheral interaction were all discussed. We settled on a drawer. We build and tested several scenarios, and the winner was the drawer that would lock or show its content whenever it would please.

A lived-with prototype showed us how the display of content let to the more interesting reactions than the locking experience. It was like a suprise gift when the content of the drawer come on display. During the module there was a strong emphasis on making all objects as fancy as possible. Our get-togethers turned into small expo’s. With a wink came the inspiration to combine this in our design: making a table that actually wanted to be an a museum putting work on display but was a coffee table too. 

Where Sander and I worked perfect in synergy on every decision we also had our own roles in the project. I worked on the look and feel of the prototype and made the video. He worked on the sketches and programming.  Taking the course along with us was Wouter van der Wal; who provided everyone with the most awesome product pictures. If you see a beautiful picture featured in this article he deserves the credits.

There are a million things I want to change to this video (mostly the audio) now… But I expect everyone to feel that way when they look at the work of their student time.

This was actually the last project I worked on as a Industrial Design student and it makes me proud on a certain level. After this project I wanted to more involve aspects of culture in my work and thus moved on to study at the University of Maastricht. I remained in touch with both professor Wakkary and professor Odom during my internship at SIAT (SFU) the following year.