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Unhappy Objects
Jamais Cascio, 12 Feb 04

Nice brief posting over at the Future Salon blog about RFID tags, the little radio-responsive chips increasingly used by companies such as WalMart to keep track of inventory. It's not a full-blown proposal, more of an insightful observation, but it does push me to think about what kind of relationship I'd like to have with my immediate surroundings:

Suppose my coffee cup had a sensor in the bottom, a battery in the handle, and the knowledge that if it starts out full of hot liquid and winds up, 4 hours later, full of cold liquid, it should be deeply unhappy and attempt to complain loudly and vociferously.

We could have an RFID-based system running in the house that looks for all the unhappy objects.

More generally, if my objects had a notion of home (or if the system had a notion of home), wouldn't life be wonderful. Suppose I could tell my house: the date/calendar book should be near the suitcase. And the suitcase should be in the bookcase near the front door.

Such a system would be quite useful for those of us who seem to have a genetic propensity towards clutter.

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Perhaps. It could also be a powerful irritator for those of us who'd prefer to shove the mess into a closet and not be bothered with it. I don't want objects to tell me where they should be...that's got the model backward. I want the object to know that it should be where I put it, and be able to remind me where it is. THAT'S useful.

Posted by: BJ on 13 Feb 04

I think I'll stick to trying to make do with less objects ;-)

Posted by: Zaid on 13 Feb 04



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