From mass production to I-production

A recent article claimed that Ethan Nicholas, an iPhone games developer was about to earn 600,000. His application, the iShoot was successfully promoted by a lite version, on January 3rd, 2009. Less than ten days later, the full version of iShoot reached the number one spot on iTunes. Last century, in 1903, Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line, which used conveyor belts to move partly assembled products between workers; each preformed a repetitive simple task. Perhaps it is too early to envision the end of the industrial revolution and mass production process, but I believe that Ethan Nicholas is a start of a shift in production methods. A shift from a capital-intensive production method (like mass production), to an individual endeavor method. With the last one, everyone is a one-man assembly line, producer, promoter and designer. His success and failure is dependent only on his individual efforts, and intellectual horsepower.

Together alone

When I used to Surf, I always went with few friends to the beach. It was usually early in the morning, when the best waves came, and we had them all to ourselves. It was kind of a ritual for us. We got of the car, left it still running, and went to peek from the highest of the boardwalk to the ocean to see where the best waves are. Then, it if was worth anything, we parked the car and ran down the sandy beach, placed our cloths near the lifeguard post, and stormed in to the cold water. And then we were alone. I was sitting in my living room with my son, watching TV. He was watching one of the children shows. I on the other hand was watching NBC TV show on my laptop. I hugged him and told him I loved him, and covered him in a warm blanket, as I was listening to the show with an earpiece with one ear. Surfing is a cool, fun and one of the most accelerating things I have ever done. From my experience, it beats sky diving and basketball, yoga and long distance running. But it is not a team sport. Like many things that we do, it is does not contain any highly coupled tasks, does not requires others to watch, cheer, or participate. Sharing space does not necessarily means sharing tasks. Sometimes it means giving space to others to have the same fun that you have, while you are there, just there.

water play

Water Play
Research on liquid interfaces
Key words : Physical prototyping
Skills used: interaction design

Water play is a water-based interface. It allows users to view content displayed on the water surface. The users can engage content through direct interaction with the water. This interface enables users to interact with content using water, just like a touch screen. Users can immerse their hands to the water, swirl, splash, or use other forms of interaction which are unique to the water.

This project, done for the future center of telecom Italia, explores novel ways of interaction. It draws its inspiration from the constant friction between the city’s inhabitance and the water they are surrounded by.

In the design process, my explorations were focusing on the particular qualities of the water and the data type, which match them. Introducing interaction with liquid substance, on three dimensions can enhance some types of information. on the other hand, they might fit less to other types.

My first exploration examined the interaction of historical information composed of visuals names and numbers in the water. I have designed an experience prototype, in which I could play with information placed on maps, through gestures. This experiment led me to peruse types of information that allow the user to play with them, rather then carry the need for accuracy, like the historical figures.

I have proceeded to explore qualities such as depth, surface, movement’s types and possible interaction with “pile of images” placed within water. On the following movies you can observe some of these explorations.


Brand enhancement through physical interaction

Key words : Brand enhancement, installation design, mobile devices

Skills used: Physical prototyping, interaction design

Team members: Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil

“In an electronically nomadicized world I have become a two legged terminal, an ambulatory IP address, maybe even a wireless router in an ad-hoc mobile network. I am inscribed not within a single Vitruvian circle, but within radiating electromagnetic wavefronts”

William Mitchell, Me++
Modern lives are increasingly becoming more flexible, connected and mobile. We were asked to create an installation for the Fjord’s office space that will communicate the themes of mobility and its influence on people’s lives. Fjord is a leading developer of digital products and services for people on the move.

PEOPLE+ installation exposes flows of communication, and stresses the fact that mobile communication expands the boundaries of a person and augments the distances one can reach.

A company = people + communication

Visual elements

The installation uses the human figure symbol and the Plus {+} sign as a vehicle to tell a story. And the story is simple: connect one human being to another, and you have a network, and mobile communication is all about networks. It is some kind of emotional math if you will.


A cloud made of the human figures and plus sign is hanging from the ceiling, and reacting to mobile phone activities (like a phone call, SMS etc) in its vicinity. When this happens, the cloud comes alive with streams of light flowing between the objects. The objects glow and dim; a human figure, a plus sign, another human figure, another plus sign and so on. An imaginary line is created, portraying a trajectory of a phone call.

PEOPLE+ XO figurine design was inspired by square calligraphy.

“Technological change is not additive; it is ecological. A new technology does not merely add something; it changes everything”

Neil Postmen, “Ten Principles of Technology”


Mobile communication has introduced new concepts to our lives and altered previous ways of thinking and operating. It has caused a change in social behaviors and values: multiple presence and multi-tasking, definition of personal boundaries, privacy issues, “always-on” society and the list goes on.

In our view the shift in the perceptions of time and space has relevance to the business environment.

In the past, when having an appointment with someone, being late was considered rude. It still is, but the notion of “late” has changed. You don’t actually have to be in a certain place on a specific time. It is good enough if you call from the road saying when you will be there, and if that changes, you can just call (or message) again, and it will be acceptable.

What is considered a rude behavior is not answering a call, or not replying to a text message in time. The importance of “where” has shifted to “when”.

Time became elastic, a material to play with.

The perception of the work space and its boundaries has changed as well. Offices stretch well beyond the confined space which was specified in the lease contract. The office exists wherever a company representative is, and is present everywhere where communication is, which means any place with phone connectivity or an internet access. The physical space has lost its dominant role in the business structure.

A company = people + communication.

How do the physical space, the augmented virtual space and the absence of space interrelate with each other and create a new type of space, which is different than the one we knew before.

Another interesting issue is that communication in itself has become a status symbol and an indication for one’s worth. People fake talking on the phone in order to look more important in front of their colleagues; others swap their phones to brag about their social relationships, text messages are considered to be digital valuables. Exposing communication and communication types is becoming a very interesting thing to look at.

In the business environment social = capital.

As mobile culture changes our perception of time and space it drives us to adapt new social patterns we asked ourselves how can this inspire us in the creation of this installation? What would this new time look like? How can it be represented? How can this new space be reflected as an installation? How can we express this transformation in their meaning which affects our everyday life?


Clients: When clients come to the office they should be intrigued and impressed by the installation. It could be a conversation piece, a way by which broader topics of mobility can arise naturally when a dialog is happening between a Fjord employee and a client.

Office workers: For those who work in the office, the installation is part of the space. It should have a long life span, and should be an item they can live with and maybe even surprised by occasionally.

Done with Wiring

Design and the Elastic Mind

Design and the Elastic Mind is a new exhibition at the MOMA that explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design. The exhibition highlights designers™ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and history”changes that demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior”and translate them into objects that people can actually understand and use. The exhibition™s Web site presents over three hundred of these works, including fifty projects that are not featured in the gallery exhibition.

see it in flickr

Physical objects have digital shadow

Mike Kuniavsky recently gave a talk at Baychi. His presentation was focused on ubiquitous computing and was called: sketching smart things. Specifically his talk revolved around several interesting ideas:
1. Embedded information processing and networking is a material – when the cost of the Ubicomp elements becomes low, the designer have the freedom to explore, make “errors” and design.

2. Applianceness (term coined by Bill Sharpe) – the cross section between application and appliances.

3. Physical objects cast information shadows – every object has a digital shadow, a Meta data entity that has a life of its own.

4. Devices are service avatars- a key hardware component of ubiquitous computing is networking which places the emphasis on the information accessibility rather then the device.

5. Granularity determines key aspects of experience design – while we are used to multi purpose devices, with one size fits all both in input and output, ubiquitous computing allows more purposeful design.

6. Magic is a powerful Ubicomp metaphor. Ubicomp allows designers to enchant and animate objects, and make the interaction clearer and more visible.

The idea that physical objects cast information shadows is one that captured me more then the others, mostly because it is so poetic. It assumes the equality between all physical objects, animated and non-animated. It assumes that a virtual entity retains their presences long after their physical caster had disappeared. Instant messengers Bots are (like Santa clause Bot) already creating a confusing experience. It is not that hard to think about a Facebook Bot that interacts with my friends better then I am. This reminds me the story of the guy that was fed up with his shadow so much that on day he cut it and left him behind. To this guy’s misfortune, the shadow had its own plans and soon enough he took the guys’ identity and life. The shadow was so successful in his mission that people thought that he was more lively then his former owner.


Perceptions and intentions

John E. Flaherty explored the mind set of Peter Drucker, one of the biggest influences on modern management. In his book, Peter Drucker: Shaping the Managerial Mind, Flaherty shares many of Drucker’s thoughts, including the importance of evaluating the impact of perception on communication process:

 Perception is limited to what the recipient is capable of receiving.

 A person needs a mental vision of the individual he or she is trying to influence.

 Figures are often more compelling than the power of reasoning.

 The more information is increased, the greater the need to grasp perceptual reality by constantly redefining incomplete messages.

 The quest for certainty is wrong; start off with what should be conveyed in order to make sense.

 Communication and information are different and indeed largely opposite- yet interdependent. Whereas communication is perception, information is logic.

 The most dangerous illusion of all is to think that the recipient has only one role and one reality.

 The focus should not be on what you consider important but on what the recipient consider important.

 Don’t try to find out why a person is wrong, but attempt to find out what he is trying to say; he might be right, who knows?

 Perception is multidimensional, but people still see only one of these dimensions at a time.

 Perception is limited by physiological factors: for example, the eye and the ear have different capabilities.

 You can’t cram a great deal of material in to a voice channel. In a good speech one gets one good idea across.

 Accepts the fact that other people say things differently.

 Hearing is natural: listening must be learned by making sense of what we hear.

 People have to receive communication and it™s up to them; the sender has no control over it.

 Information presupposes communication.

 The assumption that what is obvious to you is also obvious to every else is a mistake.

 Perception is experience. This means that one always perceive configuration. One cannot perceive singular specifics. They always became part of total picture.

 Difficulty in communicating can often be overcome by changing not what we say but how we say it.

 The fewer the data needed, the better the information.