Smart objects are information-based products that are in ongoing dialogs with people, the cloud and each other. By crafting rich interactions, designers can create expressive behaviors for these objects based on sophisticated programmed responses. At the same time, sensor technologies have enabled us to introduce natural gestures as a means of interacting with a product. (Not only can we push, pull and twist a data value, but we can wave at, caress, tilt and shake it as well.) With an explosion of new possibilities for object interaction and human control, it is the designer’s role to envision new solutions that are both meaningful and responsible. Through a series of lectures and hands-on studio exercises, students will explore all aspects of smart object design including expressive behaviors (light, sound and movement), interaction systems, ergonomics, data networks and contexts of use. The course will culminate in a final project that considers all aspects of smart object design within the context of a larger theme.

I've created some of the world's first courses on Smart Objects, currently offered at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the Integrated Product Design program and at SVA with hybrid teams from the MFA Products of Design and Interaction Design programs.

blog of student projects

PennDesign

SVA Products of Design

SVA MFA IxD

Smart Objects Tumblr