Ugle

Written by Einar Sneve Martinussen on December 19, 2011

As a tongue-in-cheek interpolation between traditional Scandinavian woodworking, 1970s Marimekko and Mark Weiser’s 1995 visions of ‘calm technology‘, we have created Ugle. Ugle is a wooden owl that can be controlled over the internet with an iPhone application. When you change the position of the colors on the owl on the screen, the physical owl turns it’s head to the chosen color. The Ugle is a decorative object that displays digital information form the web in physical form, and is designed specifically for domestic settings like window stills or side tables.The Ugle allows you to send messages to your home in the form of colors, and invites the household to create their own langue around what the colors could mean. Yellow could for instance mean “I’ll be home soon”, while grey might be “Work is boring today” and blue “I’ll make dinner”. Used like this Ugle could be described as a form of slow messaging with a physical, place-specific and glanceable output. The colors could also be connected to other forms of data, like ambient-interface classics such as weather-forcasts, twitter-tags, incoming email etc.The owl is made of lathed birch and is connected to the internet through its own micro-controller and network unit, which means that it doesn’t need to be connected to a computer and could be placed anywhere with power and WiFi.

The Ugle is a work-in-progress from the Hybrid project at AHO Interaction design and this is an early demonstrator. It is a conceptual product for investigating how mobile computing and data from the web can be present in everyday domestic contexts in ways that draw on the esthetics, habits and pace of the home.

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