19 July 2014

Book: Enchanted Objects

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Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things
by David Rose
Scribner (July 15, 2014)
July 15, 2014
320 pages
[Amazon]

In the tradition of Who Owns the Future? and The Second Machine Age, David Rose, an MIT Media Lab scientist imagines how everyday objects can intuit our needs and improve our lives.

We are now standing at the precipice of the next transformative development: the Internet of Things. Soon, connected technology will be embedded in hundreds of everyday objects we already use: our cars, wallets, watches, umbrellas, even our trash cans. These objects will respond to our needs, come to know us, and learn to think on our behalf. David Rose calls these devices—which are just beginning to creep into the marketplace—Enchanted Objects.

Some believe the future will look like more of the same—more smartphones, tablets, screens embedded in every conceivable surface. Rose has a different vision: technology that atomizes, combining itself with the objects that make up the very fabric of daily living. Such technology will be woven into the background of our environment, enhancing human relationships and channeling desires for omniscience, long life, and creative expression. The enchanted objects of fairy tales and science fiction will enter real life.

Groundbreaking, timely, and provocative, Enchanted Objects is a blueprint for a better future, where efficient solutions come hand in hand with technology that delights our senses. It is essential reading for designers, technologists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who wishes to understand the future and stay relevant in the Internet of Things.

David Rose is an award-winning entrepreneur and instructor at the MIT Media Lab, specializing in how digital information interfaces with the physical environment. A former CEO at Vitality, a company that reinvented medication packaging, he founded Ambient Devices, which pioneered technology to embed Internet information in everyday objects like lamps, mirrors, and umbrellas. Currently Rose is the CEO of Ditto Labs, and his work has been featured at New York Museum of Modern Art and in The New York Times, and parodied on The Colbert Report. A frequent speaker at conferences and for corporations, he lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.

New York Times feature on David Rose

Penelope Green has just featured David, his thinking and his work in the New York Times:

“Mr. Rose, a boyish-looking 47-year-old serial entrepreneur who has invented more than a few magical things, including the talking umbrella, that doorbell and the Facebook table, is the author of “Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things,” out this week from Scribner. In it, he proposes that the most delightful, successful smart things mimic the qualities found in the magical tools of fantasy and folklore — Excalibur or Sting, the swords of Arthur and Frodo, say, or the talking mirror in “Snow White” — by doing one or two things really well or, as he puts it, by fulfilling “human drives with emotional engagement and élan.” […]

The smartphone or tablet with its bland, dark screen and multitude of “tiny, inscrutable icons” leaves him cold. Convergence, the great technological design mantra of the oughts, is to Mr. Rose a dystopian horror. He wants to keep his keys, his musical instruments, his wallet and his pens, along with his hand tools, maps, cameras and books. He’d simply like to embed some of those things with special powers.”

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