Ash at CIID

Ashwin Rajan's blog while at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Rock is the new swivel

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One of the chief goals of technology has been to make tasks more efficient and as a result save time. But this has only meant an increased pace of life, as we try harder to pack more into less time and effort.

The swivel chair is a classic ‘efficiency technology’ that has left aching backs and stress in its wake. In this prototype, we seek to introduce a powerful antidote into the domain dominated by the swivel. We emphasize how ‘rock’, an interaction thats all but disappeared from the modern ‘sitting’ context, can be a mantra to soothe frayed nerves, and at the same time serve up a widely appreciated need, thanks to networked digital technology.

The theme we worked with is: ‘Guerilla free time – how can technology, which has been designed to heighten our efficiency and productivity facilitate break time, helpful laziness, etc.’

Via this prototype, the everyday mundane act of fetching coffee during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a break, listen to some music, and simply chill. 🙂

Rock is the new swivel -  The completed prototype

Rock is the new swivel - The completed prototype

How does it work?

The rocking chair has an Arduino microcontroller and a Xbee wireless communications device attached under its seat. Also attached is a small MP3 player with some preloaded music, and a small mobile phone speaker. The coffee machine is controlled through a hacked power box, which contains a second Xbee . The two Xbees are in communication with each other. An accelerometer is attached under the chair. When the chair is rocked, the Arduino sends a message via the Xbees to turn on power flow to the coffee machine, thus starting the brewing process. The MP3 player is simultaneously turned on. The result is – soothing music and a merry brew in the making, while the person rocks on!

Mimi enjoys a rock accompanied by some soothing music, while making herself an afternoon coffee.

Mimi enjoys a rock accompanied by some soothing music, while making herself an afternoon coffee.

Early prototype of the rocking chair setup

Early prototype of the rocking chair setup

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Written by Ashwin Rajan

December 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm

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