At the Smart Interaction Lab we were honored to get a chance to work with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum as part of the Beautiful Users show, which opened on December 12, 2015. For the exhibition, we worked closely with curator Ellen Lupton to devise a display that would communicate the process of designing the Neato Botvac, a robotic vacuum cleaner with a distinct “personality”.
We selected an interactive physical prototype from the Neato project that would best communicate our original vision for the robot’s interface. A diverse palette of light and sound allows the robot to communicate a range of messages during key moments such as a triumphant tone and display when cleaning is complete (“All done!”) to a more distressed alert when the battery is low or the unit is trapped under a piece of furniture (“Stuck! Carry me”). Other prototypes are available to show the evolution of the design from prototype to finished product. To give museum visitors a full experience, we created a interactive touch screen interface that communicates with the prototype to allow people to see changes in the interface and hear the corresponding sounds.
The show will run until April 26, 2015. For a special treat, join us on Thursday, February 19, 2015 for a panel discussion entitled,”Robot Invasion: Are Smart Products Running Your Life?” moderated by Ellen Lupton and featuring Ayanna Howard from Georgia Tech and Matthew Johannes from Johns Hopkins. Tickets are available here.