Serendipitous Displays

Over the years, as digital technologies have become more and more embedded into our everyday lives, people are beginning to accumulate vast amounts of personal digital content through their interactions with digital capturing technologies, social networking sites, their continuous endeavors with the web and simple things, new content such as music, photos, videos, Tweets, and Facebook posts, is being generated and collected. With this, these collections often become more unwieldy. With the design of the serendipitous display prototypes, Meerkat and Tuba, it was our intention to engage people in novel ways with their digital content by further exploring the devices’ material qualities and interaction mechanisms.

With our first design, called Meerkat, we explored the notion of pushing content towards the user, trying to grasp the user’s attention. Meerkat is a small actuated device, with its own peculiar character. Housing a total of seven servo's it wobbles around and pops up over time with digital content displayed on its three Oled screens.

Pictures: Meerkat suddenly moving to the left and a sequence of Meerkat popping up.    

In contrast, our second design, Tuba, needs a deliberate action from the user in order to pull content of the device. It is designed to abdicate people’s content choice by presenting content in a serendipitous way, quite similarly to a music box. In order to further increase the element of surprise Tuba can choose to present Facebook posts, a digital picture, play music (via an integrated speaker in the back of the device) or a general knowledge fact each time it is tilted in an upwards direction.

Pictures: Tuba open and displaying a Facebook post and a sequence of Tuba being opened up.