WHY UBIQUITOUS COMPUTING IS IMPORTANT
When you add information processing and communication to the design of any object, it changes. It’s like adding electricity to a previously manual task. When you add an electric motor, the shape of the tool changes, the actions change, the goals change. The same kind of change happens when information processing is added to the mix as a design consideration.
Today’s computers are shaped the way they are–single blocks of plastic and aluminum with general-purpose input and output devices–because until very recently, computers were expensive. Everything had to be done with a single device that did many things. With computers embedded into all kinds of everyday objects, the shape of computers can change: there can be many devices, each of which does a small number of things.
These specialized devices fall into the category of ubiquitous computing, and designing them is afundamentally different process than designing the software and hardware objects we’re familiar with. It requires a combination of industrial design, service design, interaction design and experience design.
As part of our product development process, ThingM creates Technology Sketches, which are examples of early stage conceptual approaches to how a product might work, rather than actual fully-functional systems.