The Smarter Objects system explores a new method for interaction with everyday objects. The system associates a virtual object with every physical object to support an easy means of modifying the interface and the behavior of that physical object as well as its interactions with other "smarter objects". As a user points a smart phone or tablet at a physical object, an augmented reality (AR) application recognizes the object and offers an intuitive graphical interface to program the object's behavior and interactions with other objects. Once reprogrammed, the Smarter Object can then be operated with a simple tangible interface (such as knobs, buttons, etc). As such Smarter Objects combine the adaptability of digital objects with the simple tangible interface of a physical object. We have implemented several Smarter Objects and usage scenarios demonstrating the potential of this approach.
One Hundred and Eight is an interactive wall-mounted Installation mainly made out of ordinary garbage bags. Controlled by a microcontroller each of them is selectively inflated and deflated in turn by two cooling fans.
Although each plastic bag is mounted stationary the sequences of inflation and deflation create the impression of lively and moving creatures which waft slowly around like a shoal. But as soon a viewer comes close it instantly reacts by drawing back and tentatively following the movements of the observer. As long as he remains in a certain area in front of the installation it dynamically reacts to the viewers motion. As soon it does no longer detect someone close it reorganizes itself after a while and gently restarts wobbling around.