The work is based on an intensive three months research with professional partners in Germany and Switzerland into artificial muscles. It reflects upon how new technologies such as artificial muscles will change future products, and the way we interact with them.

The results of that research led to the conclusion that one day active materials will drastically change our ambient products and the way we perceive and interact with them. By morphing their shape these products will gain new dimensions. Products of the future will be "alive".

One of those future products is the so called „Funktionide“. It is a white amorphous object whose intention is to provide the owner with an atmosphere of presence to counteract feelings of loneliness. In a future filled with multi-dimensional products it is likely that people will eventually turn towards them for emotional satisfaction.

This scenario gives rise to a number of questions. What happens if products that were proposed as a relief against social isolation begin to become the solution? How will this affect human to human interactions? What will these products look like, or more important how will they behave?
The works intention is to provoke a discussion which enables us to question how much we want technological products to satisfy our emotional desires. To ask these questions will become part of the responsibility of future product design.

The ambiguity of this scenario is that it could be understood as a solution but it might as well be understood as a scenario which should be avoided by all means possible.

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HAWK Hildesheim Interaction Design Lab

Stefan Woelwer

Interaction Design is about designing the parameters which frame the interactions between us, space and things.
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