Labs in 2015, a tangible year

31 December 2015

We are ending 2015 today. Let’s have a bit of a look back to the past year for Labs. A year haptic interactions really got traction for us in the outside world, a year we start to build and ship the first builds of the framework for the new things, and a beaconised game with Stampions. And of course the year of Thingscon part 2, the successful conference that created a great ending of this beautiful year.

Haptics

Starting on the haptics. It is great to see how the enthusiasm for this new ‘design material’ landed this year. Our first serious explorations started with the graduation project of Antoine in 2013, happy to see how could complete his research journey with a master on that topic.
Also further building on the collaboration with Digital Life Lab of Ben Kröse, with projects as the minor Intelligent Environments and the TASST valorisation of the research. That will have the significant results in 2016, but the cooperation with the researchers Aduen Darriba Frederiks (HvA) and Gijs Huisman (UTwente) was very valuable. The project got lots of media attention also and was listed on the Nerd top 101 in Vrij Nederland.

I got the possibility to share the ideas in several workshops and presentations. Starting at the Firestarter session in February, and after that at workshops at Thingscon Berlin, WCBH academy, Thingscon Amsterdam and presentations at Hack The Visual London, IoT Shifts Barcelona, and CMD Kick-off. More to come in 2016.

Haptics is part of the more general field of internet of things that is rapidly gaining more attention. We have a focus for this for a long time, it is good to see turning point happening. I did some presentations on the consequences for our digital life again this year (IoT day, Are You Connected, VPRO, Hacking Heritage, Industrieel Erfgoed congres, Thingscon AMS).
And we started shaping a new service we call Connectable that boils our ideas and knowledge to create a framework for making the new things. We organised a summercamp to accelerate the development of a couple of projects and shipping sensor+backend products. All as the foundation for a lot more in 2016.

Haptics is also part of the slowly growing new domain of ‘second skin media’, the wearables. We experimented with apps for the Android Wear and Apple Watch for one of our clients and use the ideas on the screenless wristbands in a project for improving health in the ibeacon living lab Oosterpark.

Stampions

Shipping a product was also an interesting journey of the Stampions project. After winning the 2nd prize in the HollandCall together with Somedialoog in January we decided to go for a pilot with Stampions aan de Zaan, with 15 stamps for 4 months. We learned a lot and are making plans for the second version now at a different location. Next to the learnings the project received a lot of media presence. Using iBeacons in such a different way to create a smart product makes it still a unique project.

Stampions is an example of lean development. For getting things started it can work well to use the ultra lean method of hackathons. We organised one for the Ministry of Internal Affairs in January and co-organised the hackathon for Internet of Things day in April. I advised Rijkswaterstaat on their Databattle in the Autumn.

A project that run the whole year was Civic City. Together with npk design, LUST and UPlab we explored new ways of designing for the smart city, with inhabitants in the driving seat. We were able to have a thinkathon and makeathon in the neighbourhood of Woensel-West and discovered that the key for smart city is the social component.

The project stands for the way we like to explore the new developments. In close participation with others, from other agencies to research institutions. Focusing on learning by the experiment, and sharing the knowledge outside Info.nl. As we did and will be doing the with the Behavior Design AMS meetups, and with even more Thingscon in 2016.

The project is also a poster child how the digital and physical are merging into new realities for our life. From products to cities. At the end of the year two projects started where this is researched for the retail domain.
We plan to continue to do this in 2016, with the testing of our visions in the real world, and building the knowledge for the near future. With a focus on the new things and algorithmic platforms that will start to rule more and more our digital and tangible experiences. But more on that later.

Thanks to all partners that worked with us in 2015, hope to be able to continue so in the new year. We wish you and everyone else a great 2016!