Ben delicioused me a link to an interesting paper called “Bowl: token-based media for children“. It describes a media player that is controlled by placing various objects (tokens) into a bowl. The idea was to create a control interface that is easy for children to use and which establishes links between particular physical objects and digital media. Aside from being a really cool means for interacting with a media player, it would have to be one of the neatest uses of RFID that I’ve come across so far. The bowl (or rather the platform that the bowl sits on) is augmented with an RFID reader. The various objects are augmented with RFID tags. When an object is placed in the bowl, an associated piece of media plays on the screen. For example, when a Mickey Mouse doll is put into the bowl, a Mickey Mouse cartoon plays. In theory, various combinations of objects might also have meaning. The system might be configured so that if Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are placed in the bowl, a cartoon featuring both these characters starts playing. The system becomes very social and conversational when homemade objects are augmented with RFID and linked to, say, home video clips or family photos, as demonstrated by the experiment reported in the paper.
I wonder what sorts of casual, natural interactions such as those induced by Bowl might make sense in the domain I’m working in? What are the relevant artefacts that could be augmented to create new meanings for the people who interact with them?