Nature of Project : Internet of Things, Experience Design ( Commercial )
Project Year : 2013
Designed for : National Institute of Design ( Academic )
Time taken : 2-3 Months
To-ma-do (To Make things ‘Do’able) is an internet powered information box developed specifically for Indian contexts. Tomado steps out of the modern day’s perspective of “infinite information at your finger tips” and gives you one piece of contextual information at a time. The interface is as simple as pressing a button and getting the information.
The idea emerged from observations of how people of my father’s generation as well as those who have had low exposure to digital media, perceive the smart devices of today. We could call them the “second digital generation”. My father has an internet enabled smartphone. But he hardly uses it to get any information that he wants in his daily chore, in spite of my many attempts to teach him. I have found him reluctant to comprehend that there is “infinite stream of information” at his finger tips. It is too “advanced” or “sci-fi” for my father to accept that the small device in his hand can get him any information that he may ever require. The convergence of information and the mental model of having different apps to perform different tasks or get different information is too complex for him to accept. Perhaps it is unfair to expect the second-digital-generation to follow the same ways of interaction as the first-digital-generation and to dismiss their needs and “natural” ways of engagement as primitive. Although these inferences are based on my limited observation, through my interactions with others, I suspect the pattern to be wide spread, which can be further researched. Hence I found it convincing enough to do something about this.
“Data” becomes useful “information” only when provided in a context to an agent who can make sense of it. Tomado helps in delivering the “right” data, i.e. data about context, in the context, and through a mode that enables an agent to make sense of it with ease. To do so, Tomado has 2 main features:
1) Context Awareness
Tomado is a network of devices which provide information based on the context. A Tomado installed in a bus stand will give you the information of the real time bus timings for the next half an hour. A Tomado installed in the parking lots will give you the exact location of the free parking space. A series of Tomado’s installed on the highways will give you the contact of nearest basic amenities like a petrol bunk, restaurant and etc. A Tomado is smart enough to pick up the geo-location and reconfigure itself to give information based on the context from a pre mapped geolocation – context table. It is aware of where it is and what it should give.
2) Simple Learning Curve
Tomado is also designed for how to give information. For useful data to finally become mean ingful information, it has to be interpreted by an agent. Thus, it is imperative that it is delivered through a mode that enables the agent to make sense of it easily. Since Tomado is aimed at the “seconddigital generation” which typically has to go through a steep learnability curve to be able to access data through current digital media, Tomado attempts to lower the learnability curve. It does so with its single button interface, which reduces the complexity of the machine and puts minimal cognitive load on the user. Since both the machine and the user are already placed in a context, the vast sea of data that current devices connect the users to at all times, is reduced to a finite possibilities of only that information which is most required at that time, thereby reducing information overload. Moreover, all information can be dispensed through a small print-out, considering the fact that the target user group has the habit of taking down notes on a pocket notebook. Thus, Tomado, though not a one stop solution for everything, is a one button solution for something for many people.
DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF TOMADO: