Right Now

Haptic Interactive Experiences in Retail

Together with Daimler we are designing and interactive objects that will put their visitors of me-Stores in touch with the brand and let them interactively experience materials and features.


WHAT WE DO

DESIGN BESPOKE TOUCH SENSORS

We engineer unobtrusive and aesthetic touch sensors for complex surfaces tailored to your needs and application

BUILD PROTOTYPES & RETROFIT PRODUCTS

We build interactive prototypes or equip existing product with touch capabilities post-production

IMAGINE INTERACTION CONCEPTS

We express tactile data intuitively through multimedia, taking materiality and environment into account

CASE STUDY

Co-Creation — Haptic Experiences in Retail

with Daimler IT Retail

We teamed up with Daimler IT Retail to explore the opportunities of bringing haptic experiences with our technology into their me-Stores. We joined forces in a co-creation workshop using a user-centered empathic approach and Design Thinking methodologies to ideate and prototype.

We were seeking insights into haptics of materials and what they mean for the user on the one side. On the other side we also were interested in what visitors of the Mercedes Benz Flagship Store in Hamburg were looking for and needs they have when coming there.

Together we created ideas how visitors can interact with objects in the store to enrich their stay at the Mercedes me Store. The two concepts we co-created are about discovering interesting information about products and services as well as the brand values of Mercedes Benz by touching and interacting with different materials and models all around the store. That way visitors get information in a playful way and trigger exciting happenings in the store. The next steps are to build specific functional prototypes to test both ideas in a real environment.

We developed two prototype objects that visitors can interact with: a model car and a material swatch box. Touching specific regions of the model and different materials on the box triggers videos on the in-store display. The triggered videos correspond to the area/material. They convey functionalities and features of the cars or illustrate the application and production of the material. The objects are fully equipped with 9/4 sensors, electronics and are connected wirelessly via Bluetooth LE to ensure flexible positioning.

The study aims to counterbalance the notion of disembodiment and disengagement of human existence derived from technology (Classen 2005) through re-shifting interest to tactile experiences. Exploring distinctive aspects on haptics such as texture, velocity and bodily real-time feedback, we attempt to rebirth bodily engagement of ubiquitous and immediate surroundings. In the near future we further explore how the thingness of objects (Brown 2003; Gosden 2004; Schwenger 2001), surface touch and VR-Technology (Metzinger 2009) can enable and redefine the appearance, location and setting of things.

CASE STUDY

Sound Bowl

We applied our technology on a standard wooden bowl. We are registering touch all around the revolving conical surface made of bamboo wood and thereby enable people to interact with it. With this prototype we are proofing that we are able to apply our technology on standard products.

This prototype recognizes touch in numerous regions and transfers tactile data wirelessly in real-time. Sound generation and modulation is rendered on a computer.

Our prototype is focused on making the bowl an input device and our critical function was to apply our technology and trigger/modify sound with it.

Depending on how much and where you touch the bowl the soundscape of birds singing changes, becomes denser and lighter. It functions as a midi-controller, which opens up endless possibilities to use this bowl as a musical instrument in every imaginable way.

The initial idea for the bowl was to create a companion for lonely, stressed out ex-pats in a foreign environment and culture. Messages and sounds can be recorded and are played back when it is touched with both hands to provide its user with comfort and the feeling of belonging by connecting them aurally to their family. Insights that led to this solutions were, that people who feel isolated like to cook themselves comfort food, like noddle soups, and spend more time in their home.

It was crafted within a multidisciplinary team in a project at the School of Design Thinking at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam.

CASE STUDY

Touch Sensitive Packaging

The paper packaging prototype serves as a probe to figure out how product packages are being used. Sensors and electronics are not recognizable by looking and touching the probe. The materials used are very similar to the those of original packaging. The probes are connected wirelessly to a laptop, which runs our visualization.
The tactile data gathered by the probes is mapped on a virtual 3D model of the packaging. It offers easy access to information and makes the data interpretable in an intuitive way.

Features

  • very thin material
  • can be coated, printed on
  • paper-based
  • low-cost sensors
  • covers concave & convex surfaces
  • unobtrusive technology
  • concealed electronics
  • wireless connection

Application

Products, and especially packaging, must serve a broad audience of users—like children, left-handed persons and advanced aged or less able-bodied adults. With tactile data, the design can be evaluated in terms of ergonomic and usability factors, to create truly universally designed products and packaging. Compared to observations and interviews, using tactile data offers objective results at a fraction of cost and complexity.

The significance of touch for evaluating products has been researched profoundly. Our approach enables to gather tactile data on packaging in the field, rather than in a lab environment. Moreover, by registering which packages have been touched, consumer choices can be monitored objectively on a wide scale.

HOW WE WORK

Co-Creating Sensing Products

Always with the user in mind

We are all about creating meaningful products. We believe that this can only be achieved with trusting partners and curious collaborators. We do not see ourselves as engineers or a design buero, we are not a technology company — but we are researches and explorers who want to discover true needs and fulfill them with upright design. We use an iterative and lean approach to develop products together with our partners. Our approach is simple but can be exhausting, it is straight-forward but it can wind down like a mountain pass.

Beautiful solutions are never easy — and we are not in there for the quick win. Our sense of touch and our haptic relationship with objects is complex, implicit and subjective. Experimenting and trying is the only reliable way. Building, testing and learning is how we became humans and that's how we want to create valuable experiences and products for us.

Call for Collaboration

A human being is a human doing

Wir suchen Projekte und Partner, die mit uns zusammen Anwendungen im Bereich des universalen Designs finden und Forschungsprojekte durchführen.

Mit Hilfe von uns entwickelten berührungssensitiven Messinstrumenten gehen wir der wahren Nutzung von Produkten auf den Grund. Immer mit dem Ziel die Bedürfnisse der Nutzer klar herauszuarbeiten um mit diesem Wissen effektiv auf Design Einfluss zu nehmen. Damit wollen wir zur Gestaltung von besseren Produkten beitragen.

Wir sind auf der Suche nach Partnern, die gemeinsam mit uns Anwendungen unserer Technologie und Wissen im Bereich des universellen Designs und der nutzerzentrierten Produktentwicklung erarbeiten. Uns interessieren die vielfältigen Anwendungsfälle, an die wir heute noch nicht denken und sind für alle Bereiche offen. Bisherige Studien fanden in der universitären Lehre statt und haben ergonomische Kriterien von Produkten, wie Bohrmaschinen und Flüssigkeitsbehältnissen, erfolgreich erörtert.

Falls Sie also ein Produkt Designer oder ein Hersteller von greifbaren Produkten sind, der mehr über die Benutzung dieser und die Bedürfnisse seiner Nutzer herausfinden möchte, können Sie uns sehr gerne kontaktieren. Oder sind Sie vielleicht Teil eines Forschungsprojektes, dass sich mit Nutzerverhalten, Ergonomie, universellem Design oder mit der Handhabung von Objekten auseinandersetzt? Selbstverständlich interessieren uns auch an- und übergrenzende Anwendungsfelder und Fragestellungen. Wenn Sie das Gefühl haben, dass wir Ihnen mit unserer Technologie helfen können, schreiben Sie uns!

We are looking for projects and partners, which will work with us on applications in the field of inclusive and user-centered design.

With the help of the touch sensitive instrument created by us we explore the real use of products by its users. We have the goal of detecting the real needs of users and use this knowledge to apply influence on the design. In that way we want to contribute to better (designed) products!

We are currently looking for partners and collaborators, with whom we can develop diverse applications of our technology and gain know-how regarding inclusive design, as well as user-centered development. We want to co-create implementations of our technology in ways, products, objects, we are unaware of right now, but are very viable and fruitful. Previous projects were centered around the evaluation of ergonomic criteria of power tools and containers.

So, if you are a industrial designer or an manufacturer of tangible products and want to know more about the real use of these objects, feel free to contact us. If you take part in a research programme dealing with user behaviour, inclusive design or how objects are handled, please also get in touch with us. If you do something else, which borders and crosses these fields, and you have the feeling our technology could be beneficial to you, please drop us a line. We would love to hear from you!


Get in touch!

Wir sitzen in Hamburg und freuen uns immer über ein gutes Gespräch.