Violet’s Mir:ror, the Nabaztag and the home invasion of digital


As the internet (and specifically web 2.0) becomes the crux around which many of our lives increasingly revolve, it seems a fairly natural progression for the internet itself to reach out into our homes and become entwined with many of the objects that we interact with on a daily basis. Streaming video through to your TV via your network, downloading widgets to your TV and synchronising your phone with your computer have all been around for quite a while now, but, as these all involve screens, seem fairly tame compared to the steps being taken by Violet to integrate your everyday items with the online sphere –

The great thing, for me, about Violet’s Mir:ror is that it’s fun (exceedingly geeky fun, and damnit if that’s not the best kind!). At first glance, it seems relatively superfluous…

seemingly offering little more than a physical shortcut key that you can hold to open your email or download your favourite podcast (which to a certain extent it is), but the deeper you delve the more you realise that RFID technology could save you masses of time, help integrate your online and offline work (the demo of the spreadsheet opening through the physical file in the video is awesome) and have serious business applications, all whilst providing a tangibility that feels like you’re somehow using magic – it’s just damn cool. The Nabaztag rabbits with internal ztamp are another great little touch, and show that Violet really understand the kind of people that are going to be RFID’s early adopters – unashamedly techy whilst being playful and a little wide-eyed about new bits and bobs, the kind of guys (and yeah, this will definitely be a guy thing at first) who would secretly love a shelf full of Be@rbricks.

RFID technology could ultimately be used for any number of things. Imagine that instead of using an id card to pass through the barriers in your lobby, you instead swiped your ztamp across a mir:ror, just like an oyster card. This action would simultaneously log your details into your timesheet, wake your computer up from standby, open your email, download a podcast, open and arrange your bookmarked webpages for you, all whilst sending through instructions to your networked coffee maker, so that you have a steaming cup ready for when you reach your desk. Applications like this could save businesses time and money, as well as just being super sweeeeeeeeeeet. I definitely think that they should have played up the mobile angle in the video though, for example, the kid swiping his ztamp to send an email to his mum saying he was home would be far more useful if it sent a txt, and just as easily achieved.

Ultimately, what I’m sure will drive digital’s impending home invasion will be our common desire to touch, a sense which holds far more emotional significance than sight. Physically holding an object gives a sense of control, a pliability to your will that can’t be matched by something on a screen (although a touchscreen comes close). As Faris Yacob points out, the genesis of this movement towards the control of the user can be seen in the founding texts of postmodernism and the Tel Quel school – the death of the author is far less important for Barthes, after all, than the birth of the reader. The promise of becoming the subjects emancipated from the constrictions of modernism that the French heralded in the 70s may finally be being realised via the internet – shaping the digital world with our hands can’t come fast enough.

Mostly skanked from Russell Davies’ Blog


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