mui Lab’s IoT Exhibit Garners Rave Reviews at Milan Design Week 2022
Three weeks after returning from Milan Design Week 2022, we are still soaking up the joy of welcoming tens of thousands of visitors at our booth and watching them take in our vision of IoT living in the future.
During Milan Design Week (June 5-12), mui Lab had two exhibits – a model IoT dining room at the “SuperStudio Show,” and a display of four mui Board units at “archiproducts Milano,” which complemented the room decor.
We created the model room for the SuperStudio Show to demonstrate our application of the “Calm Technology and Design” principles to everyday living. The IoT system for this room uses furniture and other ordinary objects, as well as everyday human body movements, as a prompt to generate subtle digital responses that can help us live more happily.
We wanted to demonstrate our novel concept of digital living as a tool to improve our well-being, challenging people to rethink their definitions of technology. We believe we succeeded in the endeavor.
How will your day unfold in mui’s IoT room?
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of thinking that went into our design. But before we delve into it, let us take you through mui’s dining room.
First, we would like you to picture yourself walking into the dining room shortly after waking up in the morning. When you open the curtains, the mui board on the wall will display some of the messages from your loved ones that came in overnight or were received in the past. We’d think seeing these messages would warm your heart, getting your day off to a good start.
You will now wipe down the table for breakfast with your family, as the lights above the table turn on, one by one, and begin to glow brighter, creating a cozy atmosphere.
The nice vibe may prompt you to add some flowers to the table. And when you place a vase on it, you will start to hear pleasant music.
The key here is that you didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. You never had to reach for devices to tap and swipe. You didn’t even think about technology being there. Simply following your routines resulted in you having a nice meal with your family, feeling uplifted.
The idea and approach
So, how do we envision digital living for the future?
At mui, we believe technology can support us humans without consuming our attention – one of the most precious assets humans have at their disposal. We aim to design a system that makes technology “disappear,” so we can focus on what’s important while still enjoying the benefits of digital technology.
When we say “disappearing technology,” we aren’t talking about installing sensors and cameras in every nook and cranny. We have no interest in creating a concealed system that monitors people’s movements or eavesdrops on them.
We want to create a system that puts humans at its center. Instead of forcing people to adjust their behaviors to use technology, our system takes cues from human behaviors to adjust itself to improve the quality of their lives, while staying out of their sights.
A focus on everyday living is another important aspect of our design concept. Our homes are the bases of our lives. It should be a functional, safe and comfortable space where we can perform our routines and any other activities smoothly. And our homes should feel like an oasis capable of embracing us, even in times of discomfort.
Our desire to enable such a home environment prompted us to create a system that responds to human body movements. We particularly focused on the routine actions and natural bodily movements that are commonly seen as people go about their daily lives. And because those movements involve furniture and tools, we also decided to use those objects as interfaces for digital responses.
The idea here is that the digital responses to human behaviors and movements via ordinary objects as interfaces effectively engender a more comfortable and productive environment for people, as they go about eating, sleeping and enjoying their lives. People won’t ever need to be conscious that they are using the technology. Just live their lives, as they always do, and the technology will quietly do its work behind the scenes to support them.
mui’s system will never interfere with human nature. It respects the humanness of human behaviors and works to aid them without causing any emotional or physical strains.
To see how we embodied our concept, please watch the Milan Design Week 2022 demo video here.
Dialogue between mui Lab and Wacom
At the showcase, we had a privilege to have a joint video podcast with Wacom team who has been our technology partner since the beginning. Their ink technology is installed in our hand writing message function.
In the middle of our exhibition booth, mui team explained how we interpret and value the concept of calm technology and how we combine Japanese design and technology focused on the human aspect into our products.
Please find the video on YouTube as well as the article for more information.
Here are some of the feedbacks we received from the visitors to our exhibition booth.
The whole concept is beautiful – It feels like magic to see the environment respond to such small interactions
We’re very interested to see the potential applications of your technologies into living environments. We love the interactions chosen for the concept and hope to see them scaled up in the future.