Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab recently hosted its annual Inside Out conference where speakers from several projects discussed the future of technology and design.
A recurring theme is that more everyday objects are becoming digital and that shift opens up new ways of engaging with the physical world. For example, the WristQue project is developing a wristband with a few basic sensors designed to control building temperature and the lighting of smart buildings, while the Augmented Product Counter project enables computer control through tapping on the surface of a table. The Sparsh project enhances the touch interface by letting a person transfer information from a smartphone to a PC. The Recompose project allows users to manipulate an actuated interface of small squares by moving their hands above them.
The Media Lab's Changing Places group is studying several ways technologies can improve transportation and buildings. The City Car project is a two-seat electric car with robotic wheels that can be folded to take up less space in crowded cities. Meanwhile, the Mobility-on-Demand project is building a system for managing the distribution of shared vehicles, such as CityCars and bicycles.
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